Citizens of all countries require a visa to visit Afghanistan. The Afghanistan tourist visa is valid for 30 days. It’s single entry. It is not date-specific, meaning the visa duration starts from the day you enter, which can be any day within a 3-month period stated on the visa.
Visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months from the date of arrival except for citizens of Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary,India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan as well as all foreigners of Afghan origin, whose passports only have to be valid on arrival.
Afghanistan visa requirements
Afghanistan visa requirements are standard:
- passport with 6 months validity after the expiry of the Afghan visa
- passport photo
- filled out Afghanistan visa application form (the download here could be of use, but some embassies have their own specific form, like Islamabad)
Certain embassies ask for a letter of invitation, while others don’t. Some embassies don’t issue tourist visas at all due to safety concerns. Who does and who does not changes often. Did the embassy not ask for a letter of invitation this week? Next week they might. There are no hard and fast rules as to the application process. Each ambassador decides for himself. And ambassadors, it turns out, are a fickle species.
Letter of invitation
If you need a letter of invitation, you can get one from a local in Afghanistan. Couchsurfing is full of helpful people. Tour operators do not want to give you a letter of invitation unless you go on a tour with them.
Foreigner Registration Card
Do you need to register when you arrive in Afghanistan? Yes and no. Officially yes, but enforcement is lax. Foreigners can get hassled though (and have to cough up a bribe) when they leave Afghanistan if they don’t have a foreigner registration card, or even on the street by police. So best to get one.
When you arrive, you are meant to register within 48h (preferably 12) and be given a foreigner registration card free of charge. Make sure you bring passport photos with you – take 2 to be sure. In Kabul airport, you get your registration card from a desk in the baggage area. If you arrive early or late or on the weekend, though, the desk will be closed. You can then opt to stop caring and say when you leave the country that the desk was closed when you arrived. Or, you can return to the airport later. Or, you can head to the police headquarters or the ministry of internal affairs.
October 2015: Airport registration closed, went to the police headquarters with the hotel receptionist.
2013: Went back to the airport later in the trip to register. The registration officials (who, this time, had bothered to turn up) gave me a hard time because I hadn’t registered within 48 hours of arriving. I just kept repeating that the office was closed when I arrived, ignored what I later realized were probably half-hearted attempts at a shakedown for some moolah, and eventually emerged with my registration card. As it turned out, I wasn’t asked to turn it over when I left the country.
July 2012: Crossed at Termez, no registration necessary.
Transit visa for Kabul airport
There is no transit area in Kabul airport. If you are transiting there, you will need to apply for a transit visa at the Afghan embassy.
Wakhan corridor permit
If you want to go trekking in the Wakhan corridor you need a special permit. This can be obtained through a tour operator or in Eshkashim (in Afghanistan) with a man called Wafoula or Wafiola, who runs a tourist agency. It is easy to find him, everyone in the village knows him. Price is around 50$, but you can haggle.
If you speak fluent Persian, you can do the tourist registration process yourself. Price is 10$ per person, takes around 4 hours according to one report. Note that the tourist office starts weekend on Thursday after lunch, and returns to the office on Saturday.
Ishkashim border market on Tajik visa
It is possible to visit the Saturday border market of Ishkashim on a Tajik visa. You leave your passport with the Tajik border guards, and walk across a little bridge to get to the market. When you are done, you walk back and pick up your passport. No Afghan visa is required.
The border market closes when there are problems. In the past, these have included Taliban attacks, cholera outbreaks and mudslides. Updates on the Ishkashim border market are posted in this forum post.
Afghanistan visa extension
A tourist visa to Afghanistan can be extended only once, for 1 month. The cost for overstaying your visa is now $10 per day overstaying during the first month (instead of $2 per day previously), and $15 per day for the second month (previously $5 per day). If the delay is more than two months, in addition to the fine, you will be deported.
One traveler says the MFA info is false: “do NOT go to the border once your visa expired. Just get an extension if you want to stay more or get an exit visa to get out. Both ways are lengthy and obnoxious but the only way to make your stay LEGALLY.”
Extension Visa in Kabul
August 2015: It has become quite difficult to apply for a visa extension in Kabul due to security concerns. However, it’s still possible. First, go to the Ministry of Culture and Information, last floor, ask for a letter for extending your tourist visa, very friendly people. (Don’t go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it’s only for business visa) Then, go to the Afghan Tourism Organization (ATO), next to the National Gallery, a few hundred meters away, give them the letter, a color photocopy of your passport details and Afghan visa, one recent photo, and a reference letter from the guesthouse or hotel you’re staying in.They will give you an application form to fill in and ask you to come back the following day with your passport and $10 (I paid 650 Afghanis) in exchange for another letter (previously asked $20). You then need to go to the Passport and Visa Office (PVO), quite far away, better take a taxi, the following day with that letter in order to get your visa extension.
I went to the PVO and they asked me again for a letter from a guesthouse or hotel, a color photocopy of my passport details and Afghan visa, a recent photo, and the letter from the ATO. PVO is closed on Thursdays and Fridays. The same documents I already gave to the ATO. The cost of visa extension is $50.
IMPORTANT: I mentioned I was staying with an Afghan person in his house through CS. They asked me for a reference letter from that person signed by himself and the police chief, and the owner of the house. I went to the ATO three times, but they wouldn’t do anything without the letter, and started to become very upset and annoyed. Simply go to a guesthouse (I stayed at Salsal Guesthouse, very good location, very friendly staff, for 700 Afghanis a night (about $11.50), stay one night there, ask for a receipt, and give it to the ATO person. It should work.
Exit visa in Herat
- This type of visa can be obtained in Mazar-e Sharif,Kabul,and Herat.
- Go to the ATO on Jada Walayat Rd.(The location is between Jada Shamali Rd. and Qumandani Amniya Rd. A little bit hard to find so try to ask people and show your passport.)
- Pay $10 and get a letter. Then, go to the police station in front of the Blue Mosque on Qumandani Amniya Rd.
- First,you need to get a stamp from one of the commanders. His office is in the building facing toward the extrance.Go to the second floor and ask staff where he is.
- Second, take your letter to the building next to it with dark blue windows. Also go to the second floor to obtain application. In this step, you’ll have to hand in the color copies of passport and visa. Then they’ll tell you to take another copy and filled in application to passport and visa office.
- PVO in Herat is still inside of the police station. Normally,there will be a long queue and lots of people but ignore that, try to find a soldier to help you get inside.
- In the first room on the right hand side, the officer inside will give you a payment slip for the fines of expiry or the fee for the visa. Just go back to the corner of Qumandani Amniya Rd. and Jada Walayat Rd.,there’s the only Da Afghanistan Bank in Herat.
- Bring another slip from bank back to the office and the officer would tell you to pick up next day.
*PS: It’s easy to be asked for bribe during the processes,just ignore them or if necessary, try to lower the price. I’m sure the letter from ATO is always $10, and extension visa is $50, and Exit visa for $15-20.(This time I got fines for Expiry included but it should be lower than this price.)
It seems that tourist visas are no longer issued in Afghan embassies of certain Western countries, or the process is long and arduous and might require booking tour guides. If you live in one of these countries and want to visit Afghanistan, the way to go is to apply for a tourist visa elsewhere.
Many people going to the Wakhan Valley via Tajikistan get their visa in Khorog.
Berlin embassy, Germany
March 2017: Needed a letter of invitation.
Bishkek embassy, Kyrgyzstan
New address since 2017: Chehova 28. It is located close to the intersection of Gorky St. and Chehova St; no longer at the intersection of Zhukeev Pudovkin and Drujby street.
According to the sign, consular section reception hours are 9:30-12:00 and distribution hours are 14:00-15:00. “Reception days” are Tuesday and Thursday. The listed hours are flexible to some degree.
The process involves filling in the form, handing in your passport and 2 passport pictures, and paying. Payments are made at the National Bank of Pakistan, located on the corner of Sovietskaya/Moskovskaya. Updates are collected here.
Septyember 2016: The costs for a visa are $70 for Dutch (and other mainland EU) citizens, $120 for British citizens and $160 for American citizens. Express service is $50 extra. Make sure to come early if you wish to apply for express service. If you hand in your proof of payment on the day you apply, you can pick up the visa the next day., even if the embassy states it doesn’t operate on those days.
October 2015: 70$ for 7 days turnaround, 200$ for same-day.
September 2015: Getting an Afghan visa in Bishkek is now both easy and quick again. 81$, same-day.
May 2015: Afghan visa from Bishkek is now very difficult to obtain. The consul asks for an invitation approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan – even for tourist visas.
September 2014: 61usd, 3working days, 3month single entry 30days, Chinese passport. 1 photo, form, handshake with consular.
September 2014: Easy same-day procedure, 81$ for New Zealander, 3 months validity, pay at the Pakistan Bank on the Corner of Sovietskaya/Moskovskaya.
July 2013: Afghanistan tourist visa now easily obtainable in the embassy in Bishkek. You go through a very quick interview from an official about the planned itinerary. Just mention the relatively safest destinations such as Mazar, Kabul and Herat and state you are going to fly from one side to the other of the country and you can normally pick it up by the next day.
Cost is 61 USD for all EU nationals to be paid at the Pakistan Development Bank (15min walk from the embassy).
However, upon collecting the visa the staff also claims a very suspicious 10USD “embassy fee” which it claims it has no receipt for to give in return. A British friend who went there the day before me relented and paid up. When I showed up I played the fool and claimed I had no money with me (and that nobody told me about bringing any money upon collecting my passport/visa) and the staff quickly let me go without paying.
Tel: +971 4 3988229, Fax: +971 4 3988441, E-mail: [email protected]
Working Hours: Sunday to Thursday – 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Address: Street 38B, Villa 23, Al Jaffilia Metro Station, Bur Dubai, Behind Dubai Immigration Office
Apply for Visa: 08:00 to 12:00
Visa Collection Time: 13:30 to 16:00
To find the Embassy, take the metro to Al Jafiliya station, and get out at exit 2. Turn right, then go around the Immigration building (you will need to turn left to go around it). You will pass a building with a large ’4′ on it. Once past the car park, road 38B is just in front of you; the Embassy is approximately 200 metres along it on the right, just look for the Afghan flag flying above the building.
You can get the application form at the embassy. You need to show your U.A.E visa. Prepare a copy of the first page of your passport and 1 passport-sized picture. The application fee is 50USD but they won’t accept US dollars, only Dubai currency. Updates collected here.
April 2017: with letter of invitation, 1 day process.
March 2017: letter of invitation needed.
May 2013: 4 hours. Cost was 185 UAE Dirhams for a single entry 30 day tourist visa with a validity of three months. I used an Australian passport. You will need to bring your passport, a photocopy of the photo ID page, one passport photo and a LOI. Passport forms are available once you arrive.
September 2012: Chinese single female got tourist visa same day. Quote:”The officers there are very very nice, just tell them your conditions honestly and I believe u will get the visa.”
Location: take minibus #22 from next to the teachers college on Rudaki. Get off a couple of stops past the traffic circle with a ‘fountain’ that is really metal. It’s across from the German embassy.
June 2015: In Dushanbe they said the price of the visa issued in 1 day is 200usd. And you need support letter from your own embassy when applying visa.
July 2012: no visa issued to women travelers at all, one woman reports.
2011: British traveler got tourist visa for 60$ in 3 days time.
October 2011: American traveler paid $61 for an Afghan visa. Here is his insider tip. Right across from the new Afghan embassy, which is, incidentally, about diagonally across from the German embassy, there is an alley. Go into that alley and you will find a lady behind a desk under an awning of vines. Bring your photo and have your passport. She will do the entire paperwork for you for a few bucks. You will not get that at the embassy itself. I arrived without anything and was sent over there. After that you will be sent to a bank to pay, get a receipt, and return to the embassy. They then will tell you to come back two days later after lunch. Also keep in mind that they are closed Friday afternoon and Saturday and Sunday.
September 2015: Normally applications can only be made in person, but as I live in Zurich and not Geneva they agreed to let me post it, though it had to be sent by registered mail. They told me to expect the visa within about a month from sending it (making me terribly grateful that I dealt with this well in advance). I sent my passport along with the application form, two passport photos (35×45 mm), my bank Statement proving I paid the visa fee (CHF 80), a colour copy of my residence Permit booklet, and a letter from my University stating the Duration and Motive of my stay.
In short, it was the same rules as stated on the embassy’s website, except I did not have to travel to Geneva (which it says you do) and had to send my residence Permit (which is not listed). To my surprise, I got the letter with my passport and visa (single-entry, 30 days) only two weeks (even though they said a month) after sending the application.
March 2012: Apparently, it is still possible to get an Afghan tourist visa in Islamabad.
January 2017: You seem to need a 4-digit invitation code from Afghan MFA after a recommendation from someone living in Afghanistan to get a visa in Istanbul.
November 2016: Very easy. The whole process took me slightly more than 1 hour without an LOI and without any prepared documents. They needed my itinerary, and asked me some security questions.
Opening hours: The consulate in Khorog is open 5 days a week from 9 to 1-2 (“sometimes we close at 1:30, but we definitely won’t be here at 2”). No problem for lone female travelers to get a visa here anymore it seems.
June 2016: New Zealand – $150usd, Australia – $150usd, American – $200usd. Lady said prices have changed this month or last month.. Strictly no Japanese people can get visa in Khorog or maybe Tajikistan. Issued within a few hours went at 10am had by 11.30am. Need passport copy and photo and self penned letter but lady working there will tell you what to write. 30 Days given,
July 2015: It was extremely easy to get a one month visa single entry into Afghanistan, 3-month validity. Met with the consul, talked for a few minutes about my travel plans in Afghanistan, signed a letter stating that I’m fully responsible for my trip in the country, paid $50 at the mentioned bank, and got my visa right away. (French passport).
September 2013: Polish citizen, 100 US$ same day or 50$ 5 days processing.
June 2013: Visas can be processed in 24 hours. Cost is $100 for EU citizens, $200 for US citizens.
April 2013: US Citizen = 200$, UK = 100$. This is the price for 3 day processing. 10$ extra to have it within 10 minutes.
I went over my itinerary with the embassy. I explained how I wanted to go to Mazar and they assured me that the best border crossing would be in Ishkashim to get there. When I arrived the officials told me it was impossible due to the Taliban and fighting in Vorduj. The police/military refused to let us take any mode of transport on the only road out of Ishkashim to Faizabad.
I ended up having to hire a guide and hike 10 hours through a snowy pass onto another road leading to Faizabad. The main road from Ishkashim to Faizabad is closed and has been since Jan 2013. The locals told me a couple showed up in Feb and ended up unable to see the rest of Afghanistan due to this misinformation.
Kuala Lumpur embassy
March 2017: invitation letter needed.
April 2013: The process is very easy. I arrived at 2.30pm, fill up the form at the office and give them all the documents (scanned passport copy, 2 photos, cover letter from employer, and my overland itinerary). The officer, Mr Haider was soooo friendly. He even gave me some contact numbers to call in case I face difficulties while in Afghanistan. The next morning, the visa is ready. RM350 (approx USD112) for a 30 days single entry visa (date on the visa is 3 months, u can enter at any time within the period) at a bank nearby the office, came back to show the officer the receipt, and in 5 minutes, I got back my passport with the visa in it.
September 2015: A LOI from a tour operator is no longer necessary. You can write a letter yourself with your itinerary and reasons for going to Afghanistan.
June 2013: Nowadays the embassy asks for a LOI. It can be from an Afghan tour company.
March 2011: Becky Coles, a master of Central Asia visa planning, got an Afghani tourist visa for 70£, 5 working days processing time. The embassy website says that you need utility bills to prove your UK address, but this is no longer true. A letter from your employer or place of study is now required instead.
March 2012: At the moment it is not possible to get an Afghan tourist visa in Mumbai.
Ottawa embassy, Canada
March 2017: a letter of invitation is required.
2012: Apparently, it is no longer possible to get an Afghan tourist visa in Peshawar.
August 2010: British citizen got a tourist visa for 30$. Processing time: 2 hours.
New Delhi embassy
March 2012: New Delhi does not issue tourist visas for Afghanistan anymore unless the tour operator gets permission.
Address: 1, Batumskaya str., shaykhantakhur district, Tashkent
December 2013: Started issuing tourist visas to foreigners again. From a Taiwanese traveler: travelers need to get the visa for next country after Afghanistan(I didn’t have then(Iran) so I said I could fly to Istanbul with e-visa) or the hotel reservation (how long you book,how long your visa is). I made the latter and paid US$101 for visa. One day process and got visa in the afternoon. No banks involved.
June 2013: Only issues visas to residents of Uzbekistan.
January 2013: Went to the embassy this morning, filled the form and got a little interview with the officials, said I will go to Mazar-e Sharif then Kabul and after this fly home, I told them about a contact in Kabul which I really have. Everything seemed okay but they asked me for “one last document” : EITHER hotels reservations OR a formal letter from my contact in Kabul to certify he really exist, lives in Kabul and know me.
September 2012: 81$, 24 hours processing. Some questions are asked, best to not say anything to adventurous and list a contact. You need a copy of you passport and Uzbek visa, passport photo and 81$.
March 2011: A Danish citizen got a tourist visa for 81$. For directions on the location of the embassy, see his post here.
Updates posted here. Opening hours: approx 8 am – 3 pm (but slightly earlier some days) from Saturday to Wednesday. The embassy is located close to metro station Shahid Beheshti, and across the street is a cafe that fills out the farsi-only language application (for a fee of 100.00 rials, approx $3USD), and gets it done in just a few minutes. Bring a passport photo (they just take a picture of it and you get to keep it).
Bank to pay is Bank Melli on Mirzae Shirazi Street, walking south from Motahari street one block away on the left side), second floor.
October 2016: Interview and blood test needed. Blood test done at Mehrad General Hospital (findable on google maps) a few blocks away on Mir Emad street (cross street 6th alley). Go inside the hospital, up to the 3rd floot, pay 1.200.000 rials (approx $37USD) and they will test you for HIV, HBS Ag, and HCV.
80$ visa fee. 10 days turnaround, but possible in 4 as well. You can pay for a rush service too if you like. Be aware they keep your passport for the entire time, and you cant exchange money (or buy a SIM card) in Tehran without a passport, so make sure you have enough money while waiting!
October 2015: I didn’t need any letter from my embassy. The guy behind the desk was not really friendly and failed to help me. I had to comeback 4 times to show I was determined and then they became helpful. When I first came they asked me to go and register on a website, because the form I printed on the web was not correct. Problem is the website was entirely in Farsi. When I came back to tell them it was not possible to register it did not seem to impact them. I found a friend to help me then came back once again. There they send me to a shop on the other side of the street, where they helped to complete my application. I came back with the printed form, paid 60 euro for a two months visa. They asked me for a medical check-up, but some Iranians bargained for me not to have it.
February 2015: I went to the Afghan embassy in Tehran and got a 60 days visa very easily, without LOI nor any letter from my embassy (Belgium). I paid 40 euros to get it in 3 days, but I could have had it in a few hours for 60 euros, said the very enthusiastic guy behind the desk.
Washington, DC embassy
April 2012: “the Afghan consulate is currently not authorized by the Karzai adminstration to offer tourist visits due to the war. I have learned, however, that that does not mean that tourists visas are absolutely not given. Under certain exceptional circumstances, tourists visas have been given to a handful of US citizens making the trip to Afghanistan. However, the majority of visas authorized are done so exclusively in the context of work. ”
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