Visa & Passport
Sudanese travel visas are expensive and difficult to acquire for some nationalities in some countries or for people with an Israeli stamp in their passport. It is advisable to obtain a Sudanese visa in your home country if possible.
From Egypt: Cairo is one of the easiest places to get one (usually a couple of hours after application), although for a lot of nationalities it costs USD100 (payment is now possible in Egyptian pounds). You will almost definitely need a letter of invitation/introduction from your embassy, and the time this takes varies from embassy to embassy. The British Embassy charges 450 Egyptian pounds (GBP45) for theirs and is situated only 200 m from the Sudanese one. Note that the Canadian embassy does not issue these letters, but that the Sudanese embassy in Cairo will give visas to Canadians without the letter. This will present problems within Sudan when trying to obtain permits or renew visas, as these can only be obtained with a letter from the Canadian embassy in Khartoum which the embassy will not at this time provide. It is possible to obtain a sponsorship for the visa from the Cairo embassy and skip the letter from your own embassy, though this depends on who you are dealing with at the embassy.
From Ethiopia - getting a visa from the Sudanese Embassy in Addis Ababa is extremely unpredictable, although it is cheaper (around USD60). Your name is first sent to Khartoum merely for approval. An official has stated, "It could take two weeks, it could take two months." Once your name has been approved, the visa itself only takes a couple of days. Britons and Americans are generally given more of a run around, but no nationality is guaranteed swift receipt of a visa. Expect to wait a minimum of two weeks for approval. If your trip continues from Sudan to Egypt and you already have your Egyptian visa you may be given a one-week transit visa for Sudan in only a day, which can be extended in Khartoum (at a hefty cost, though). The British Embassy in Addis Ababa charges a steep 740 birr (over GBP40) for their letter of invitation/introduction.
Possibly out of date information: From Kenya - as in Addis Ababa, the Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi sends your name to Khartoum for approval. The time it takes is similarly ambiguous, although the embassy is far more professional and efficiently-run than Addis Ababa's.
From Kenya - visa applications are submitted between 10am and 12pm and visa collected next day 15:00-15:50. Price is 5,000 Kenyan shillings (KES) (USD50). Letter of support for application can be obtained from own embassy (e.g. British Embassy, charges KES8,200, turnaround time depends on availability of the Consul who needs to sign the letter). Sudanese Embassy is located in Kabarnet Road, off Ngong Road (10 minutes walk from Wildebeest Campsite accommodation in Kibera Road, and near Prestige Shopping Plaza). Note that google, visa hq etc. show the old address (Minet ICDC building), which is not correct. Generally the experience at the Nairobi Sudanese Embassy is less confusing than in Egypt (with its jostling queues at three anonymous but different windows) however as at January 2010 the staff member dealing with the public is extremely unprofessional (even suggests putting false information).
Hours-long waits for customs clearance are not unheard of, and landing in Khartoum can be tricky. Entering or exiting by land usually goes smoothly. Alcohol is forbidden in Sudan, and attempting to import it could bring strict penalties.
Permits and other legal requirements
- Registration is obligatory within 3 days of arrival. It costs SDG110 and if in Khartoum it could take you a full day. Alternately many hotels will complete the registration on your behalf. Registration is also possible in Wadi Halfa, and shouldn't take more than an hour. Here, you may be approached (particularly if you're in a group) by an English-speaking man who will offer to take your passports and do everything while you wait outside. This is easier than doing it yourself (it is a ping pong procedure between offices/counters/desks etc.) but you'll find the fee he's added to each person's registration cost is 2 to 3 US dollars. It's not really that difficult. Do not be tempted to skip registration, as it is very likely to cause problems when you leave the country - you might not be allowed to board your flight!
Departing from the Khartoum airport, at passport control counter after you've paid your departure tax, and checked in with the airline, you will be turned back. There is a visa office in the same room who will require payment and a passport picture. With the proper amount of money in Sudanese Pounds, and a passport this took approximately 30 minutes.
- Visitors are technically required to obtain a permit for photography of any kind. Apply at the government office near the British Council. Passport-sized photos are needed and the permit makes a nice souvenir. The permit will stipulate where you can or cannot take photos.