Posted: May 25 2019
How I got a visa for Sierra Leone at the Sierra Leone High Commission in Banjul, Gambia
This post originally featured on my other, now sadly defunct travel blog. Obtaining the Sierra Leone visa gave me tremendous joy. It's a volatile country, scarred by the horrors of war. I felt myself lucky to be granted a visa.
In 2012 I began making my way south from Paris.
Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia. I wanted to travel through Sierra Leone.
Grabbing a baguette for breakfast before going off to the Sierra Leone High Commission in Banjul | Gambia
I was in Banjul, the capital of Gambia and as it happened, there was the Sierra Leone HighCommission just 2 blocks away from the Ferry Guest House where I was lodging. I tried my luck!
I turned up on a Friday, the day after a national holiday and I knew that I'd probably have to wait til Tuesday at least, if I wanted to wait at all. I could get the visa in Guinea. But had no desire to go to Conakry.
"I'd like to apply for a visa please"
The under secretary gave me the forms and warned me:
"It takes 4 days to issue a visa. Same day is just not possible"
"I'll try my luck".
The form asked for Cholera and Small pox vaccination dates, both of which I've left blank. I had a copy of my Yellow fever certificate with me. I had no hotel reservation, no onward flight ticket and no proof of funds, other than the cash stashed in my money belt.
I waited nervously for the boss man. 30 minutes later I was called in.
"So you want to go to Sierra Leone"
"Yes. But what I'd really like is to be able to get the visa today"
"And it takes 4 working days. But I'll try to get it issued today for you. Please wait out side. I must call the boss"
So he was not the boss.
Sasha, my Dutch travel buddy for the last days, sat with me. We wanted to leave today for some where up river.
After just 20 minutes, he called me back in.
"Here. I have worked very hard to get this issued for you today. Never have we issued a visa same day"
He held out his huge hand and gripped mine vice like. I thanked him a million times.
A visa for a very difficult country, issued within just 20 minutes.
The Sierra Leone High Commission is located at Daniel Goddard Street in Banjul