How to get a Mauritania Visa On Arrival At Noukachott International Airport

 

How to get a Mauritania Visa On Arrival At Noukachott International Airport

How to get a Mauritania Visa On Arrival At Noukachott International Airport

My arrival into Mauritania in July 2022 was a completely spontaneous accident, it was another completely wacaday journey for me. I was supposed to be in Poland. But my lifestyle has never been predictable or obvious. Here I was in The Sahara Desert again. This defied belief yet one more time, and proof that life is never simple in my world.

“I can’t sleep because the world won’t wait” – Noel Gallagher.

Mauritania away

Mauritania away

This was yet another crazy full circle for me because in May 2016 on my Secret Senegal tour I had already “been” in Mauritania. That remained the only country I was officially in that I never counted as backpacking it. You see, I had an hour in Noukachott International Airport as a stopover on that trip, though I never left the aeroplane. For prosterity here is a photo of me actually in Mauritania in 2016.

Stopover in Nouakchott, Mauritania: One of the Few Places I've Been To But Never Seen

Stopover in Nouakchott, Mauritania: Back in 2016

Stopover in Nouakchott, Mauritania: Back in 2016

Stopover in Nouakchott, Mauritania: Back in 2016

Now in July 2022, fast forwarding 6 years and 2 months later, I was here for real and ended up backpacking through Nouakchott, Nouadhibou, Choum, Atar, Akjoujit, Adrar and Bou Lanouar. How I ended up here was absolutely ridiculous.

Arrival in Nouakchott, Mauritania: This time for real in 2022

Arrival in Nouakchott, Mauritania: This time for real in 2022

My Flight Into Mauritania

Back in 2016, my flight in was Istanbul to Nouakchott. That was a regular flight with Turkish Airlines, which stopped in Nouakchott and then connected to Dakar in Senegal.

Arrival in Dakar in 2016

Here in 2022, more crazy stuff happened. My flight in was cancelled the day before the flight. Cancelled completely. I was supposed to fly direct from Gran Canaria in The Canary Islands 🇮🇨 to Nouakchott! I was supposed to be on the 21:40 flight, arriving in Mauritania at 22.30, a short 50 minute flight, makes sense.

This was SUPPOSED to be my route from Canary Islands, Spain to Nouakchott, Mauritania

This was SUPPOSED to be my route from Canary Islands, Spain to Nouakchott, Mauritania

So that above image was my supposed flight, until I received the below email to say that it was cancelled completely…

My flight was cancelled completely

My flight was cancelled completely

Despite the fact that the Canary Islands are nice, and sentimental for me, I now had to either book an emergency flight into Mauritania, or cancel the plans I had made with a tour company there and forget about the trip. I’m too determined. I don’t give up.

Backpacking In The Canary Islands: Backpacking in Puerto Del Rosario, Fuerteventura

I was sitting by the beach in Puerto del Rosario, capital city of Fuerteventura the day before my supposed flight into Mauritania. Luckily, I found a WiFi bar there called El Mirador.

Backpacking In The Canary Isles: Pizza at El Mirador in Puerto Del Rosario, Fuerteventura

I spent two hours in here at El Mirador, on pizza and beer looking for another flight option. Ridiculously the cheapest and easiest one I found was via Casablanca in Morocco. Casablanca is further north of Mauritania than The Canary Islands!! It would also mean that I would be in Casablanca four times, having once backpacked its sights on Christmas Day. So I booked this new double flight. It just meant I’d arrive 3 hours later, in essence cutting a 4 day trip into a 3 day trip.

The new flights I booked

The new flights I booked

And then after all that, Air Mauritania emailed to say that my original flight was NOT cancelled and was back on with a new time. Dear Lord, I couldn’t believe it. I now had TWO flights into Mauritania at almost the same time on the same night. And they did that on a What’s App message!! It was ridiculous – they were using 4 different methods of communication and I now had two flights in…at least I knew I was going to Mauritania.

Now they tell me my flight was rescheduled!

Flying Into Mauritania

So after all that crazy halliballoo, I boarded my flight to Mauritania from Casablanca in Morocco to land in the early hours of the morning – just about 3-4 hours later than originally intended. I hadn’t sorted my visa, but I had read you could get a Mauritania Visa on arrival on a Northern Irish passport. The flight took around 2 hours and food was served.

Boarding my flight into Nouakchott, Mauritania from Casablanca, Morocco

Boarding my flight into Nouakchott, Mauritania from Casablanca, Morocco

Food on the flight into Mauritania

Screen on the flight into Mauritania

Legroom loyal on the flight into Mauritania

Boarding pass for the flight into Mauritania

Screen on the flight into Mauritania

Visa On Arrival Information for Mauritania

There are only a select few countries which DO NOT need a visa to visit Mauritania. As of August 2022, citizens of the following 8 countries can visit Mauritania without a visa for up to 90 days:

  •  Algeria
  •  Côte d’Ivoire
  •  Gambia
  •  Libya
  •  Mali
  •  Niger
  •  Senegal
  •  Tunisia

I read that I could get a visa on arrival and as of August 2022, all other nationalities also can, it appears. It doesn’t mention that Israel are exempt, however interestingly Italians who have a diplomatic passport still need a visa. All other diplomats are exempt.

You must pay in cash for the visa. It’s either 55 Euros or 55 US Dollars. Both are okay but nothing else is. Sometimes, the visa issuing process at the border can take several hours. Please note that the Mauritanian Embassy in London does not issue visas. You land, are taken to immigration and here there are two queues. Queue one is for residents/those who already have a visa or those who simply don’t need a visa.

Arrival into Nouakchott, Mauritania

Arrival into Nouakchott, Mauritania

Queue Two is for those needing a visa, like me. The queue was long but I joined. I filled the immigration and visa forms while I waited in the queue. Filling them in took me two minutes. The queue took about 35 minutes. I met a lady from Chile and her daughter plus a gentleman from Spain and then I was ushered into a booth. The visa forms can be in Arabic, French or English.

Visa forms for a Mauritania Visa at Nouakchott Airport

Visa forms for a Mauritania Visa at Nouakchott Airport

Getting The Mauritania Visa On Arrival

You pay the money – cash only in Euros (55) or US Dollars (60). You get your photo taken and that is the photo that appears on the visa. You also get all 8 fingerprints and 2 thumbprints taken. It’s a smooth and easy process. The border agent then prints the visa and places it in your passport. Then you take your immigration form, passport with visa to the border control. They asked me about purpose of my trip and where I will stay. Just tell them you are a tourist, give the hotel name (for the first night) and that’s it.

Voila – you are now in Mauritania!

Voila – you are now in Mauritania!

You get stamped on entry into Mauritania and voila! The visa is valid for thirty days – mine was on my Northern Irish passport.

Voila – you are now in Mauritania!

Voila – you are now in Mauritania!

Voila – you are now in Mauritania!

How to get a Mauritania Visa On Arrival At Noukachott International Airport

How to get a Mauritania Visa On Arrival At Noukachott International Airport

In Mauritania I backpacked through Nouakchott, Nouadhibou, Choum, Atar, Akjoujit, Adrar and Bou Lanouar. I took the famous railway there. It’s the world’s longest train and it runs from the Sahara Desert to the Atlantic Ocean carrying iron ore. The country felt very very welcoming and safe. It was much nicer to me than Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Morocco, The Gambia and Western Sahara!

Riding the worlds longest train the iron ore train in Mauritania Choum to Nouadihbou

Riding the world’s longest train – the iron ore train in Mauritania Choum to Nouadihbou

Here are a few videos of my trip to Mauritania:

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