Assessing travel and visa obligations in Afghanistan

When traveling to Afghanistan, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you must obtain work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Afghanistan, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business meetings
  • Attend conferences and seminars
  • Negotiate and sign contracts
  • Conduct business transactions


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Afghanistan?

Most foreign nationals must obtain a visa to enter Afghanistan to conduct business activities. Visa-required business visitors must obtain a Business Visa prior to travel from an Afghan Consulate or Embassy.

Under the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), U.S./NATO contractors are eligible to obtain a Contractor Visa, valid for one year, from an Afghan Consulate or Embassy. Please consult your immigration provider to determine eligibility and requirements.

Working in Afghanistan

What types of activities require work authorization?

For foreign nationals who are not NATO and U.S. defense contractor employees, the activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Afghan law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Afghanistan, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Project implementation
  • Marketing
  • Consulting

NATO and U.S. defense contractor employees may engage in professional activities without obtaining work authorization, although strict preconditions must be met. Please contact your immigration counsel prior to travel for more details.


If I am traveling to Afghanistan for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, and on the nature and duration of your work. Non-U.S. and NATO defense contractor employees who intend to engage in productive work activities must obtain a work permit and a work visa prior to travel.


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Other than NATO and U.S. defense contractors, there are no other nationalities or groups that are exempt from work authorization requirements in Afghanistan.

What else should I know? 

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.

Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.