While its neighbours Morocco and Tunisia get floods of tourists every year with their lax visa policies, Algeria has always been more exclusive and, until very recently, almost completely off the tourist map. With France having removed most parts of Algeria from its danger list, Algeria is, slowly but surely, getting more and more tourists. Still, visa on arrival or an e-visa is not planned as of yet and most nationalities need to get their visa in advance. Unless you are from Malaysia, Seychelles or one of the other northern African countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania and… Western Sahara), you will need to get your visa in advance.
So, how does one get a visa for Algeria ? Follow these simple steps and you should be set for Algeria in no-time.
Book a tour
While you could possibly go to Algeria without booking a tour, the process for doing so is quite complicated and much longer. It involves writing a letter of intention, getting it notarized as well as providing a detailed itinerary, hotel and flight bookings and dealing with the Algerian embassy in your home country on your own.
When you book a tour with an accredited Algerian tourism company, such as the one YPT is teaming with, they do most of the work on the Algerian ministry of foreign affairs side. Their credibility helps vouching for your application and by the time you go to the embassy, it has already been informed of your visit before you go.
In order for everything to be done on time, we recommend starting the process at least two months before your planned departure date.
Send your documents
In order for the travel agent to apply for you on the Algerian side, you will need to send a few documents:
- A scanned copy of your passport photo page`
- Flight details in and out of Algeria
Your travel agent will also need to know your profession and which embassy you will be applying from.
Receive your invitation letter
\Once you’ve sent your documents, a letter of invitation will be issued and sent to you by mail. Check that all details are fine, print it and…
Apply for your visa at the embassy
You now have to go to the Algerian embassy you’ve chosen before to submit your passport, invitation letter as well as the visa form. Embassies might have different visa forms so you might want to check the website of your embassy to see if you can save time by printing and filling the form before visiting the embassy. You will also have to pay the fee for your visa. Visa fees, which are reciprocal, vary greatly depending on the fee your country charges Algerian to come to your country.
Once you have applied, the travel agent in Algeria will also send additional documents on his side in Algeria, this will give the Algerian government more details about your trip as well as help vouching for you. The MFA gives approval to the Algerian embassy you have chosen and you are then contacted to go and pick up your passport with a shiny new visa in it!
Please note that, while this process is usually very smooth, it can be harder for some nationalities and Americans and Chinese seem to have a higher rejection rate than most other nationalities. It might be wise to double check your social media profiles and make sure you’ve never written anything against Algeria, the Arab world, its neighbors or Islam.
Americans have a harder time both when applying and on arrival. When applying, especially at the New York consulate, visas tend to be issued last minute and, often, people are not noticed that their visa is ready. For any nationality, the key to success to getting the visa is to be proactive and call the consulate or embassy regularly or, even better, visiting them.
On arrival at an Algerian airport, Americans are often asked to explain why they are coming and to show their letter of invitation, so make sure to have it printed out even if you already have your visa. While Americans have to jump through more hoops, on the plus side they are granted two year multiple-entry visa. For other countries, the process at immigration is much smoother but a multiple-entry visa is very hard to score.
To have a smooth experience getting a visa for Algeria, why not book a tour with us? If group tours are really not your things or our dates don’t fit your schedule, we can also arrange independent tours for you, with the same visa support!