In 2023 after decades of restricted visa access Angola joined the list of countries in Africa allowing visa-free entry with Presidential Decree No. 189/23 which abolished tourist/business visas and introduced Border as well as E-visa-free entry for nationals of 98 countries.

The new Angolan tourist/business visa-free entry is granted via E-Visa or on arrival at the Border. Valid for a period of 30 days, it allows multiple entries, and can be renewed (in the country) twice for a further 30 days period each, thus enabling the visitor to stay in Angola for 90 days in a single year, which works perfectly well for the nationals of the exempted countries (35 European including the United Kingdom, 14 African, 11 Asian, 8 American and Caribbean, Oceania 15 and 16 countries from the Pacific).

However, this has come with consequences, as it seems that businesses are exploiting the newly introduced E-visa/Border Visa-free system by using it to allow their employees to engage in paid work in Angola. But, the vast number of visitors taking advantages of the new visa-free policy is thought to be mostly professionals/workers traveling to Angola to undertake paid work rather than tourists or businesspeople who were the intended stakeholders.

This goes against the intended purpose of the system, which was primarily aimed at attracting more tourists to discover Angola’s breathtaking scenery and rich cultural offerings. Angola’s tourism potential was so remarkable that CNN International nominated it as one of the top nine tourism destinations for 2024. Additionally, it also aims to facilitate it the mobility of businesspeople willing to invest and benefit from the government’s economic initiatives to move the country’s economy from its heavy dependency on oil into a more diverse economic system. The misuse of the visa system not only distorts its original purpose but also risks detrimental effects such as unfair competition and exploitation.

Nevertheless, it is important to highlight that, during the COVID-19 crisis, the E-Visa/Border visa played a crucial role in allowing foreign professionals/workers to enter Angola to guarantee the normal functioning of key industries. But, with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was expected that the beneficiaries (mainly key foreign professionals/workers) of the E-Visa/Border visas would reverse to the use of the correct visa when traveling to Angola for paid work or process their Work Visa (Long Term Visa) in the country.

Instead, the E-Visa/Border visa is now being used for the wrong reasons in a clear breach of Angola immigration laws and rules, which if caught, the visitor faces a serious fine and legal consequences.

Many will suggest that the reasons the E-Visa/Border visa is misused is because the Presidential Decree (189/23) is not specific enough or to say the least it is ambiguous. This ambiguity inadvertently encourages travellers to exploit E-Visa and Border visa for employment rather than for tourism or business exploration purposes.

Consequently, British and nationals of the 98 countries who are eligible for the E-Visa/Border Visa are finding it difficult to interpret the mentioned Presidential Decree (189/23) therefore, finding themselves unsure of what type of visa to apply for when needing to travel to Angola for work.


Companies operating in Angola must assist the Angolan authorities by adhering to the rules rather than capitalising on loopholes. Cooperation ensures that all parties work towards the common goal. Any collaborative effort will lead to mutual benefits for all involved.

At the same time it is important for the Angola authorities to step in to deal with the vagueness and ambiguity of the Decree No. 189/23, to make it clear and to end its current loophole and policing it if needed. Furthermore, it needs to move into standardising visa procedures across all its Embassies and Consulates overseas. An applicant needing to travel to Angola for work must encounter the same visa procedures at any Angolan Embassy, be it in Brazil, South Africa, Portugal, USA or in London to ensure efficiency.

The deployment of Immigration Officers from its Border and Immigration Service (SME) authority following the country’s Immigration Law ultimately will see Angola benefit as it will gain from genuine tourists/investors, and those traveling for work. It also enables the provision of first-class service to applicants who seek their service.

Ultimately, the way forward for foreign nationals who intend to travel to Angola for work purposes is to apply for the correct visa, i.e., the Work Visa (Long Term Visa) or the Short Term Visa (STV Visa), via Angola embassies/consulates abroad (such as London). Such provision will help foreign nations make a clear distinction between tourists/investors and professionals/workers when traveling to Angola.