How to Get an Ivory Coast Visa Online Before Arrival at Abidjan Airport

How to Get an Ivory Coast Visa Online Before Arrival

This was actually my sixth trip to Africa, yet it is still one of the continents with huge blanks from me. It is the most challenging continent in my opinion to travel. This is due to the logistics, the visa issues, the overland transport and sadly the disease and poverty in some regions. But that will never stop me going back time and again. This time I was heading to the Ivory Coast, locally known as Cote D’Ivoire and formerly known as French Upper Volta and Upper Volta at various points in its history. I toured the sights of Abidjan and Grand Bassam and stayed in the Ibis Hotel Plateau. I first heard of the Ivory Coast in 1991 when they won the African Nations Cup. By 2006, they were finally in the World Cup, inspired by national treasure Didier Drogba. But how do you get a visa?

Arrival in Ivory Coast in 2018

These days it has become easier! Instead of another embassy visit, this time, I tried the eVisa option, which I was shocked even existed or even would work, but I gave it a try. I rarely did eVisas on my travels and was trying to think of other countries where I had done this. Then I realised Sri Lanka was one, Australia also (twice I held working holiday visas for it), New Zealand (my working holiday visa) and more recently Kaliningrad. So I had some experience of it. I have shared my visa tips before for these countries:

Ivory Coast was sure to be trickier, but I gave it a go. Here’s a brief rundown, up to date as of February 2018.

Backpacking in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast

How to Get an Ivory Coast Visa Online
You head to the official website of Snedai who issue the visas. This is the only place to get the visa. Here’s the link: Ivory Coast Evisa

Ivory Coast Evisa Website

The website is written only in French and English, so if you don’t understand either of those languages you’ll need to get someone to help you translate it. I found the English version to be easy to understand, though at times it default switched back to French. I also know a lot of French from my backpacking days in that country and Linda Macklin’s lessons in Bangor, Northern Ireland. French is the main language in the Ivory Coast, with other local languages also used such as Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo. The French invaded though and their language remains the most spoken.

Backpacking in Ivory Coast: Touring the UNESCO Town of Grand Bassam

Backpacking in Ivory Coast: Touring the UNESCO Town of Grand Bassam

Go to the Online Services page and click on E-visa

This is the exact page: https://snedai.com/e-visa/

It tells you that –

“We bring to the attention of visa applicants as the only site officially recognized and approved by the state of Ivory Coast for visa applications is that SNEDAI”.

and also warns that –

“The online application of E-visa does not entitle the visa. Your request can be accepted or rejected by the Authority and there is no refund”.

How to get an Ivory Coast visa online

So in short, there is a risk – you can pay your 73 Euros and not get the visa, so make sure you double check everything and don’t make any mistakes!

What Nationalities Don’t Need a Visa for the Ivory Coast?
Again this is always changing, so check with your embassies. But these nationalities don’t require a visa:
Benin
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic (90 days)
Chad (90 days)
Congo (90 days)
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Liberia
Mali
Mauritania (90 days)
Morocco (90 days)
Niger
Nigeria
Philippines (90 days)
Senegal
Seychelles (90 days)
Sierra Leone
Singapore (90 days)
Togo
Tunisia (90 days)
Despite being Northern Irish, I travel on only a British or an Irish passport at present because my own nationality is not recognised. So I needed a visa. For this visa, I used my British passport. For places like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Argentina I used my Irish passport as it was easier. Here, I don’t see an issue with either but I defaulted to the British one.

Backpacking in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast

The Website itself describes its own visa process as a 3 step system, though I saw it as 5 steps. It was five main steps and very easy. Although Step 1 on their list involved a lot of smaller steps.

Step 1 – Going to the website, clicking on the evisa application and choosing the 73 Euro e-visa option.
Step 2 – Entering your personal information. All simple and easy.
Step 3 – Entering your travel information.
Step 4 – Making the payment.
Step 5 – The Waiting game.

Step 1 (as described on the website)
Pre-enrollment is to record some personal information and to download 3 documents:
1.the identity page of the passport
Take a photo or scan of your passport page. Make it visible, make it readable. Attach it.
2.the booking of airfare
Take a photo or scan of your aeroplane booking. Make it visible, make it readable. Attach it.
3.the invitation letter or certificate of accommodation.
Take a photo or scan of your hotel booking. Make it visible, make it readable. Attach it.
After pre-enrollment, the applicant performs a fee for obtaining the Visa whose duration is 3 months (multiple-input) and are as follows: 73 Euros (including bank charges).
The payment is made with VISA or MASTERCARD .
When the payment is made, the applicant receives an instant mail (accompanied by an attachment on which there is the unique, personal code certificate of payment)

START YOUR VISA APPLICATION BY CLICKING HERE

NB: The case of non pre-enrollment online are exceptional and are the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DST).
Step 2: Receive response DST
The applicant receives an email address in a time of 48h working days a document (contains a bar code) which is the response of the authorities (approved or denied).
Step 3: Enrollment at the airport
The applicant embarked with the document “Pre-enrollment approved” and is presented on arrival at the airport to the “airport Visa” space. It performs its biometric enrollment and visa is printed and delivered immediately. The box E-visa enrollment are available 24h / 24 and 7/7.
NB:
– Enrollment (fingerprinting and photo) is required for each visa application, even if the applicant has already obtained several visas.
– The biometric visa requires the presence of the applicant. Fingerprinting is required for all except for minors under 12 years, but their presence is necessary.

How long in advance do you have to book your visa?

I’d recommend within two weeks of your trip. The visa itself takes 48 hours, so you need to pay for it at least 3 days in advance, allowing that extra day for your actual trip. I actually only did mine 3 days before and that was fine, but leave a bit of time just in case something goes wrong.

Documents Needed to Get an Ivory Coast Visa Online
I needed to submit:

1.The online visa form itself
2.A scan/photo of my passport
3.My flight ticket in and out (I took a screen grab and saved it as a jpeg and png document)
4.My hotel reservation (I took a screen grab and saved it as a jpeg and png document)
5.My payment

And that was it.

My Hotel reservation

After Payment of the Ivory Coast Visa

After I paid for my Ivory Coast visa (online via Visa or Mastercard), I received a confirmation email within an hour to say that I had paid and the payment of 73 Euros was accepted. It came from the no reply address noreply@zetesft.com

Payment has been processed and confirmed

 

When I clicked on that email, it confirmed that I had registered for the visa and was now waiting on the visa to be confirmed. I was still not 100% sure at this stage that I would get the visa. There is no refund if you don’t get the visa, so the payment is a risk.

Confirmation of the Ivory Coast Visa
Within 24 hours, I received a second email confirming that I had the visa. It came with a link to a document (below) which stated – “this document must not be used as a visa”, however printing this document and showing it to officers on arrival is what gets you the actual visa.

 

How to Get an Ivory Coast Visa Online Before Arrival

Confirmation I had the visa

Ahead of my trip, I simply printed all these documents that proved I had the visa and that was it. I was ready to go.

Arrival in the Ivory Coast at Abidjan International Airport
On arrival the procedure was incredibly fast, at Abidjan International Airport. In fact, I landed at 5 a.m. on a flight from Lisboa in Portugal. And by 5.35 a.m I was outside the airport already! You go to the booth that says “E-visa” on arrival. It is on the left hand side of the immigration section and is a small room with around 15 seats and 4 computers. You sit down in a room and are given a number. I was 007, which felt a little odd as it’s JB, James Bond, my initials.

Excellent meal on route to Abidjan, Ivory Coast

I was number 007

All I needed for the visa

They called me up after about 8 minutes, checked my print outs, took my finger and thumb prints and sent me to the second person. This person issued me with the visa which takes up a full page in your passport and includes the photo from your passport on it – you don’t need another photo. I didn’t need an extra photo, or a boarding pass, or my Yellow Fever Certificate.

How to get an Ivory Coast Visa at Abidjan Airport

After that, I went to the immigration counter where they simply took my fingerprints, checked the visa and stamped my passport. It was a valid 90 day tourist visa, with a single entry. The process was easy and the Ivory Coast was such a pleasant country to visit.

Backpacking in the Ivory Coast
I was ready to explore the Ivory Coast, backpacking Abidjan and Grand Bassam. I based myself in the Ibis Hotel in Plateau, Abidjan and used Dayo Williams as a guide. Here are Dayo’s details – a great guide:

Dayo Williams – Dayo African Tours:

https://www.facebook.com/williams.dayo.7
https://www.facebook.com/DayoAfricaTours/

1 Apres Proda, Rue de marche (5,707.18 km)
00225 Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
Highlights info row image
+225 09 28 58 46

Dayo and I at the beach

My Excellent tour guide – Dayo!!

Good luck getting the visa everyone!! If you have any questions regarding purchasing and printing online entrance tickets or the online payment of the proof of payment ahead of this visa, you can send an email to: support@zetesft.com

Safe travels!

Join 15,017 Monthly Readers! If you enjoyed this article and LOVE travel and SAVING money, get e-mail updates from Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel! (It’s Free) 😉 Jonny

7 thoughts on “How to Get an Ivory Coast Visa Online Before Arrival at Abidjan Airport

  • Hi Ray, thanks for the comment and sorry for delayed reply. I don’t check these things much anymore due to my ongoing depression. I have actually done quite a few e-visas online before, including USA, Australia, Sri Lanka and Australia. I’m sure it also won’t be the last. It was a very quick trip, which I
    loved – instead of “days”, it was singular – “day”! I was there for around 29-30 hours I think! My days of backpacking countries for no reason for 20 plus days are gone. There’s no passion in that anymore after what happened to me in 2016 but I hope to do a few more one day country trips, if God spares us. Safe travels. Jonny

  • No worries about the delayed response, Jonny. Wow. Didn’t realize this was almost a two day visit! When reading this post, it sounded like you were here for 3 – 5 days. At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily about how much time you spend in a country that matters, but what you do while you are there and if you’ve personally succeeded at accomplishing what you wanted to get out of these “day trips.”
    Ray recently posted…YouthLink Calgary – A Look Back on the Calgary Police ServicesMy Profile

  • Hi Tony, thanks for the update. I haven’t heard of any issues with it, could be with your browser or the country you are accessing from? I hope you get it sorted and get the visa. Safe travels, Jonny

  • Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately I have been suffering from deep depression and haven’t been answering emails, comments or messages about this blog for months. I barely even remember backpacking countries like this as it has been in deep depression times, if an answer is ever found perhaps my other stories will one day be published. Best wishes and safe travels. Jonny

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