Applying for Sudan’s tourist visa (appeared to be) a bit of a guessing game and there’s not much about the new rules online. Here’s how to apply for a Sudan Visa from the UK, if you can’t travel through Egypt, Ethiopia or Vienna. Please note, visas on arrival are not allowed for Sudan.
Where Can You Apply For A Sudanese Tourist Visa?
There’s not a huge amount of information out there about Sudan (and what is written couldn’t be more inaccurate! Yes I’m looking at you Lonely Planet) and bearing in mind Sudan only receive a small number of tourists a year, most of whom visit on package holidays, it’s not hard to see why.
We were in Bulgaria when we decided to visit Sudan but after the Bulgarian-Sudanese Embassy refused to answer emails or pick up calls, we felt that we only had two options left.
We’d read that the Sudanese embassy in Vienna was the most efficient at processing the tourist visa; with people saying it took just a few hours! We’d also read that getting a visa in Aswan, Egypt was pretty simple, as it was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but those weren’t options to us.
So our only hope was the Sudanese embassy in the UK. This is the process we took.
The Sudan UK Website Is Not The Best
The information on their website is a bit confusing and it looks like it was designed in the 1990’s! The entry requirements are elaborately detailed yet confusing however the man on the phone was incredibly laid back and told me just to send whatever paperwork I had in and that he’d call if there was a problem. What a juxtaposition!
We actually decided that because of Christmas & New Year, we wouldn’t send them in, but that we’d visit in person.
The 6 Steps To Applying For A Visa At the UK Sudan Embassy
- Download and complete the Visa Application Form. Although it doesn’t say so, everybody who holds a passport will need an application. This means ALL children will need their own visa.
- Find yourself a Sudanese sponsor who can provide you with an invitation letter. This could be a tour agency, a dive centre or a hotel. We went diving and asked the dive centre to provide us with a letter.
- Print off a passport-sized photo for every application. This must be on glossy photo paper.
- You’ll need £65 per visa either in cash if you attend in person or as a postal order if you send your application through the post.
- Embassy staff need to physically see every passport for every application form. A copy will not suffice.
- A Self Addressed Envelope for your visa and passports if you send your application in. We hung around in London waiting and it was completed within six hours.
Where Is The Sudan Embassy In London?
We chose to present ourselves in person at the Sudan Embassy because I was worried about the paperwork getting lost in the post, not having the correct paperwork and the processing times.
The Sudan Embassy is located near St James’s Palace. See map below.
How Long Does The Sudan Visa Process Take From The UK?
We’d heard all the stories that applying for the visa ranged from 5 days to 12 weeks.
The people in the embassy were genuinely really lovely and we were told that if we sent the documents it would be a 5 day turnaround however we submitted, paid and collected ours within the same day.
Now that’s service for you!
How Long Is The Tourist Visa For Brits Visiting Sudan Valid For?
8 weeks from the date of validation. This does not give you a huge amount of time to book flights but from our experience, the flight price doesn’t fluctuate massively.
We bought our flights through SkyScanner and paid for them on our Revolut cards. There are a number of flight options and we chose to fly through Bahrain (with Gulf Air) spending 17 hours on a layover.
You Must Present Yourself In Sudan
You must present yourself within three days of arriving in Sudan. This means (in total) you MUST have at least 2 free pages in your passport.
Where can you present yourself?
- The DEPARTURE HALL of Khartoum airport. Look for the blue building to the right of the hall to get the form in.
- Your SPONSOR.
- Ask a hotel or agency for help.
We opted for our sponsor to do this and paid 650 SDG each for a half-page sticker.
Some people have suggested that this is no longer necessary however I can find no official guidance on this and both parts of our visas were definitely checked! The airport is a chaotic mess and you’re required to scan you bags and go through at least four different passport checks! I would hate to get to the final passport check and realise I actually needed it.
Do I Need A Photo Permit Or A Travel Permit To Leave Khartoum?
No. You no longer require a travel permit or a photo permit to leave Khartoum.
Sudan Is Finally On Booking Sites
Brilliant news for travellers to Sudan. Because the financial restrictions were lifted, Sudan is now able to use booking sites and travellers can book before arrival. Phew!
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