Just the name Afghanistan brings memories of a country caught in the middle of a war between two clashing forces and beliefs. For almost two decades, this historical country has faced a seemingly never-ending battle which not only affected the country’s physical state but most of its people as well.
Afghanistan has been pretty much closed off from tourists wanting to see more of it for the past 30 years as well. However, these days it offers a myriad of activities and attractions to those wanting to look more into a place that has existed for more than thousands of years.
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If you have a UK Passport and you’re interested to know more about visiting this country, this article will help you find out the steps in gaining an Afghanistan Tourist Visa.
Table of Contents
Quick Facts About Afghanistan
Country Code: +93
Languages Spoken: Dari and Pasht
Currency: Afghanistan Afghani (AFN)
Emergency Numbers: 119 for the police call center
Requirements for Afghanistan Tourist Visa
- An appointment using the official online visa appointment booking service of the Embassy
- Current passport with a minimum of 6 months validity
- Filled out Visa Application Form
- Two recent photos
- Invitation letter, copy of Tazkera (Afghan identity card issued to all citizens of Afghanistan), colored copy of the passport of the person who invited you over to Afghanistan or a registered entity in Afghanistan; a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul to authorize the visit
- Hotel reservations and flight itinerary
- Certificate of Employment or any proof of employment in the UK
- Bills or Bank Statements to serve as your proof of address in the UK
- A personal statement describing why you intent to visit Afghanistan, where and with whom will you be for the duration of your stay.
Note: your statement should also indicate that you are responsible for any liabilities that might arise while you’re in the country as well as the fact that you’re fully aware of the risks that might come with your travel.
Step-by-Step Procedure in Applying for Afghanistan Tourist Visa
1. Complete your requirements and fill out the application form
2. Go to the Embassy’s scheduling page to schedule an appointment with the embassy
3. Print out the confirmation email you’ll receive from the Online Appointment Portal and bring it with you during your appointment
4. Submit your requirements to the Consulate Section of the Embassy
5. Pay for the visa fees and choose your preferred method of visa collection
6. Once approved, you may collect your visa by mail or by picking it up
Where to Apply for Afghanistan Tourist Visa
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in London
31 Princes Fate
Consulate Section (For inquiries about Visas, Passports, Powers of Attorney, Legislation and Birth Certificates)
Phone Number: 0207 584 4443 or 207 584 0416
Email Address: [email protected]
Frequently Asked Questions About Afghanistan
1. How long does it take for the consular office to issue a visa?
The standard processing time for a tourist visa to Afghanistan can take anywhere from 10 to 20 business days.
2. How much does it cost to apply for a tourist visa to Afghanistan?
A single-entry tourist visa application costs £140.00. You might have to pay an additional £15 for return post service in case you’d like the documents to be mailed to you.
3. How long will my visa be valid for?
Your single entry tourist visa will be issued for 3 months. This will make you eligible to travel to Afghanistan as a tourist for 30 days.
4. Is Afghanistan safe for tourists?
To be quite honest, the UK government advises its citizens not to travel to a big part of Afghanistan, including its capital city of Khabul, and only advise essential travel to a few numbers of cities. They also stated that the British Embassy can offer very limited consular services to its citizens who are planning to visit Afghanistan.
To give you an idea, here are the provinces and districts that the UK advises its citizens not to visit:
Kapisa; Kunar; Nangahar; Laghman; Nuristan; Ghazni; Khost; Paktika; Paktiya; Logar Wardak;Kandahar; Uruzgan; Zabul; Helmand; Nimroz; Badghis; Farah; Faryab; Jowzjan; Badakhshan; Baghlan; Kunduz and Takhar; Kabul (Surobi district); Parwan (Charikar City, Bagram, Ghorband/Siaghird, Jabal Saraj, Kohi Saraj, Salang, Sayed Khel, and Shinwari districts); Daikundi (Gizab and Kajran districts); Ghor (Dolina/ Du Layna and Pasaband districts); Herat (Shindand district); Balkh (Chaharbolak, Chamtal/Chimtal, Daulat Abad/Dawalatabad, Hairatan Port, Kaldar and Shortipa/Shur Tapa/Shor Tepah districts); Sar-e-Pul (Sar-e-Pul City and Sayad districts)
However, at the end of the day, it’s still at your discretion if you would like to explore the following places on the list.
Aside from the terrorist threats still looming in the country, there are also other risks that you must pay attention to when traveling to Afghanistan.
Road travel can be highly dangerous when riding public transportation as some of these vehicles can be poorly maintained and driven by unqualified drivers. If possible, travel by air instead.
In rural areas, there have been cases of foreigners being attacked, robbed and other things. If you’re planning to travel to Afghanistan, it’s safe not to display or carry a huge sum of money. It’s also advisable not to travel so much when the day gets darker and to travel with a guide.
5. Should I get insurance when traveling to Afghanistan?
Yes, the government advises to get a comprehensive medical and travel insurance when you go to Afghanistan.
World Nomads is simple and flexible travel insurance which you can simply access from anywhere in the world. You may reach out to them to ask about a travel insurance quote for your travel to Afghanistan.
6. How do I get to Afghanistan from the UK?
To get to Kabul, you might need to get on a connecting flight from any of the major cities traveling directly to their country. Some people prefer to fly through Dubai or Pakistan from London to get to any of Afghanistan’s major airports.
7. What are some of the do’s and don’ts when in Afghanistan?
If you’re a female traveler, it’s advisable to dress modestly when visiting as some visitors shared experiences of being catcalled by some locals due to their choice of clothing. It’s also important to wear a pair of pants as not having one (under your tunic, for example) might be considered immodest. It’s also handy to have a scarf to cover your head with, especially when entering places of worship.
When meeting other people, a man must wait for an Afghan woman to initiate a conversation or shaking hands before making a move themselves. Women, on the other hand, must wait for a male companion to introduce her to the other male before communicating with him.
It’s also safer to skip politics, the Taliban or any mention of the tensions within their country when talking to someone in Afghanistan. This is a highly sensitive issue and might result in a negative experience for both of you.
Last but not the least, be sensitive to the experiences of the Afghan people. Most of them have been affected by the war in one way or another, so it’s best to show sympathy for them when the opportunity arises and to be more understanding of them.
8. Can I have my money exchanged in Afghanistan? Can I use my credit cards?
Yes, you can have your local currency exchanged at counters in the airport or within the major cities. Credit cards, however, can be hard to use when in Afghanistan as POS machines are not available in the country.
9. Do I need to get a translator when going to Afghanistan?
It’s not so easy to find someone who speaks English in this country so it might be best to find a translator when going around.
10. Can I use my phone when in Afghanistan?
Yes, you can communicate with your family and friends by purchasing a local sim card for calling and sending text messages. 3G internet is also available through local networks for an additional fee.
11. When’s the best time to visit Afghanistan?
If you’d like to visit the country, you may do so from March to June so you can avoid the extreme heat during the summer and the harsh winter season.
12. Where should I go to Afghanistan?
As a country with its history tracing back thousands and thousands of years, Afghanistan has so many things to show any visitor who dares to go through its borders despite warnings.
If you want to know more about history, you can visit key places such as the Kabul Museum which keeps a ton of artifacts and other magnificent pieces of Afghan history within its confines. There’s also the ever-famous Garden of Babur situated in Kabul which, after being destroyed by the war, has since been restored into its vibrant, luscious state.
Afghanistan is also home to century-old mosques covered from bottom to top with magnificent art like the Friday Mosque and the Blue Mosque. For those who would like to take a side trip to Afghanistan’s natural wonders, Band-e-Amir, a group of crystalline blue lakes in Bamiyan province, is worth paying a visit.
It might take quite an effort to visit Afghanistan from applying for a visa to enduring a long flight and finally to get through its borders, but with all the beauty this resilient country has to offer, all the effort will be worth it.
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