Making a documentary in Khartoum: tourist or business visa?
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Dec 3, 2012 2:29 PM Last Post By: Masanga
Nov 22, 2012 2:45 PM
Making a documentary in Khartoum: tourist or business visa?Good day/night to all of you,
I'm a documentary filmmaker and together with a friend of mine we're asked to make a short portrait about a woman who lives in Khartoum.
This portrait is part of a documentary about women who are defending women's rights worldwide.
The shooting will take place in Khartoum (4 to 5 days).
Before shooting, I'm planning to make a short trip in Sudan for about 6 to 7 days.
So now I'm wondering what kind of visa I should apply for.
A business visa sounds most logical, but I'm afraid it takes weeks before the business partners in Sudan have approval from the Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs and can send it to our embassy in Belgium.
Moreover, I read in a book by a Dutch journalist that traveling with a tourist visa makes it more easy, you get less questions from police etc..
On the other hand: is it a good plan to enter Sudan with video equipment and a tourist visa? I don't know if they would check my stuff and if I am allowed to bring lots of video equipment without a business visa..
The big problem is: we are planning to leave for Sudan in about 4 weeks, which makes the time schedule very very tight.
Somebody who has useful information about this?
Oh and by the way.. I read in some previous topics on this forum a confirmation of a hotel in Khartoum is enough as a "letter of invitation", needed to obtain a tourist visa. Can somebody confirm this? Because I'm not planning to travel with a travel agency in Sudan...
Thanks a lot for your help!
Nov 22, 2012 11:30 PM
1As you probably already found out when talking to your local contacts who arrange for the filming,. sudan is not exactly one of the save havens of media freedom. Professional photographers and videographers usually have the kind of equipment that a) is hard to overlook at immigration/customs and b) has to be declared in many countries anyway when enterin. Plus, the filming itself can easily raise attention and questions. Entering the country with a tourist visum when you go there for a job is not a good idea. It can also bring trouble to your local partners/fixers. It´s relatively easy to fly beyond the radar with a tourist visum if you are only writing, traveling with notebook etc. or if you can be declared as "technical staff" by some NGO. with the whole equipment you carry around as a filmmaker, it´s not advisable.
Nov 23, 2012 2:42 AM
Thanks for your quick reply.
I'm afraid I share your concerns.
Do you think if we keep it low profile and only take a Canon DSLR Camera and a tripod, we can go with a tourist visa?
The Canon shouldn't be the problem, it's the tripod that may raise questions at customs.
(oh and by the way, we won't film on the streets.. it's just some interviews at her office and filming a day in her life at home and work).
Nov 23, 2012 2:27 PM
3no outdoor filming will probably help. and a tripod is not all that uncommon with "amateurs" either. I´d recommend you try to have an open work with the NGO/the woman you interview. Thing is, it might well happen that you can get in and out with a tourist visum and get everything done before anyone gets attentive (with normal police, religious police and secret police in Sudan, there is just a big number of potential overattentive eyes....), so you may be out of the country when things get a bit hot. But the people of the NGO,. or the women you interview, will still be there and possibly have to face the consequences of being involved in "illegal" media activities. Make sure they are okay with it or whether they feel more confident about their safety by going the official way obtaining accreditation etc.
Nov 25, 2012 1:41 AM
Nov 30, 2012 5:44 AM
5Why not enter without the tripod and purchase one in Khartoum (I assume you should find one somewhere).
Dec 3, 2012 2:29 PM
(5 star Hotel)
From US$221.50 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$26.83 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$208.56 per night