If you check out a list of the smallest countries in the African continent, you’ll find Gambia on it, taking a comfortable position. Don’t let its small size full you. It has a lot to offer.
Nestled between Senegal and a little portion of the Atlantic Ocean, its 80km coastline feeds from Gambia offers spectacular views and thriving wildlife. This beautiful nation offers eco-lodges in the forest, over 600 species of birds, a British fortress built in the 17th century, an island reserve for chimpanzees, and many more.
Perhaps you may decide to visit this travel destination to explore its lands, or maybe you wish to visit for business or to reconnect with family. This guide is for you.
Do I need one?
The minds of travelers usually ask this question when they contemplate whether a travel permit is required to visit the desired travel destination or not.
Depending on your country of origin, you may be privileged to have visa-free access to The Gambia. The link below provides a list of visa-exempt countries, eligible nations for visa on arrival, countries that require entry clearance, and other relevant information.
After going through the list, you probably have an idea where you stand. If you didn’t find your country eligible for visa-free entry, keep reading. This article will guide you through the process involved.
Categories of The Gambia Visas Available
Visitors to this nation are required to state their reason for wanting to visit. Each reason demands a particular combination of supporting documents to be submitted. Some purpose of the visit are as follows:
Foreigners seeking to explore the beautiful nation of Gambia for recreational purposes are issued this permit. You can stay in the country for up to 30 days with it.
Individuals that are not natives of Gambia but have friends and family members living in the country can visit the country with this permit. Also, natives of the Gambia in another country without a valid Gambian national passport can reunite with their family members in the country with this permit.
Foreigners invited to do business by a ministry, company, or organization can gain entry with this travel document. The inviting institution is required to provide a letter of invitation.
Individuals with intentions of offering/performing a certain form of professional services in the country may gain entry to carry out their activities with this permit. This may require the submission of additional documents for approval.
Visitors seeking to receive medical care in the country can do so using this document. The applicant will be required to provide a medical report stating the medical condition that needs to be treated.
This option is for visitors whose purpose of the visit is not found on the list. The applicant will be required to state his/her reasons for wanting to gain entry to the country.
Documents Commonly Requested for Official Use
The items required for an application is determined by the consulate handling the process. Described below are the commonly requested items:
Valid National Passport
Foreigners are required to provide validity of a minimum of 6 months beyond the expected date of departure. It must contain at least two blank pages to attach your approved visa.
You must provide two recent coloured photographs. The photographs should meet the following requirements:
- Not more than 3 months old, and print quality should be high
- The preferred background colour is white
- Dressing accessories like glasses or headbands should not be used for it
- The full-frontal angle of your head with the centralization of your face. The expression on your face should neutral
- Endeavour to write your name and passport number at the back of it when you submit
This document should be filled appropriately and signed. All mandatory filled should be provided with relevant information. Make sure the name inputted on this form is the same name that appears on your passport.
Evidence of Travel Plans
It is required that you provide evidence that you have made arrangements for your trip. This includes your travel itinerary, proof of secured accommodation, and other papers that may serve as proof.
Cover Letter for Business
You must provide a letter from your company stating your purpose of visit. If a company in Gabon has requested your presence, the company must address an invitation letter to the consulate processing your application.
Summary of requirements:
- Original copy of a valid national passport
- Passport-sized photograph taken against a white background. Ensure to write your passport number and name at the back
- A signed and properly filled application form
The details requested depends on the consulate handling your application. Please contact the Gambian embassy/consulate in your country of residence for more information.
Where to apply?
At the moment, there is no electronic platform dedicated to handling visa applications. All applications are to be made through a diplomatic mission in your country of residence or expedited. Follow the link for a list of all Gambian representations around the world.
What are the General Procedures for Applications?
They are as follows:
- Locate a Gambian consulate in your country of residence and make contact;
- Obtain application form and list of supporting items for your purpose of the visit;
- Fill the form appropriately and sign. Also, the required items should be prepared;
- Make a payment of fees. Mail documents to the embassy;
- Wait for approval.
The general cost of the visa is not stated. Applicants will be informed by the consulate handling their application on the amount to be paid and how it should be paid.
Covid-19 Guidelines Visitors to Gambia Must Follow
The worldwide spread of the covid-19 virus has led to leaders of nations all around the world implementing strict measures to help reduce the spread of the deadly virus.
The Gambian government has opened up its roads, seaports, and airways for citizens and foreigners alike. However, certain limitations are enforced. At the moment, visits for the purpose of tourism is not allowed.
Visitors must provide a negative PCR-test (issued at most 72hrs before departure) result upon arrival at any port of entry. Failure to provide this certificate will require health officials to conduct a test there at the port of entry. The expenses of this test will be paid in full by the visitor.
A positive Covid-19 result will result in the visitor being quarantined at isolation centers in the country.
It is necessary to adhere strictly to the Covid-19 safety guidelines in this destination as all restrictions related to reducing the spread of the country’s deadly virus have been dropped. At the moment, there are no restrictions on public gatherings; cinemas, bars, schools, churches, businesses, and others are allowed to operate normally. Curfews and restrictions of interstate travel are not enforced.
Visitors from regions where the new strain of the deadly virus have been found will be tested at the port of entry even if they provide a negative test result. These visitors are still required to quarantine themselves. Quarantine measures and all other expenses must be taken care of by the traveler.
The available covid-19 testing kits in the country are below what is required. Hence, travels are urged to use face masks and maintain social distancing in public spaces to avoid contracting the virus.
Gambia is a fascinating destination with spectacular views and lovely people. If you have an urgent reason to be in the country, please contact your country’s diplomatic mission to process your application. Endeavor to stay safe when you get there and follow the basic Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Intending Visitors of Gambia Frequently Ask these Questions
How long does it take to process a Gambian visa?
The time taken depends on the consular representative handling an application. However, it usually takes 3-5 working days to process.
Can I get visa-free entry with a valid U.S. passport?
No, nationals of the United States must apply for a visa to be allowed into the country.
Can I visit The Gambia with an animal companion/pet?
Yes, pets are allowed into the country. However,certain requirements must be met. You must provide a health certificate issued by an accredited veterinarian in your country of residence. Also, there should be vaccination and identification cards available. A health report stating your pet is fit for travel should be provided. Upon arrival, it is required that you register your pet with the Veterinary Department of The Gambia to be issued an import permit.
Can I bring drugs into the country?
Yes, you are permitted to bring drugs into the country if they meet the requirements. You must provide the original copy of a prescription letter written by an accredited health practitioner in your country of residence. For a list of approved drugs that can be brought into The Gambia, please follow this link. Visitors are also required to bring the specific dose of drugs that’ll last them through their entire stay. Drug trafficking and abuse are strongly frowned upon.