All Ugandan tourist visas are now online. Apply BEFORE you travel!
DISCLAIMER: I update this page regularly based on feedback from visitors to Uganda. Although in theory all Ugandan tourist visas must be applied for in advance online – and paid for online since May 2017 – you can still apply in person at Entebbe Airport. Scroll down for more information and do read all the comments for the latest feedback on the visa application process.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has implemented a new online electronic visa application system. This is (in theory) mandatory for applying for all Ugandan visas, including: entry permit (work permit), Uganda tourist visa, multiple entry visa, transit visa, East Africa tourist visa, student pass, diplomatic visa, official visa, special pass, Certificate of Residence, dependent’s pass.
All requests for tourist visas, passes and work permits (E-Visa and E-permits) should now be completed via this link on the Uganda immigration website.
Under the new application process, applicants for all immigration services such as visas, work permits and passes will be required to apply and pay online, and an electronic notification / authorization will be sent to the applicant before proceeding to the preferred Entry Point e.g. Entebbe International Airport or the nearest Uganda Mission abroad for the visa to be issued.
NOTE: Management anticipated that the full implementation would take several weeks (the Kenyan e-visa had teething problems for a number of months, so expect the same for Uganda). Information via Uganda Tourism Board stated: “Through the month of July 2016, it will still be possible to get visas on arrival. However, the traveler will have to go through the electronic application process (as above) at the port of entry.” [January 2018: the cut-off date for this has not been communicated].
If you are traveling to Uganda and applying for a Ugandan visa online, you are advised to:
Apply at least ONE MONTH prior to travel. (However, some applications are approved in hours, others days, some not at all… if you apply too early, it may even get cancelled and there’s no guarantee you will get your money back).
Be prepared. You need to complete the online application in one sitting. The online application does not allow you to save your information and return to the screen later. Have these ready: a copy of your bio page of your passport, a recent passport photo, and Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. You will need to upload these. For more info on the exact documents needed, according to type of visa you require, go to the Uganda immigration web site general information page.
Only PDF, JPEG, PNG and BMP files are accepted. The files you upload should not be bigger than 250 KB (that’s pretty small!)
Thanks to Kevin at Karibu Guesthouse Entebbe for sharing these two links that can help you get your scanned docs under the 250 KB file size limit.
To compress .pdf files: https://smallpdf.com/compress-pdf
To compress .jpg files: https://tinyjpg.com/
This page of the Uganda immigration web site details the fees for applying for Ugandan visas online.
The decision taken on the online application (“yes” or “no” on whether you’re coming to Uganda) will be sent via email. Assuming you get the go-ahead, an approval letter will be sent as an attachment to the email. Print this travel authorisation (showing a barcode). Keep this with your travel documents.
Make a note of your application number! You may need this in case you have to follow up.
UPDATE May 2017: You can now pay online for your Uganda tourist visa during this approval process. There is a 3% surcharge for online payment. If you want to avoid queues at the airport, you might want to do this. However, you can still pay in person at Entebbe airport. Please scroll down to the comments for feedback from visitors who have been through this process!
Present the printed barcode at point of entry [read “border”] together with a valid passport / travel document of “not less than 6 months validity” and you will get your visa.
NOTE: “the travel authorization [approval] letter does not guarantee entry into Uganda. Travelers will be subjected to secondary verification where necessary before personalization,” meaning it is not 100% guarantee you will be issued a visa at the airport / border / Uganda mission (but you probably will, unless you’ve been very naughty indeed).
Any feedback or questions on getting Ugandan visas online? Do please contact the muzungu or share in the comments below. I review this page on a regular basis. Thanks to everyone who has shared their visa application experiences!
I also have a page all about the East Africa Tourist Visa and a page on Rwanda’s announcement that all travelers can get visa on arrival from January 2018.