Navigating Uganda’s Red Tape: Visa & Entry Requirements like passport, COVID-19, customs, and pets.

Updated June 30, 2021

Visa & Entry Requirements into Uganda have not changed much for the last decade, but now we’ve been forced to change the way we travel to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and yet enjoy our destinations with confidence.

We all want to get out there alive a bit, get wild and stretch our minds. An African savanna is a great place for that. Open wide spaces, clean air, new cultures, and quiet noise. All we needed before the Covid pandemic hit us was a passport, a visa, an air ticket, and a few bucks, and that’s it!.

A few star gazing nights under the African sky are suitable for everyone. Now, you will have to tolerate a couple of things to have a marvelous safari trip to Uganda, like many other destinations are doing it. To keep you and everyone, including the animals, protected.

Borders remain open to tourists, cargo crew, Ugandans, foreign residents, and passengers in transit either by land or air.

Immigration Department (June 23, 2021)

Uganda Visa Requirements

Nationals of most countries require a visa to enter Uganda. The Uganda visa is applied for and paid in advance electronically online https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ (to reduce human contact during your safari trip) or at any Ugandan embassy or high commission abroad. Still, usually, it’s simpler to buy the visa upon arrival. On arrival is a straightforward procedure that takes a few minutes at Entebbe International Airport or any overland border.

Though some queuing and social distancing are inevitably involved, most people will still find it more convenient, not to mention cheaper, than traveling twice into the middle of London (for example) to submit and later collect their visas.

Only travellers with approved visas having applied online will be granted entry into the country.

Visa rulings are prone to change, so all visitors must check the current situation with their travel agent or a Ugandan diplomatic mission before they travel.

The following are the requirements for Uganda visa entry:

  • You must have a valid passport issued by your government. Your passport must be valid past the date of your expected departure from Uganda (6 months)
  • Green card holders must provide a copy of their green card
  • Duly filled Visa Application Form
  • You must have an international Inoculation Certificate against Yellow Fever.
  • You must obtain a Uganda Government VISA before entry into Uganda.
  • It mandatory to have the following to obtain a Uganda Government VISA:
    (a). Application forms are available online. Visa Application Form
    (b). Submit your passport and one (1) recent passport–size photograph.
    (c). Pay applicable Fees below, by money order or (cashier’s cheque) only.
    (d). In a secure envelope, enclose your passport, the one photographs, the money order (or cashier cheque) to Uganda Mission.
    (e). * Allow five (5) working days for your visa application to be processed for an application submitted by mail or in person.
  • Applications for Visas may be submitted by mail, in person, or by E-visa. Applications by post must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed USPSExpress Overnight envelope only for shipping your document(s) back to you.
    Any other courier service with traceable delivery methods like FedEx and DHL is recommended.
  • Visa applications should be submitted one month before travel, at the earliest, and not later than four days before travel.
  • Correct visa fee ( USD 50 for single entry visa). All travelers should pay visa fees online.
  • Letter of invitation/introduction, if traveling on business.
  • Applicants may be requested to submit additional supporting documentation.

For more information on Visa Requirements, visit the official Uganda Immigration page.

Citizens of the following countries are exempt from visa entering Uganda—but they should have a valid passport:

List of countries whose national do not require to pay for a visa to enter Uganda includes Angola, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Burundi, Comoros, Cyprus, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Italy (Diplomatic Passport holders only), Jamaica, Ireland, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

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Valid Passport

Check well in advance that you have a valid passport and that it won’t expire within six months of the date you intend to leave Uganda. Should your passport be lost or stolen, it will generally be easier to get a replacement if you have a photocopy of the important pages.

Yellow Fever Vaccination Card

You will be asked at the border or international airport for an international health certificate showing you’ve had a yellow fever shot.

Cost of a Uganda Visa

A standard Uganda single-entry visa, valid for three months, costs USD 50. Student visas cost USD 20. Multiple-entry visa valid for 12 months, costs USD 100, 24 months visa costs USD 150, and 24-36-months visa costs USD 200.

Travelers with a single-entry visa intending to leave and return to Uganda (e.g., to trekking gorillas in Rwanda or visiting nearby Kenya) may find it more useful to apply for an East African Visa (cross-border joint visa).

The East African visa allows entry into all three countries (Kenya, Uganda & Rwanda) on a single visa which costs USD 100.

If, however, you intend to spend less than seven days in Uganda before leaving again, you can purchase an inland transit visa for only USD 15.

Uganda Visa Extension

Immigration authorities now generally only stamp your passport for a maximum of one month upon arrival. Immigration can extend your visa without charge to three months at any immigration office. You’ll be charged USD 100 per day if you overstay your visa.

In Kampala, you may be asked to provide an official letter from a sponsor or the hotel where you are staying. In Jinja and Mbarara, recent reports suggest you are more likely to have your stay extended to three months without any paperwork.

Uganda Covid-19 Entry Requirements

The international airport and borders of Uganda have stayed open since October 1, 2020. All travelers have to to fulfill the following entry COVID-19 travel requirements to get through Uganda’s international borders.

  • All persons traveling through the airport shall, in addition to security requirements, wear the Ministry of Health (MOH) approved Face Masks, go through Thermal Screening, handwashing, and/or sanitize(hand/body).
  • All arriving passengers from category 1 & 2 countries will be subjected to a PCR COVID-19 test at all points of entry including Entebbe International Airport. Category 1—includes India. Category 2—includes the USA, UK, UAE, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, and Tanzania.
  • Travelers of countries in category 3—includes all travelers from countries not in categories 1 & 2— will not be subject to PCR tests but shall present an authentic and valid PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test certificate issued 72 hours before arriving in Uganda.
  • Individuals from category 2 countries who have received full COVID-19 vaccinations and have no signs of any infection will be exempted from PCR tests at all immigration entry points in Uganda.
  • Internal flights passengers passing through Entebbe Airport can wizz through the immigration desk with no restrictions.
  • All Passengers who show signs and symptoms of a communicable disease, including COVID-19, shall be isolated and taken for further checks and treatment.
  • All Covid-19 positive testing passengers/ crews shall be isolated and taken to designated treatment centers. Established contact persons to the positive passengers shall go for 14 days’ quarantine.
  • Passengers shall proceed to immigration with a valid passport to process a visa.
  • The Uganda government has imposed a night curfew between 10:00 and 05:00 across the country. If you arrive at Entebbe Airport or your outbound flight is within that period of time, make sure you are carrying your valid travel documents to present at any security point, you’ll be allowed through.

Valid Driving License

If there is any possibility you’ll want to drive or hire a vehicle in Uganda, bring a valid driving license. Your domestic (home country) driving license will suffice for a period of up to three months.

If you intend to drive in Uganda for longer, you can either obtain a Ugandan Driver’s license or (this is far cheaper and simpler) bring an international driving license with your domestic license. Rather than carrying the originals, a photocopy will suffice.

Keeping your documents safe

For security reasons, it’s advisable to detail all your important information on one sheet of paper, photocopy it, and distribute a few copies in your luggage, your money belt, and amongst relatives or friends at home.

The sort of things you want to include are your identification and address details and refund information, travel insurance policy details and 24-hour emergency contact number, passport number, details of relatives or friends to be contacted in an emergency, bank and credit card details, camera and lens serial numbers, etc.

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Entry requirements for pets

Cats and dogs must have a certificate of good health from a registered veterinarian in the area of origin, which must be issued, signed, and stamped no earlier than 10 days before arrival in Uganda. You will also need a certificate confirming the animal is free of rabies and has been inoculated as necessary.

Dogs require vaccinations against distemper, parvo-virus, rabies, hepatitis, and leptospirosis, not less than 30 days before arrival.
Cats should be vaccinated against rabies and feline enteritis, not less than 30 days before arrival.

Uganda Boarder Customs

Uganda border customs allows importing the following items into Uganda without incurring customs duty: 400 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco; one bottle of spirits and wine, 2.5 liters of beer; 1oz bottle of perfume.

Uganda border customs allows exporting souvenirs without restriction. However, game trophies such as tooth, bone, horn, shell, claw, skin, hair, feather, or other durable items are subject to export permits.

If you’re bringing in a drone for safari photography, you must know that the Ministry of Defense watches them closely. Thorugh CAA, you must fulfill a couple of requirements to operate a drone in Uganda. Read the full details in: Operating a Drone in Uganda Procedures

Onward,

Have someone help you plan your trip to Uganda. Our local tour operator, Nkuringo Safaris, has a dedicated team of local experts that live and have traveled Uganda’s destinations and would give you trusted recommendations, process all your fees, and operate your ground handling. You also get to engage your tour manager all the way through the planning. You don’t have to do the whole planning alone, and you don’t have to deal with third parties to plan a guided tour. An email to travel@destinationuganda.com connects you directly to a consultant.