If you intend to visit Senegal, chances are that you will probably need to apply for a Senegal visa. However, there are certain countries whose nationals are allowed to travel to Senegal for short-term periods without the need for a visa.
Who needs a visa for Senegal?
You need a visa for Senegal unless you are from a visa-exempt country. Citizens of the following countries can enter Senegal without a visa for up to 90 days:
A European Union countryBeninBrazilBurkina FasoCanadaCape VerdeThe Central African RepublicChadChinaCongo DRCôte d’IvoireDjiboutiThe GambiaGhanaGuineaGuinea-BissauIndiaJapanLiberiaMalaysiaMaliMauritaniaMauritiusMoroccoNigerNigeriaSierra LeoneSingaporeSouth KoreaTogoTunisiaUnited StatesVatican City
Note: If you are from one of the above-mentioned countries, but you intend to stay in Senegal for longer than 90 days, then you do have to apply for a Senegal visa.
Other Senegal visa exemptions
In addition, even if you are not from one of the countries above, you may still be exempt from a Senegal visa for short-term stays if you fall under one of the following categories:
You have a Laissez-Passer issued by the United Nations and you are traveling on duty
You have a Laissez-Passer issued by the Economic Community of West African States
You have a diplomatic passport issued by Turkey
You have a diplomatic, service, or special passport issued by:
Who is eligible for a Senegal Visa On Arrival?
There is conflicting information regarding the process of obtaining a visa for Senegal. While some sources claim nearly everyone who is not exempt from Senegal visa requirements can obtain a Senegalese Visa On Arrival, most of the websites of Senegal diplomatic missions advise foreigners to obtain a visa before they travel. As such, the safest way to get a Senegal Visa seems the nearest Senegal diplomatic mission to inquire about entry requirements.
What are the Senegal Visa Requirements?
When you apply for a Senegal visa, you must submit documents which support your applications, such as:
Two copies of the Senegal Visa Application Form
Your passport, which must be valid for at least another six months and have at least two blank pages
Photocopies of the personal information page of your passport and previous visas
Two passport-size pictures
Proof of accommodation in Senegal, such as a hotel reservation or an invitation letter if you are staying with a host
Photocopy of your airline ticket or proof of reservation of the ticket
Proof of sufficient financial funds
For Senegal Business Visa: Letter of invitation or a Letter of Sponsorship from the Senegal company
Yellow Fever Vaccination (although not required by all embassies or consulates it is advisable to get vaccinated for Yellow Fever)
The documents you submit have to be either in English or in French.
How to get a Senegal Visa?
According to Senegal diplomatic missions, you must obtain a Senegal visa from one of the Senegal embassies or consulates abroad. The process changes depending on the country, but an outline of the application process is as follows:
Contact the Senegal embassy or consulate to make an appointment and inquire about specific requirements
Collect the required documents
Submit the application and documents. You may have to submit the application and documents in person or submit them through the post.
Wait for the visa to be processed
If the visa is approved, you can use it to enter the country for the time that the visa is issued for.
How long does it take to process a Senegal visa?
Again, the application processing time for a Senegal visa changes depending on the country. While some diplomatic missions state they can process a visa for 2 -3 days, others may take a week or longer. It is always a good idea to start the visa application process early, however, especially if there is a lack of information available.
You may have to apply for a Senegal visa by mail, which means the time it will take to deliver your application and to receive the visa if approved will also factor into the processing time.
What is the duration of a Senegal visa?
A visa for Senegal is issued for a maximum of 90 days, but may it be issued for less at the discretion of the visa-issuing authorities.
This is also the number of days you are allowed to stay in Senegal without a visa if you are from a visa-exempted country.
How Can I Travel to Senegal if I Don’t Need a Visa?
Even if you don’t need a visa for Senegal, you must still be able to show the immigration officers at the point of entry:
Your valid passport, which has at least one blank page for the entry stamp
Your proof of accommodation
Return-flight air ticket or a ticket for onward travel
Letter of invitation or sponsorship, if applicable
Proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination
Is Senegal Safe to Visit?
Senegal does not pose any major risks to travelers. There are no political conflicts, and there have not been any recent terrorist attacks.
However, street crime such as muggings and robberies does tend to happen, especially in urban areas and areas which are more frequented by tourist, so you should be cautious. But street crime is not at a level which is higher than in most other countries.
What Should I See While I’m In Senegal?
If you find yourself in Senegal, whether for business or simply tourism purposes, you must make sure to visit these popular landmarks:
The Rebta Lake, also known as the Pink Lake, is about one hour north of Dakar and gets its characteristic pinkish color from the high amount of salt content and bacteria.
Dakar. If you visit Senegal, you must naturally explore its capital city, which is known for its vibrancy and culture. Especially visit its markets and the Museum of African Arts.
Goree Island. One of the most popular tourist spots in Senegal is Goree Island, near Dakar. The island was once a slave-trading center and holds significant historic importance.
Petite Cote and Cap Skirring. If you want to lounge on a beach, then the beautiful Cap Skirring and Petite Cote are places to go.
Saloum Delta National Park. This beautiful national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of 440,000-acres, out of which 150,000 acres is water.
Senegal River. Naturally, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the Senegal River, which was once known as “the river of gold” because of the large amounts of gold that it once held.