Benin tourist and business visa
Neighboring Togo and Ghana, this West-African country is often recognized for its bronzes or the Voodoo religion, but it is way more than just that. Many people travel there for the spectacular Penjari National Park for safari, or to learn more about the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on the Route des Enclaves (The Slave Route). Or to visit Ganvie - a more than 400 years old stilt village where houses are built above water, and currently house around 40 000 inhabitants. Benin is full of the unexpected, and it promises an unforgettable experience if you decide to go there. However, before you actually travel to Benin you will need to make sure that you meet all the requirements, one of them being a valid visa.
However it is not a coincidence that you stumbled upon this article about Benin visa policy - you might have been curious already. You might have asked - do I need a visa for Benin? And what are the Benin visa requirements if I apply for a tourist or a business visa? Here I will give you answers to these and many more questions. Besides the differences among the above-mentioned visa types, you will hear about Benin visa fees, how to apply for Benin visa as well as other details that will make the preparation for this exciting trip easier. Let’s grab the bull by its horns and see if you’re even required to make a Benin visa application!
Which are Benin visa free countries?
The list of Benin visa free countries is pretty straightforward. If you ask me, do I need a visa for Benin? Then I will answer - it depends on your nationality. Nationals of African countries don’t need a visa to travel to Benin, but everyone else does. It is that simple!
What else should I know about the Benin visa policy?
There are not too many types of visas in their immigration legislation. Basically, the transit, the resident, the courtesy visa, and the two types you are interested in: tourist and business visas. Not to mess with your head I will elaborate more only on the latter two. The difference between these two is mostly in the purpose of the trip. If you want to do sightseeing and enjoy your time in Benin leisurely then you might be granted a tourist visa that is valid either 30 days or 8 days (special tourist visa).
Business visas, on the other hand, are issued to foreigners who regularly come to Benin to carry out business/economic activities. The biggest difference in the visa itself is the length of validity. Business visas can be valid for either 3 or 6 months and can permit multiple entries to the country if necessary, too. And then there are a few slight differences in the required documents that will need to be prepared to have a valid application for either type. More on that in the following paragraph.
What are the differences in Benin visa requirements for tourism and business travel?
Okay, let’s start with a brief description of the common documents that either type will require. Besides a duly filled Benin visa application form, you will need to submit also a bunch of papers that prove your identity, the details of the travel as well as some health aspects. A standard application will consist of:
• A passport that is valid for at least 6 months after returning date to your country, as well as a copy of the main page of it;
• A recent passport-style photo;
• Travel itinerary - flight ticket reservation and proof of booked accommodation;
• Most applicants will require a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate.
And now the differences between both types of applications. Actually, the sources mention just one. If you apply for a tourist visa, then an invitation letter is not a requirement. Nonetheless, if you are applying for a business visa, then you will be required to provide an invitation from a partner organization to prove your business intentions in the country.
Generally, the list of documents is not too long, but keep in mind that the officers might always ask you for additional documents or proof of your travel intentions. Which, if you are filling the application truthfully, should not cause any type of concern to you. Just be transparent, and everything should be fine.
How to apply for Benin visa?
The answer to this question is pretty simple. In most cases, the most convenient way will be applying for an e-Visa, as it will allow faster processing time and no need to travel to the embassy or consulate with your bunch of documents. The only situation when you would still need to go to Benin embassy anyhow would be in case you don’t have a credit card to pay the fees online, or you need to apply for a visa that is valid longer than 3 calendar months.
And if you still need to do it in person (especially if you are applying for other types of visas, not transit, tourism, or business) then you will go through the usual procedure. Make an appointment in the closest embassy or reach out to them to figure out ways to send the documents over the mail. Fill in the application form, gather all the necessary documents, and hand that all in. And in a few days, you will get your answer about a visa to Benin.
How much does a Benin visa cost?
Let’s talk about Benin visa fees. They depend on the type you want to obtain, as well as the place where you make your application and your nationality, too. On average, the tourist visa will cost you 80 EUR, the special tourist visa 16 EUR, and the business visa either 90 or 120 EUR, depending on your needs. The cheaper one will go with an application for a 3-month visa, but the more expensive one - for a 6-month visa. E-visas, on the other hand, will cost you from 50 to 100 EUR, depending on the length of validity of the visa you are applying for.
What is the processing time of a Benin visa application?
This is yet another aspect that might differ depending on several variables at the moment of your application. I already told you about the Benin e-Visa. That will get you the fastest result, as the answer should come within 24 hours or so. Taking into consideration all the practicalities and the procedures involved, making either a tourist or business visa in person will usually take 3-5 business days. However, then again, the quality of your application documents and the diplomatic mission where you submit those might make the time a bit longer.
Now you know how to apply for Benin visa and how much does a Benin visa cost. However, dare I say that there is something way more worthy that you likely gained while reading this article. And it is a glimpse of the ways to make your travel to Benin a reality! Now you are a step closer to visiting the country, and all you need to do now is make up your mind. Decide on dates and the intended travel program so you can submit your Benin visa application for one or the other - tourism or business travel. Either way - I wish you the best of luck and a truly smooth process of obtaining your desired travel document. And even if you stumbled into this article just for fun, I hope some of it has inspired you to look this country up and read a tat more about the precious beauty it features!
* At the moment of writing this article many countries of the world are reintroducing lockdowns or other restrictive measures due to recurring waves of the Coronavirus epidemic. Even if you are planning travel during these times, there are a few things to keep in mind for your own well-being. Whenever you book travel, try to opt for the tickets that allow cancellations at no extra cost. That is my dearest suggestion because even if you feel secure about your health, the border policies and flight companies might respond to the existing threats in various ways. The situation changes by the day, and if you have a ticket that can be returned, you might save some money and nerves for yourself! The same goes for the accommodations. Better safe than sorry, right?
Besides planning trips smartly, I also suggest always checking the health situation in the destination country before departing. In case they require quarantining or have closed access to some of the most desired activities you have planned for your trip. In such a situation you might consider canceling the trip or postponing it to times when you are freely able to enjoy the full potential of this beautiful African destination. There is no use going to such a far country and then spending most of your trip locked in the four walls of a hotel room, am I right? And if you check ahead then you can save yourself from unwelcome surprises.
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.