Timing is everything, but after Algeria finally re-opened to foreign visitors after the pandemic I had little trouble obtaining a visa, though it took an in-person trip to New York City to complete.
Guide: How I Obtained A Visa To Algeria
Algeria has an embassy in Washington, DC and a consulate in New York City.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the following states must apply at the embassy in the District of Columbia:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
DC residents must also apply in Washington, DC.
Residents of all other states and U.S. territories must apply in New York City.
Must I Go In Person?
For purposes of this guide, I will stick to New York, which is where I applied as a resident of California. You can apply in person, via mail, or via proxy. Of course, you can hire a service to handle this for you, but it is very doable alone, especially if you are passing thru New York City.
I have successfully applied for many visas via mail but did not attempt it here because the consulate failed to pick up the phone or answer email (I made several attempts before traveling all the way to New York). If you do decide to mail your application, you can send it to:
Consulate General of Algeria
15 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
Be sure to include a prepaid self-addressed return envelope. This must be via USPS Priority Mail or USPS Overnight Mail and include a tracking number.
If you do send someone for you, the representative must show a notarized letter with your authorization for the agent to act on your behalf.
Hours Are Limited
Applications can be dropped off or picked up at the Consulate General from Tuesday thru Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.
A tourist visa for a U.S. citizen costs $160.
What Do I Need To Apply For An Algerian Visa?
If you are applying for a tourist visa, you will need the following:
- Hotel reservation, notarized invitation letter, or travel agency invitation letter
- I simply submitted a copy of my hotel reservation
- A copy of round trip flight ticket
- Not sure of how I would depart, I created a round-trip reservation on Lufthansa for the day I planned to arrive and depart
- Statement of financial resources or proof of income
- I submitted a recent bank statement
- Passport and a copy of the first page
- Your original passport as well as a copy of the first page (which includes your picture and info)
- The passport should be valid for at least six months
- $160 money order
- Very important: only USPS money orders are accepted
- Two copies of the application form
- Fill out the editable PDF application form, print it, date it, then hand-sign it
- You must type the application – no handwriting permitted
- For both copies, glue a photo on the box reserved for it at the upper right side of the form
- The photos should be US passport photos (2 x 2 inches or 51 x 51 mm)
- A prepaid return envelope must be either via USPS Priority Mail or USPS Overnight Mail and include a tracking number
- Only applicable if you send your application by mail or do not intend to return in-person to pick it up
If you are applying for other types of visa, please check the specific requirements here.
After numerous failed attempts to reach the Consulate by telephone and email, I decided to make a special trip to New York just to try to apply for the visa in-person. This was June 2021.
From Penn Station, I made a stop at the Post Office in the Garment District, where I purchased the $160 money order required, then walked through Times Square.
Finally, I reached the Consulate (in the Diamond District) and rang the bell outside. A man let me in, somewhat surprised. I told him I was here to apply for a tourist visa and he looked even more surprised. He told me that he did not think tourist visas were being issued, but would check.
He picked up the phone and after a long conversation in Arabic, told me that Algeria was still not issuing tourist visas (even though its website indicated these were being issued). He told me to call back in a “couple of weeks” and when I told him no one answered the phone last time, he said to keep trying.
I returned in October of 2021 and again returned to the Consulate. This time, I was welcomed in (my mobile phone was immediately taken and I had to pass through a metal detector), and ushered down the hall to a waiting room.
About 10 minutes later, a woman came downstairs, greeted me, seemed delighted that I would want to visit Algeria, looked over my paperwork, took it, and then told me that my visa would be ready the next day. Unfortunately, I was flying out that night, so I gave her a pre-addressed Priority Mail envelope (thankfully, I have two passports).
By the time I returned home from my trip to Europe, the Algerian visa had arrived, a full-page sticker affixed to my passport, valid for one year with multiple entries permitted.
It took me almost a year to go thanks to a series of flight cancellations, but that’s a different story….
When it came down to it, actually obtaining a visa (the in-person visit, the meeting) was quite easy, but reaching New York from California was not the easiest or cheapest endeavor. I am not sure I would risk mailing your passport, but that option does exist. But if you are in the New York City area, Algeria is in full swing of issuing tourist visas once again.
Thanks Matthew! Please include this sort of article when you visit countries where a visa is needed. It’s quite helpful.
Thanks for sharing.very detailed and to the point very helpful. looking forward to read about your trip.
While I consider myself an adventurous traveler, I wouldn’t go through the hassle, time, or cost of this.
$160 for a 90 day visa?? Damn! No wonder they don’t get any visitors.
Visas to visit the US cost $160, and plenty of people visit here.
You are right, people come to the USA and no one visits Algeria. So, what’s your point?
Visa for the USA is usually 5-10 years depending on the country. $160 for 90 days is outrageous. That’s $640 for a year! Even the Algerian embassy is surprised anyone wants to visit there.
India’s visa costs less and is good for 5 years. Algeria’s visa is way too expensive.
Algeria apply reciprocity, it is 160 dollars for any Algerian or any one from the southern hemisphere applying for a US visa, even if rejected. Based on the article 160dollars gives you 1year.
It’s 160$ for 2 years unlimited entries. Matthew covered (shaded) the expiration date (not sure why). Each entry you are allowed to stay up to 90 days. Hopefully that clarifies it for you
Mine was only valid for one year.
You said “no wonder” as if to imply (at least part of) the reason nobody goes it due to the visa cost. My point is that $160 visa costs don’t seem to deter people from visiting the US.
My 1st US viSa was valid for 3 months and cost the same. I’ve also gotten visas to other major tourist countries valid for 2 weeks
You better not look at Bhutan’s DAILY visa cost 😉
Right. That’s going to be a killer, but on the list for next year.
It was WELL worth it. I went 4 years ago and it included lodging, a driver and a guide plus food and drinks. I believe nowadays it doesn’t include some of these plus the cost is higher.
Right, but my understanding now is that it does not include any of it – it is simply a punitive fee to try to scalp wealthier westerners.
I went several years ago under the old regime and was more than happy with the price given all that it covered (guide, driver, accommodations, meals), but it came at the cost of flexibility and independence. It wasn’t as strict, say, as Iran is for Americans – I could venture around by myself in the evenings, etc. – but it was more regimented than almost anywhere else in the world. Now, it’s more expensive, but you’ll have much more freedom. Having been once, I’m happy to make that tradeoff, but I can see first-timers balking at the increased expense or missing out on valuable insights by not hiring a local guide in an effort to keep costs down. In any event, those that can afford it should definitely go. There’s no place like it in the world.
But you have no idea how cheap things in Algeria are. I visited Timgad which is an impressive well preserved Roman city in Algeria, that’s right an entire city and not just one building, I paid the equivalent of less than 1 USD. Gas was less 1$ a gallon and pretty much everything was dirt cheap. To be honest, the $160 is nothing when you factor in how cheap everything is there.
it a tit for tat I don’t bother remind you how obtaining US visa is…………
Two wrongs don’t make it right.
Although I fully recognize the importance of NYC, I wonder if it wouldn’t make sense to place the Consulate somewhere else a bit further away from the Embassy in DC. Maybe Chicago or LA? It is kind of weird to have the only two places you can get a visa 3 hours away from each other by train and the rest of the country has nothing.
It’s Algeria, dude.
Exactly. It wouldn’t make sense if it made sense.
This was a very quick decision for us. cancel the Ticket. it is not worth the hassle of sending proof of Income, Bank statements and $160.00 x 4 for 4-5 Days? No Thank you. Maybe Tunisia.
Thank you for writing and posting this article, Matt. Algeria has been on my list for years now, but I’ve been daunted, in part, by the tales I’ve heard about how hard it is to get a visa. Your description of the process confirms that it’s hard — but at least it sounds doable.
They actually just made it easier to get; it’s available on arrival but only if you are visiting the southern part of the country so basically the Sahara which is why most people go there anyways.
Can you post a link, even if in French or Arabic?
Honestly, that’s a fairly reasonable visa procedure. We can’t expect Algeria to have 50 consulates in the USA. Knowing you get a year of validity, I’d be inclined to drop my passport there next time I’m in New York. Did they actually place it in the mail the following day?
What is the purpose of the visa? Is it to make money from tourists, or to ensure only those really committed to visiting will jump through these hoops? If it’s just a hefty tourist tax, why not charge it as an entry fee so people don’t have to get the visa in advance?
If its to deter tourists from coming, why offer tourist visas at all?
Algeria is not a wealthy country, nor do they receive many tourists. You would think they would welcome people taking an interest in their country and wanting to come there and spend money – look at nearby Morrocco and Turkey, both bucket-list destinations.
Instead, they have created a process so absurd most people will never visit and it will remain the backwater it is now.
Algeria is very strict on issues of sovereignty. For visas, it applies the principle of reciprocity for all countries. It charges nationals of each country the same rate as the country applies to Algerians. For the US, it’s $160.
Is visa day specific or I can enter any time I want during these 30 days?
You can enter anytime within the visa window.