Is it safe to travel to Afghanistan? and are you aware of the necessary travel Laws?

Afghanistan is not absolutely safe for travellers. It is not advisable to wander around if you are not with local people. If you are planning a trip to Afghanistan it is highly recommended to avail the service of a local guide who knows the country well.

The locals are amongst the most friendly and genuine people. It is advisable to be with someone who really knows the area, who lives in the country and has ways to help you if something goes haywire.

Travel Advisory: Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe because of critical levels of kidnappings, hostage taking, suicide bombings, widespread military combat operations, landmines, and terrorist and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne, magnetic, or other improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide vests, and grenades. 

Even then if you wish to travel to this beautiful country, keep in mind the below mentioned laws.

Travel Laws for Afghanistan

Unless you are an Afghan citizen, you will need a visa to visit Afghanistan. The only exemptions are travellers born in Afghanistan, born to Afghan parents or with parents born in Afghanistan, and people with service or diplomatic passports of select countries.

The Afghanistan tourist visa is valid for 30 days. It’s a single entry. It is not date-specific, meaning the visa duration starts from the day you enter, which can be any day within a 3-month period stated on the visa.

Visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months from the date of arrival except for citizens of Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary,India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan as well as all foreigners of Afghan origin, whose passports have to be valid on arrival.

Afghanistan visa requirements

Afghanistan visa requirements are standard:

  • passport with 6 months validity after the expiry of the Afghan visa
  • passport photo
  • filled out Afghanistan visa application form

Application process

Certain embassies ask for a letter of invitation, while others don’t. Some embassies don’t issue tourist visas at all due to safety concerns. Who does and who does not changes often. Did the embassy not ask for a letter of invitation this week? Next week they might. There are no hard and fast rules as to the application process. Each ambassador decides for himself.

Letter of invitation

If you need a letter of invitation, you can get one from a local in Afghanistan. Couchsurfing is full of helpful people. Tour operators do not want to give you a letter of invitation unless you go on a tour with them.

Afghanistan visa extension

Extension of Tourism Visa

A tourist visa to Afghanistan can be extended only once, for 1 month. The cost for overstaying your visa is now $10 per day overstaying during the first month (instead of $2 per day previously), and $15 per day for the second month (previously $5 per day). If the delay is more than two months, in addition to the fine, you will be deported.

Local laws and customs

  • Afghanistan is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times. Be particularly careful during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
  • Homosexuality is illegal.
  • You’re not allowed to use, or bring into the country narcotics, alcohol or pork products.
  • Photographing government buildings, military installations and palaces is not allowed. Avoid photographing local people without their agreement.
  • It’s illegal to buy or export historical antiquities without a receipt from an authorised supplier or dealer. When you leave Afghanistan you may be asked for proof that you bought the item. If you do not have a receipt, you could be detained and you may face a fine or prison sentence.

Travel And Don’t Stop!

Thanks to my friend and tour guide at Let’s be friends – Tourism in Afghanistan– Noor Mohammad Ali Chopani