Namibia Entry and Residence Regulations

By | June 13, 2021

A visa is required to enter Namibia. For German citizens, a normal tourist visa (for a maximum of three months) is issued directly on arrival at Hosea Kutako Airport in Windhoek, free of charge and unbureaucratically. It is important, however, that the passport is still valid for at least six months and has at least two free pages for entry and exit stamps, visas and, if applicable, residence and work permits.

Attention: Until a few years ago, as a German, you could easily get a three-month visa stamped in your passport when entering the country. In the meantime, the visa duration is unfortunately set individually for each person entering the country by the immigration officer and entered ‘by hand’ in the passport. This now quite arbitrarily determined validity of the visa depends on the specified length of stay.

Unfortunately, to prove the planned length of stay, a return or onward ticket has to be proven more and more often. Usually you will be asked for it when you check in in Germany. If you only have a one-way ticket – e.g. as a first-time expatriate in Namibia – you can avoid this problem by booking a connecting flight pro forma (e.g. to Cape Town) and then canceling it immediately after entering the country. (At the time, Air Namibia offered us this solution when we checked in; we were then able to cancel the connecting flight free of charge the next day.)

It is also important that the maximum length of stay for visitors no longer relates to the respective stay, but to all stays in Namibia within a calendar year. (However, one hears different things again and again. To be on the safe side, clarify with the Namibia Tourist Board in Frankfurt or the Namibian embassy in Berlin what the current state of affairs is!)

Please also note: When entering the length of stay in the passport, there have been several problems in the past. According to press reports, the visa duration was too short in various cases stamped in the passport and sometimes different visa periods were entered for the individual family members when families entered the country. It is therefore absolutely advisable to check the length of stay that has been entered at the immigration counter immediately and to file a complaint immediately. Once you have left the transit area of the airport, a subsequent correction is no longer easily possible and can only be done via the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA). According to various press reports and letters to the editor in the Allgemeine Zeitung, this can then be very time-consuming and considerably disrupt personal time and travel planning.

A business visa is required for shorter professional stays and a work permit for longer professional activities. For long-term (private and / or professional) stays of more than three months, an Ordinary Residence Permit is also required. The application process for a longer work permit and the associated residence permit (Temporary Residence) is complicated, very (time) consuming and requires a large number of documents. For a work permit, in addition to the application itself, around 20 (!) Attachments are required, some of which are to be provided by the applicant and some by the Namibian employer.

According to ehotelat, work and residence permits have not been processed by the Namibian embassy in Berlin for several years. The procedure now apparently runs exclusively through the Ministry of Home Affairs in Windhoek, but the Namibian embassy can forward the application documents. The Ministry of Home Affairs usually processes the applications very slowly. You should therefore plan a lead time of at least four, better six months (before departure) for this process. Development cooperation expatriates who are leaving the country should therefore contact the very helpful Namibian embassy in Berlin at an early stage and familiarize themselves with the information from the German Foreign Office on entry requirements in Namibia.

Business visas of up to three months are usually easier and quicker to get from the Namibian embassy than from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Namibia. Unfortunately, such a business visa is not enough to build up the personal infrastructure on site that you need as an expatriate. Without a residence permit – and this is in turn linked to the work permit for longer-term work stays in Namibia – you can neither open a local account in Namibia nor apply for a tax number or a telephone or internet connection. The two stamps ‘Residence Permit’ and ‘Work Permit’ in the passport are also a mandatory requirement for concluding a rental agreement and applying for duty exemption (which is important for the import of cars and household items).

Both ‘Residence Permit’ and ‘Work Permit’ should therefore be applied for well in advance of departure. This is usually done via the local employer. Ideally, both permits are then available upon or immediately after arrival. which makes the re-location of your own household (including importing cars and household items) much easier or even possible in the first place.

To ensure that the applications for the urgently required permits have actually been submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs by the employer, you should obtain a copy of the confirmation of receipt (“Acknowledgment of Receipt”) with the corresponding “Application No.” from your local employer. ” have it sent. This can then also be used to apply for a so-called ‘courtesy visa’ via the GIZ branch in Berlin and the Namibian embassy, parallel to the application process in Windhoek, with which one can then initially enter.

Attention: The temporary solution, which is possible and common in many other countries, of entering the country as an expatriate with a tourist visa and then applying for a work permit and residence permit on site, is STRONGLY advised against! The Namibian authorities are extremely sensitive to this approach! This also applies if you are on an ‘official mission’ in Namibia, for example as a DC / TC expert from GIZ, CIM or KFW.

This also applies to very short professional assignments (e.g. as a reviewer) and for scientific lectures at congresses and the like, regardless of whether you receive a fee or reimbursement (e.g. for a lecture). According to a clear announcement by an immigration officer at Hosea Kutako Airport, tourist visas are only intended for tourists and for visiting relatives in Namibia. For everything else, you should definitely apply for a business visa.

The necessary information (including the current Corona regulations) can be obtained – as already mentioned – from the Namibian embassy in Berlin and from the Namibia Tourism Board in Frankfurt. In the case of DC / TC experts who leave on an official mission, the GIZ office in Windhoek and – if necessary – the German embassy in Windhoek are also involved. These can support the application process, but also only accelerate it to a limited extent.

Namibia Entry