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:

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:
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic (90 days)
Chad (90 days)
Congo (90 days)
Mauritania (90 days)
Morocco (90 days)
Philippines (90 days)
Seychelles (90 days)
Sierra Leone
Singapore (90 days)
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)


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.
– 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 [email protected]

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:

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: [email protected]

Safe travels!

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31 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

  • Hello Jonny,
    I hope u find peace wherever u are.
    My name is Elizabeth from Nigeria. My client, a Cameroonian wants to travel to ivory coast but I don’t know how to go abt it until I read ur tips. Thanks for sharing it. Let me try and see how I can go about it. Once again thanks. I hope u seek the help u need for ur depression.

  • hi!,I like your writing so a lot! percentage we keep up
    a correspondence more about your post on AOL? I require an expert in this
    space to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look
    ahead to peer you.

  • Hi, Jonny. Thanks for the info on the visa, clarified a lot of things for me. As South African I’m used to travelling Africa visa free however its the first time I’ve needed one, and the post helped a lot.

    Sorry to hear about your depression, its a good thing that you aren’t hiding it. I hope you have being seeing a professional person to talk with and help you manage and deal with it so that you can get back to your normal self.

    Once more thanks for the info and get better soon man. Cheers!!

  • Great article. I applied yesterday and got the same Registration Receipt document you showed in your article (although I didn’t get it by email. It was generated immediately after I submitted payment). Are you saying that this is the document that you have to show when you arrive? I am seeing on other sites, that they say that an additional document is usually sent by email which actually confirms that your visa is either accepted or rejected.

  • Hi Jonny–Thanks for the excellent, well detailed information!

    I have one question: can I specify a date of entry for the three-month visa to begin, or is the visa activated when I pay online and then expires three months later?

    Stay well,

  • Hi there Jonny !
    Your article was very straight forward and full of important steps and tips. I’m returning to my own country after 14 years and i needed this insight.
    I really appreciate your contribution to the success of other’s. You are the best !

  • Hey Jonny,

    I am planning on visiting some friends in Ivory Coast this summer and I was fortunate to come across your website. I read your article about your trip to Ivory Coast which was insightful. I have never been to Ivory Coast but I have been to Togo where I also plan to stop during my trip. I have been working on the visa requirements for Ivory Coast and I have some worries I was hoping an experienced traveler such as yourself could help resolve. First, what I fear is a scenario in which my visa request is rejected for whatever reason, after I have purchased an expensive plane ticket. My question to you is: Did you personally buy your ticket before applying for your visa to Ivory Coast or is there an acceptable way to show a booking without paying for the ticket? Also, what would likely cause a visa application to be rejected? Has this ever happened to you? Is this even something I should be concerned about in your opinion?

    Second, the most cost-effective option for my travel would be a multi-city ticket: USA to Ivory Coast, Togo to USA. To get to Togo I would purchase a 1-way flight from Ivory Coast to Togo. Do you think this arrangement could confuse those reviewing my Ivory Coast visa application and risk rejection?

    Would it be better to buy a round trip ticket USA-Abijan for purposes of the Visa application and then buy a second round trip ticket Abijan-Lome while I am there?

    I appreciate any advice you can give me.



  • Hi Jonny, I hope you’re in a better place these days. Thanks for sharing your e-visa experience. It helped me during the process of mine just yesterday. I, however, am considering getting my yellow fever shot when I arrive at the airport in the Ivory Coast. Do you have any opinion on whether it’s a good or bad idea?

  • Hi Carol, thanks for the comment. I was there in January 2018 but I had my Yellow Fever vaccine in advance. Please try and get it in advance just in case they refuse you entry. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Jonny, I’m confused about how long you can stay in the country with the e-visa because it says valid for 3 months but I’m reading in several websites that you can stay maximum 30 days. Also I wanted to ask you if you know how to renew the visa from there to stay longer. Thank you 🙂

  • I would like to travelling Abidjan next year ie.2020, but need guide for must taken “Yellow fever certificate” for Pakistan nationals???

  • Hi Sihle, thanks for the comment. I have been in severe depression for a few years so apologies for the late response. I hipe Ivory Coast was a good trip for you. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Dear Dillon, thanks for the comment and apologies for the delay. I have been suffering from severe depression the last few years. The document I had to show back in those days was the proof that my visa had been confirmed. Wait for the confirmation first and check with your embassy if you have any issues. Enjoy Ivory Coast. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Hellen, thanks for the comment about Abidjan. Sorry for the late response. Sadly I have been suffering from depression the last few years and wasn’t replying or checking comments. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Mah, thanks for the comment and sorry for the delay – I have been suffering from deep depression the last few years and haven’t been checking emails. I hope you had a safe trip to the Ivory Coast. Stay safe. Jonny

  • Hi Frank. Thanks for the comment. Apologies for the delay. I have been going through depression and only checking through my old comments and messages now. I think mine started when it was activated, but I was going there very soon after that anyway so it wasn’t a big issue for me. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Ivory Coast. Stay safe. Jonny

  • Hi Ben, Thanks for the comment and sorry for the delay. I have been going through deep depression caused by a nasty liar. On that trip, I organised the flights, hotel in advance. I think I needed it for the visa. You could make the 24 hour booking I guess without paying and then cancel it after applaying for the visa, but I don’t know the benefit of doing that if you were not sure of getting the visa. The worst scenario is you get rejected online and try again, or get rejected on arrival. But as I recall Togo, Benin and Ivory Coast were easy visas to get. I travelled on an irish passport and it was easy for the hat-trick, so if you are the same, then it will hopefully be fine. However, things might also have changed now after the COVID-19 situation. I hope you get sorted and visit all those places as it is worth the trip! Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Maria, Thanks for the message and apologies for the long delay. I have been suffering from depression and didn’t check my comments or emails as much. I was there in 2018 so things might have changed. At that time I think it was 30 days visa and this could be extended once in the country. Good luck with your trip. Jonny

  • Hi Shahid, Thanks for the comment and for checking my website. Apologies for the delay in response. Unfortunately I have been suffering from long-term depression caused by a liar and I wasn’t checking all comments and messages or replying. I hope you enjoyed my article on Abidjan and that you get the Yellow Fever Certificate and the Visa. Stay safe. Jonny

  • Dear Jonny Blar; I pray you that you said in suffering from long. May God bless you with good health soon.

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