Puntland / Somalia Visas
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jan 6, 2012 4:10 AM Last Post By: africanexplorer
Dec 31, 2011 12:27 PM
Puntland / Somalia VisasA couple of questions regarding Visas for Puntland and Somalia. I've been told by my Somali friends in Addis Ababa that Somalis with foreign passports can get entry visas on arrival at Mogadishu, Garowe and Bossaso airports. What they are less sure about is if a 'total foreigner' can do the same.
Since I'm not Somali in any way (maybe a little in heart!, I just love the poetry!),.. can i therefore...?
1. Can get a visa on arrival at Mogadishu, Garowe or Bossaso?
2. Can I apply for a Puntland Visa in Addis Ababa? Is a Visa for Somalia Republic valid for Puntland, in any case?
3. Can I get a visa in Laas Caanood (Somaliland Border) into Puntland?
Since I'll be in Nairobi at one point, ...
4. Can I get a visa for Puntland or Somalia in Nairobi?
5. Can I get a Puntland or Somalia visa in Djibouti?
Thanx a lot!
Jan 3, 2012 1:19 AM
1Somaliland, Puntland and South Somalia apply completely different rules. Somaliland declared independance and its border with Puntland is a conflict zone, forget about crossing it. The rules applied in Puntland and South Somalia can differ from one airport to another, depending on the airport official you meet.
If you're not Somali, chances are that you will not be allowed to unboard the plane upon landing in Mogadishu, Garowe or Bossaso. Kidnapping is a thriving business around all three cities, and target any foreigner, not only Westerners. Unless you can name an organization that is taking charge of you and comes to pick you at the airport with an armed escort, I doubt you will be allowed to leave the airport. The last thing local authorities want is another kidnapping.
Somaliland is accessible so I'd suggest you go there. Hargeisa city is rather safe, but I'd not recommend travelling outside the city on your own, in any case you'll need an armed escort. I'd not advise anyone to go there without the support of an international organization that monitors security hour after hour and can help secure your release in case something happens.
Jan 4, 2012 5:12 PM
21. You can get an entry stamp on arrival at each of the three airports. But If you`re coming from a country where there is a functioning Somali embassy, then you`re advised to apply for a visa (Somali Republic) in that country, even if it`s not your country of residence. A visa for Somali republic is valid for all Somalia minus the North-Western region aka SL. You might be asked for an entry fee in addition to your visa by a corrupt immigration officer at some airports within Puntland administration, but you can insist not paying for it.
2. Yes, and again yes, though crazy. If you want you can apply for a visa for every city and town in the country. No problem, there are individuals who are willing to stamp your passport with individual cities and towns entries.
3. Yes. But the border is not in lasanod.
Everybody, no matter who you`re, will be allowed to leave the plane and allowed to proceed through the immigration service. If at the immigration point they find out that you`re not a Somali origin, then they will friendly ask you where you`re going or if you know someone in the city – this is not a procedure, but a mere matter of curiosity. Security services at the airports might advise you to take the next flight to go back where you came from – this is just an advice and not a ruling.
One thing though, even Somalis do not just land in and enter the cities – there is always someone waiting for them at the airport and help them during their stay in the country.
There is no currently such thriving kidnapping business in Somalia, as often entertained by the previous poster, though I do not deny that the whole country is not as safe as any ordinary tourist wished. He/she seems to be confusing inland kidnapping with piracy in the high seas. On the other hand, murders continue to take place almost everywhere in Somalia, including the self-declared enclave.But these target only locally known figures.
Are your feet really itching to travel to Mogadishu, being an Ethiopian origin? I heavily doubt.
My personal opinion for people who wish to visit Somalia! I do not encourage anyone to travel to Somalia at present.
Jan 5, 2012 1:09 AM
3Thanks for the answers!
No i'd probably give Mogadishu a rest for now, but i do have pretty good contacts for Bossasso and Garowe, despite the huge security issues i'd be going with a substantial group of Somali expats, who just were not sure what the deal would be for a non-Somali in terms of visa on arrival at airport. The other questions were more out of curiosity...
Last time i was in Laas Canood it was the border, and it was most definitely an unpleasant crummy little town, very edgy. Then again, they've been going at it from Somaliland and Puntland for years, each acusing the other of either "colonialism" (Somaliland, as it claims it due to British maps) or "clanism" (Puntland, as the main clan is common to Galcayo, etc). Anyway, i never bothered to check if there was a border post at all, and the people there just shrugged the whole issue with such Somali coolness it was not clear (they're dominant point of view seemed to be that both Somaliland and Puntland were a hoax, that as far as they new it was Somalia and if you wanted to drive up to Mogadishu and back you were welcome (as a Somali), which is what many trucks seemed to be doing... I think the most bizarre image i'll take of Laas Canood is finding two lonely chinese telecom workers (straw hat and cigarette, wondering as if in pleasant-ville) and some more dodgy looking Indian (pakistani?) traders...
all the best
Jan 5, 2012 1:15 AM
4Bossaso and Garowe are dangerous for Westerners, there are militia with heavy weaponry whose main source of income is kidnapping. Are sure your Somali friends can defend you if 20 armed guys come to get you?
The only place where there is some kind of stability is Somaliland.
Jan 5, 2012 2:40 PM
5they're dominant point of view seemed to be that both Somaliland and Puntland were a hoax, that as far as they new it was Somalia and if you wanted to drive up to Mogadishu and back you were welcome (as a Somali....
That`s the common view among Somalis wherever they are – the Balkanisation of Somalia is not a reality, but rather an entertainment fuelled by a number of greedy individuals who view this cynical option as their only way to flourish both in terms of gaining power and building a fortress of unlawful wealth at the expense of the poor and the mal-oriented. You shouldn`t have any problem whatsoever, since you`re travelling with Somali expats.
I guess Catw has spent some time in “Somaliland” working for an international organisation and since just kept reading their news outlets. I might be wrong in my guess, but he doesn`t really know much about this country. If you rely on such news, then let me tell you this: The UN representation for Somalia is one of the main culprits who benefit from the protracted chaos in Somali – this is obviously an open secret. They keep exaggerating the situation in Somalia and always regard any hope that arises with disapproval, dismay, and scepticism in an effort to keep their cash flowing in the name of Somalia. Who occupies the best bungalows, offices, restaurants, nightclubs, leisure centres in Nairobi? UN workers for Somalia! Of course this is not the UN policy, but a famous strategy often employed by country and regional level of the UN!
Neither Bossaso nor Garowe is dangerous. As roydaved said, they`re peaceful and puzzling commercial centres. No single kidnapping, Western or Non-Western, has ever taken place in Bossaso or Garowe. Again, there is no a single militia in these cities. A so-called reconciliation conference, organised by the UN and attended many Western and Non-Western observers, among others, was held in Garowe last week, and nothing wrong had happened, apart from the outcome being judged by Somalis, minus those who were involved in the conference, unsatisfactory.
You can talk to us about how many unmanned aerial vehicles the US sends over Somalia on weekly basis as I`m clueless on this, but not on what`s happing on the ground.
Jan 6, 2012 2:25 AM
6"No single kidnapping, Western or Non-Western, has ever taken place in Bossaso or Garowe."
Really?. Several Westerners were kidnapped and held for ransoms for months in Bossaso. As for Garowe, there was an assasination attempt carried out against Westerners right in the middle of the "peaceful" city during daytime. You need to update your knowledge of these places. They may be safe for Somali people, who enjoy the protection of their clan, they're not safe for Westerners.
Those who write that Somali cities are "peaceful" and "safe" are delusionnal.The UN conference there was held under the protection of heavily armed guards, with a plane ready to evacuate everyone if needed - not the kind of protection a tourist can afford.
Somalia is a mere fiction that had long ceased to exist. Somaliland declared independance years ago and has been ruled as a completely independant state for the past 20 years, with success. The only form of authority in Puntland is the regional governement. South Somalia is ruled by different set of militias with the Mogadishu-based "official" government not even able to control the street in its own capital.
As for your criticism of the UN in Somalia, I could not agree more.
Jan 6, 2012 4:10 AM
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