Somaliland is an unrecognized country in the Horn of Africa. It is one of a few unrecognized countries that actually has a functioning international airport.
As such, getting to Somaliland is easy, and getting the Somaliland Visa is even easier!
The visa process for entering Somaliland is very straightforward and travellers should not be discouraged by the process. The country rarely denies visas to genuine tourists and the process is not overly expensive either.
The consular services of Somaliland embassies and consulates abroad operate quite efficiently, when compared to other countries in the region.
In addition, although unrecognized, Somaliland currently has diplomatic missions in the UK, Canada, the USA, China, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Belgium, France, Turkey, Ethiopia and other countries! This makes visiting a diplomatic mission (if necessary) pretty convenient.
Most travellers will go through Ethiopia on their way to Somaliland. While there are many other options, Ethiopian Airlines has made travelling to Somaliland quite inexpensive, simple and seamless. As such, travellers must be aware of Ethiopian Visa policies if they choose to enter Somaliland through Ethiopia.
Good news is, that citizens of Canada, the USA, the EU, Australia and New Zealand are eligible for a visa-on-arrival in Ethiopia. The other good news, is that if you are not from one of these countries, you can go through the simple 'eVisa process' without any delay.
You will need a visa to enter Somaliland. Visas are not issued at the airport and will need to be sorted out in advance.
The most convenient place to get a Visa in person is in Addis Ababa. They are issued through the Somaliland Liaison Office and cost US$40 for a one-month Visa.
Visas can also be obtained in Djibouti, the UK, the USA, France and at other diplomatic missions of Somaliland around the world.
Visa fees cost about US$40, although requirements tend to vary arbitrarily from one Liaison Office to another.
Visa on Arrival
Somaliland has no official visa-on-arrival option for foreign travellers.
However, there is a convenient option by going through a local sponsor, or by joining a guided tour to Somaliland.
This option allows someone in Somaliland to do the application process for you and then send you a scanned copy. After that, all you need to do is print it and present it upon arrival at the airport (or at any land border).
This is the closest thing Somaliland has to a visa-on-arrival. This is only a certificate and should not be mistaken for the actual visa. The original visa should have been deposited at the immigration office at the airport (or at the border post, if you decide arrive by land) by your sponsor or tour operator.
Please note, that upon arrival in Somaliland, you must tell them then your sponsor or guide has the real visa at the airport / border. They will send someone to retrieve it and bring it to you so you can present it to customs, as they will not accept your printed copy.
If joining a guided tour with Political Holidays, your local guide will be waiting for you at the airport with the original visa and you can mention that when you are asked for it at customs.
If you plan to enter Somaliland at Tog Wajaale (from Ethiopia), your guide or sponsor will send the original visa to the Somaliland border post. In the event of a guided tour, your guide should also be there waiting for you as the same rules apply for land borders as they do at the airport.
Hotels charge up to $50 or more for the service, and expect that you spend a couple of nights with them - with a guided tour, it is included in the price.
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Updated: November, 2019