Visa requirements for Eritrea
Passport: is generally required when traveling to Eritrea, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months if the visa is granted.
Visa: is generally required, exceptions are only for citizens of Uganda and Kenya. Visas are only issued in exceptional cases at the border.
Transit: Transit travelers who travel on the same plane within 24 hours, do not leave the transit area and have a continuation ticket do not need a transit visa for Eritrea.
Documents: Tourist Visa: an original, completed application form (no copy, no fax) – passport that must be valid for at least 6 months when issuing the visa – a passport photo (no scan) – fee – travel booking confirmation.
Business Visa: in addition a letter from the German company about the duration and purpose of the trip and a confirmation of the assumption of costs.
You can download the Eritrea visa application form here.
A franked and addressed envelope and proof of payment should be enclosed with the application by post.
Visa fees: Tourist Visa: 50.00 euros (single entry, maximum stay one month).
Business visa : 95.00 euros (single entry, maximum stay one month), 140.00 euros (multiple entry possible, maximum stay three months).
In addition, a transfer fee of 5.20 euros will be charged.
For an express exhibition within 48 hours, an additional fee of 30.00 euros will be charged.
Validity: Tourist Visa and Business Visa: 3 months from the date of issue for a maximum stay of one month. Multiple visas: 3 months maximum stay. Extension options exist in Eritrea, applications should be sent to the Ministry of the Interior in the capital Asmara.
Processing time: about one week, express processing: 48 hours (the above-mentioned increased fee is required).
Adequate funds: Foreigners must have sufficient funds ($ 40 per day).
Vaccinations: detailed information on international vaccination certificates required for entry can be found in the Eritrea – Health chapter.
Extension of stay: Tourist visas can be renewed twice within Eritrea at the Immigration Office for a fee of $ 60 for one month each. In individual cases, this authority can allow the permissible maximum period of validity to be exceeded. A business visa cannot be renewed once it has expired.
At the departure must be a passenger service charge to be paid by 20 dollars or 20 euros.
Entry with children
Germany: Children need their own passport to enter Eritrea (children’s passport or electronic passport).
Austria: own passport for children.
Switzerland: A separate passport for children is required.
The same visa requirements apply to children as to their parents.
Children under the age of 15 should travel with their parents or a guardian. If you are traveling alone you must have an unaccompanied minor form that confirms that you will be received by a competent person or organization upon arrival in Eritrea.
Currency: 1 nakfa corresponds to 100 cents.
Currency abbreviation: Nfa, ERN – ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG
There are banknotes worth 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 nakfa. Coins have face values of 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 nafka and 100 cents.
The Nakfa currency was introduced in 1997 and followed the Ethiopian Birr. The Nafka is Eritrea’s first national currency and is pegged to the US dollar at a fixed exchange rate (US $ 1 = ERN 15).
The currency is named after the city of Nakfa, the main location of the Eritrean troops in the Liberation War, and is intended to commemorate the struggle for independence.
Currency exchange: Exchange is possible in banks and exchange offices. It is recommended to take US dollars in cash. Euros are accepted less frequently.
Every money exchange must be entered on the declaration form that is issued upon entry.
Upon presentation of this proof that the foreign currencies have been officially exchanged for the national currency Nakfa, a return of up to ERN 3,000 in dollars or euros is possible before departure. However, this is only possible in the main location of the national exchange office Himbol, in the city center of Asmara on Bahtir Meskerem Platz. There are no exchange options at the airport.
The black market offers much cheaper exchange rates, but is subject to very high penalties (up to ERN 200,000 and 2 years in prison).
August 2010: 1 euro = 19.2 nafka
Credit Cards: Cards from major international providers are only accepted sometimes.
Traveler’s checks: are rarely accepted as a form of payment, they should be issued in US dollars or euros.
ATMs: don’t exist in Eritrea.
Foreign exchange regulations: Since 01.01.2005 the import and export of the local currency and foreign currencies has no longer been restricted. A declaration is required upon entry. The local currency may only be imported or exported up to an amount of 100 nafka.
Bank opening times: Mon – Fri 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., Sat 8 a.m. – 11.30 a.m.
Health and illnesses
If you are in a yellow fever area within 6 days of entering Eritrea, a valid yellow fever vaccination is required.
Medical care in Eritrea is poor. Only simple diseases can be treated. The hospitals in the country are not recommendable due to the qualifications of the staff, the equipment and the hygienic conditions. The supply of medication is not sufficient. The tap water in Eritrea is not suitable as drinking water due to biological and chemical impurities. There is a risk of stomach and intestinal diseases. Malaria occurs in the lowlands (both towards Sudan and along the Red Sea) .
It is therefore recommended to get advice from tropical doctors or travel doctors in good time before the trip about necessary malaria prophylaxis and vaccinations (including tetanus, polio, diphtheria, typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B, rabies, yellow fever and meningitis).
Membership of a rescue airline and the taking of all medication necessary for personal care are also recommended.
Various medications (including malarone, doxycycline and Lariam) are available for adequate malaria prophylaxis. The selection of these drugs as well as possible side effects or intolerance to other drugs should be discussed with a tropical or travel doctor before taking chemoprophylaxis.
All regions of Eritrea below 2,200m are at high risk of malaria all year round (predominantly pathogens: Plasmodium falciparum). There is little or no risk in Asmara.
In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:
A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information as well as a liability for possible damage cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.
Means of transportation on site in Eritrea
The government of Eritrea has passed strong travel restrictions: all foreigners need a travel authorization when they leave the capital. Tourists can apply for this travel authorization from the Ministry of Tourism. The travel destination, duration and purpose of the trip must be specified in this application. Employees of the embassies based in Eritrea are also affected by this regulation.
Airplane: Eritrean Airlines flies between Asmara and Assab. Assab Airport is 15 km from the city. Buses and taxis go to Assab.
Train: There is a connection between Asmara and Nefasit once a week.
Cars: The roads and slopes of the country are in relatively good condition for African conditions, an expansion and improvement of the road network is planned. Most regions have adequate roads or slopes. A normal vehicle is sufficient on the main roads, slopes should only be used with four-wheel drive vehicles. Uncomfortable buses travel between the centers of the country. The tickets are cheap, buses often only start when all the seats are filled. Taxis can be found in Asmara and at the capital’s airport. The fares should be agreed before starting the trip. Rental Cars: are expensive in Eritrea, off-road vehicles are often rented out with a driver. Documents: International driving licence.
Places to See
Eritrea suffered a lot of war damage in the war against Ethiopia, especially the Sahel region was hit hard. Nevertheless, there is a lot to see in the country. Around 1,000 km of coastline to the Red Sea with some of the best diving in Eastern Africa await the visitor. High- class trekking and mountaineering can be done in the Eritrean highlands. There are also numerous historic sites to discover in Eritrea.
Assab on the southeastern edge of the Danakil region has long been Eritrea’s main port, nowadays the city looks more like an outpost of civilization on the edge of the desert. There are beautiful beaches around Assab.
The capital of Eritrea, Asmara, consisted only of a small cluster of several villages until the end of the 19th century. However, when the Italian colonial government moved the seat of government from Massawa to Asmara in 1897, a political and cultural center quickly developed here. and is now one of the most fascinating cities in the region. Italian architecture The image of Asmara, an impressive Lombard-style cathedral, was built in 1922. Italian marble from Carrara was imported to build the largest mosque in Eritrea (Khulafa el Rashidin). In the 20s and 30s Asmara was called “piccolo Roma” (little Rome).
The large medebar market in the north of the cathedral is very interesting. Here you will find mainly goods and products for daily needs, such as fruit and vegetables, spices, pottery, wooden sculptures and clothing. The Harriet Avenue is the lifeline of the city, most attractions are grouped along this road. The opera, completed around 1920, the former Govaneurs Palace, the Catholic Cathedral, the impressive Ministry of Education and the town hall are located here. The university and the Mai Jahjah fountain are also worthwhile.
The city of Keren in northern Eritrea is easily accessible from Asmara. Here you will find several Catholic churches and a lively market. From Keren you can easily organize a day trip to the Islamic accord. Emperor Haile Selassi I had a huge mosque built here.
From the capital, the road to Massawa winds through impressive landscapes. The route leads to the Orthodox monastery of Debre Bizenpast. Massawa has been an important center of this region since ancient times and is now the most important natural deep-sea port on the Red Sea. Massawa suffered badly from the war and many buildings are still damaged. But gradually renovations begin and you can see the former beauty of the city again. With its small, narrow streets and white buildings, Massawa looks like Zanzibar. The port of Massawa and the old town of Batsa are on one island. The architecture is shaped by the former colonial lords, Turks and Egyptians, who ruled the city from the 15th to the 18th centuries. The most important mosque Imam Hanbeli was largely spared from war damage. Restaurants, cafés and bars can be found especially in the old town.
In the north of Massawa, near Gergussum, there are sandy beaches that are ideal for sunbathing.
Qohaito in southern Eritrea offers an insight into the prehistory of Eritrea. Here you can find temples and other prehistoric sights.
In Barentu (western Eritrea) Kunama nomads meet on the Saturday market.
The Dahlak Islands consist of 209 different islands. However, only three are inhabited because they are too dry to allow sufficient arable farming. You can reach these islands almost only with tour providers from Massawa. The diving grounds here are great and not yet well developed.
The Danakil is one of the hottest and hottest places in the world. It stretches from Massawa to Djibouti in a band about 50 km wide and 600 km long. The Danakil is the habitat of the Afar. Whoever comes here seeks the feeling of adventure and loneliness – and will find it here.