Navigating Uganda’s Red Tape: Visa & Entry Requirements like passport, Covid, customs and pets.
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 is good 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.
The international airport and borders of Uganda to open on October 1, 2020, but you might have to fulfill the following to get through Uganda’s international borders.
Uganda Covid Entry Requirements
- All persons entering 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 travelers shall present an authentic and valid PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test certificate within 72 hours before arriving in Uganda.
- All arriving passengers shall be subjected to invasive COVID-19 testing where necessary(samples taking or rapid test), amongst others.
- 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.
- Passenger shall proceed to immigration with a valid passport to process a visa.
- Uganda government imposed a night curfew between 21:00 and 06:000 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.
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.
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.
You will be asked at the border or international airport for an international health certificate showing you’ve had a yellow fever shot.
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.
Nationals of most countries require a visa to enter Uganda. This can be bought 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.
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.
Cost of a Uganda Visa
A standard single-entry visa, valid for three months, costs US$50. Student visas cost US$20. Multiple-entry visa valid for 12 months, costs US$100, 24 months costs US$150, and 24-36-months costs US$200.
Travelers with a single-entry visa intending to leave and return to Uganda (e.g., to track gorillas in Rwanda or visit nearby Kenya) may find it more useful to apply for an East African Visa (cross-border joint visa), which allows entry into all three countries on a single visa, and costs US$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 US$15.
Uganda Visa Extension
Immigration authorities now generally only stamp your passport for a maximum of one month upon arrival. This can be extended without charge to three months at any immigration office. If you overstay your visa, you will be charged US$100 per day.
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 Boarder Customs
The following items may be imported 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. Souvenirs may be exported without restriction, but 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org connects you directly to a consultant.