Afghanistan is in many ways one of the easiest visas to get. Most diplomatic missions will issue you a tourist visa with just an application form completed, a passport photo, the normal visa fee and maybe a photocopy of your passport. Very often they will do it the same day and with a smile.
Sound too easy?
You thought right.
There are some consulates that make life a little bit harder; Oslo and Beijing come to mind. For somewhere like Beijing, the Afghanistan Embassy requires you to have permission from your Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating you have permission to travel to Afghanistan. Likewise, the embassy in Oslo requires an official document from the Afghan MFA which doesn’t exist (trying to explain that what they require is actually impossible isn’t met with a huge amount of understanding), as well as an LOI from a local travel company and confirmations of your hotel bookings.
Singaporeans have the hardest time getting an Afghanistan visa as their own government has requested that its citizens not be issued tourist visas due to the deaths of some Singaporean aid workers. That being said, Singaporeans who want to travel to Afghanistan just have to travel to a third country where the embassy won’t follow this request.
While every mission deals with visa applications differently, if you have the correct LOI from a tour company like YPT, it’s very unlikely you won’t get the visa. The only thing one needs to be careful of is overly caring consulate staff who want to ensure your safety. I was sitting at an Afghan consulate waiting to get another Afghanistan visa, when the girl in front of me was told they wouldn’t issue her a visa. I then went in after and spoke to the consular officer, I asked him about the girl to which he replied, “she told me she was travelling by herself in Afghanistan. It’s not safe for a young girl to be travelling by herself”. I, a male, of course, had no issues getting the visa myself.
The best bit about getting an Afghanistan visa is there is always Dubai. Very few countries have such a reliable backup. Dubai does require LOI’s from local travel companies as well as confirmation of your flights etc, so you can’t just arrive and get a visa to travel by yourself. But it does mean if you’ve got all the correct paperwork provided by a trusty tour company, you can get your visa on the same day there if you’ve been unable to get it somewhere else beforehand. When our guests don’t have enough time wherever else they are in the world to get their visa, we suggest Dubai, and so far everyone has been queuing for their visa in the morning, then sitting on the beach by mid-afternoon.