Tourist Visa Extension
Replies: 1 - Last Post: Feb 12, 2013 8:16 AM Last Post By: JakJones
Feb 6, 2013 12:42 PM
Tourist Visa ExtensionSo the answer is "YES", you can get your 1-month single-entry tourist visa renewed for an additional month in Kabul.
Here is how:
1. On an A4 paper, have someone write a simple letter in Dari (or Pashtu I guess) to the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Information & Culture, as if it were written by you saying something like "my name is ____ and I would like to request a one-month extension to my visa so that I may visit ____(insert location such as Herat, Bamyan, etc...). The term used in Dari (and I think Pashtu as well) for the letter is "ariza".
2. Go to the Ministry of Culture in Kabul with the letter, signed and dated by you (remember that government offices are closed on Thursday and Friday, have a lunch break, and are usually closed by 4pm, so probably best to go early in the morning) and go up to the tourism office on the 3rd floor. The woman there will take the letter, read it, write something on it, and then get it signed by the boss. Shouldn't take longer than 10-20 minutes.
3. Next, take the letter and go directly to the Afghan Tourism Department down the road next to the National Gallery (you can walk there in 5 minutes). In addition to the letter you will need a copy of your passport, a copy of your visa, and a passport photo. Always good to have your passport on you as well. They will ask you to fill out a simple form right there and then you should be told that you can come back the next morning to pick up the letter you will need for the passport department. Try to insist that it be ready by 8:30 because you need to make it to the passport department by 9:30 latest and it takes up to 30 minutes to get there.
4. The next morning you go back at 8:30 to the Tourism Department, pay 500 Afs (they give you a receipt) and they give you the letter that you need.
5. You now take the letter to the Passport Office ("riyasat-e-passport) out in Karte Se (3). Remember, you need to be there by 9:30 or else they might not let you in. Everyone out there knows where it is, but if you're lost, take the first right on Darulaman Road after Ariana TV (second-to-last street before the Parliament blockade) and it's the third left and all the way down. There are always a ton of people there, so you can't miss it. To get to the foreigners visa section ("visa-e-khariji") you get to the end of the street and turn left and pass the checkpoint body search on the left before following the others into the gate on the right side of the street. You will have to go to the far right end of the compound to get to the bench outside the door of the foreign visa section. There will probably be a line, in which case you need to wait (they usually let 5 people in at a time), but if not, you just go up the stairs into the room right in front of the stairs where the "mudir" sits. He will look at the letter you have, ask to see your passport to check the visa expiration (because if your visa has expired you will have to pay a fine), then give you the visa form and a slip, which you will need to take to the central bank to pay the visa fee ($50).
6. On the same day (preferably before lunch time) you can go over to the Central Bank "De Afghanistan Bank" (across the street from the Serena, next to the Ministry of Finance) and pay the $50 by presenting the slip. You can do so at the very last counter in the back room of the main Central Bank building. You will need to leave a piece of ID at the door, but they will ask to see another piece of ID when you make the payment, so you might want to have another copy of your passport on you. Once you pay the $50 you will get a pink receipt. You will need this the next day when you go to the passport office bright and early.
7. Go to the Passport Office the next morning and be there at 7:30 with your pink receipt from the Central Bank, the letter from the Tourism Department, the visa form filled out with a passport photo stuck to it, your passport, and a copy of your main passport page and the visa make sure that these two have been photocopied on the same page and on the same side. You won't have to wait in line this time, just go straight into the same building, but don't go upstairs this time, just straight into the room in front of the door and hand in the above-mentioned documents. They will tell you to come back at 2 to pick up your passport.
8. At 2 pm on the same day, come back to the Passport Office, possibly stand in line, and head up the stairs to the same office in front of the stairs to pick up your passport with the new one-month visa in it. Congratulations!
In all, if all goes well, the whole process can take just 3 days. I am not sure what part of the process you need to be present for and which part you can send someone on your behalf, but I wasn't going to risk it and went everywhere myself. I'm sure someone else can give more information about this at some point...
Enjoy your stay in Afghanistan!
Feb 12, 2013 8:16 AM
1That is pretty much how I have done it in the past. It is a massive pain in the butt because at either the ATO or at the ministry the right person who needs to sign can be absent. Once you have the letter from the ATO the passport and bank are fairly efficient in my experience. It took me a week last year so 3 days beats me.
Just to add that the Ministry of Information and culture is next to the Spinzar Hotel.
Hope your second month is fun...JJ
(0 star Hotel)
From US$25.83 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$100.20 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$93.81 per night