Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
U.S. companies serious about the Angolan market need to dedicate time and attention to develop direct contacts with local distributors and clients. Building technical and after-sales service capacity in Angola is also important to business success. Angola holds strong historic ties to Portugal, but rather than sales through this channel, the most effective business contacts and success are direct establishment of Angolan-based distributors or partners. U.S. companies with Portuguese or Brazilian sales can effectively leverage these marketing and staff resources as they expand into Angola. Angolan buyers report that sales through South African distributors can increase costs, cause delivery delays, and often result in poor after-sales service. Western business practices including the use of business cards are the norm. Many Angolan company and government representatives use email addresses through third countries and international service providers due to the unreliable email service through Angolan providers.
Several business class hotels exist in Angola and are mostly concentrated in Luanda. Internet service is available in major business hotels but is generally slower than in the United States. There are some internet cafes in Luanda and in most provincial capitals.
Business appointments, especially with government officials, are often not confirmed until hours before the appointment time, making advance planning challenging. Companies should be prepared to be flexible. Business travelers who intend to spend extended time in Angola are highly encouraged to obtain a local mobile telephone for use while in Angola.
For details on Angola travel safety and health please review the requirements at U.S. Department of State – Travel Information (US Department of State – Travel Information).
For Angola specific information about COVID-19 please visit: https://ao.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
Acquiring an Angolan visa can be a lengthy process. Business travelers should begin arrangements well in advance of planned travel dates. U.S. citizens are required to obtain visas before arriving to Angola, and visa approvals may take several weeks, although an on-line visa application process (see below) has been implemented. The Angolan Government can require that the applicant apply for a visa in their country of citizenship, unless residency can be established in a third country. For business travelers, an invitation letter is required with the visa application from the business visitor’s primary in-country business contact. For clients of the U.S Commercial Service utilizing contracted services such as a Gold Key, the U.S. Embassy Angola can issue an invitation letter upon request.
Over the last three years, the Government of Angola implemented an online visa application process, which reduces the time to obtain a visa. On May 23, 2019 the Angolan Government announced the Border Visa, which officially entered into effect on July 22, 2019. This new visa process allows for foreigners to apply on-line, receive approval and obtain a visa at the Angolan border point of entry under some circumstances. For more details, please visit the Government of Angola Immigration Services’ website.
According to U.S.-Angolan Government reciprocal arrangements, a 2-year multi-entry visa can be issued to U.S. citizens.
For the most current details on visa application requirements, U.S. travelers should consult the Angola Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the closest consulate in Houston, Texas, or New York, New York.
Angola requires proof of a valid Yellow Fever vaccine before allowing entry into the country, so travelers should have their yellow International Immunization Card ready to present upon arrival.
U.S. companies with Angolan business contacts who plan on travel to the United States should direct them to the U.S. Embassy Angola website for visa application details.
Telecommunications: Angola’s telecommunications infrastructure continues to improve. International cellular and voice over internet services are common in Luanda and other major cities.
Angola Cable, a multinational telecommunications consortium is composed of majority shareholder Angola Telecom, Unitel, MSTelecom, Movicel and Startel. The consortium built the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), a submarine cable linkage between Luanda and Forteleza, Brazil, in mid-2019. The SACS was designed to reduce the data transmission latency between Africa and the U.S. by connecting to the Monet Cable System, (Brazil to the U.S.). Angola Cable is also part of West Africa Cable System (WACS) consortium, a submarine communications cable running along the west coast of Africa, and up to Europe. American-owned Africell recently launched telecommunications service, adding competition to Angola’s two other key cellular phone operators, Unitel and Movicel.
Visiting business representatives can purchase a mobile phone number easily and affordably for coordination of in-country business meetings as required.
Electric: Electrical outlets in Angola supply electricity at 220-240 volts AC. Outlets accommodate European standard electrical socket types: The “Type C” Europlug, “Type E” and “Type F” Schuko Transportation.
Taxis are available in Luanda, but for safety reasons only pre-arranged bookings with established taxi companies are recommended. Most business travelers hire a car and driver. Luanda is a congested city with heavy traffic, especially during the morning and late afternoon rush hours. Public transportation, including informal street taxis, is not considered safe. Several licensed transportation companies operate 24/7 and have some English language capacity. The current rate for a car with driver is equivalent to approximately US$ 150 per day payable in kwanza. Credit card payments are not accepted by taxi companies; currency exchange services are available at the airport and major hotels.
The general condition of roads and related infrastructure is poor, even within the city limits of Luanda. Gasoline is available in most urban areas. Rental cars are available for hire in Luanda and some major provincial cities. Driving outside of metropolitan areas can be dangerous due to poor road conditions, especially at night.
As in the United States, Angolan rental car agencies have price schedules that vary depending upon length of rental and class of car. Most prices include insurance. An international driver’s license is not required, but is recommended. Hiring a local driver is highly recommended, as driving through unmarked streets, confusing routes, and dangerous traffic can be a daunting task for a visiting traveler.
The U.S. Commercial Service Angola can schedule a vehicle and driver for U.S. companies to support contracted Gold Key and other contracted service meetings and programs.
Most air traffic to Angola arrives at the 4 de Fevereiro International Airport in Luanda. International carriers serving the Angola market include: Air France, TAAG Angola Airlines, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Lufthansa Airlines, South African Airways, Brussels Airlines, LAM-Linhas Areas de Mocambique, TAP Portugal, KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Air and Royal Air Maroc. For domestic flights, TAAG and SonAir are also available to Luanda and other regional airports in the country.
Medical facilities and services are available in Angola. While still limited, the quality of healthcare is improving with the expansion of private medical clinics and hospitals including: Girassol, Sagrada Esperança, Multiperfil, and the Luanda Medical Center. In case of emergency, those experiencing a health emergency, should have someone drive them to a hospital as ambulance wait times can be lengthy.
The Health Unit of the U.S. Embassy does not recommend invasive procedures or anything requiring sedation unless in an emergency situation. Nursing care, the purpose of monitored hospital care and critical for good outcomes, is extremely lacking in quality. Nurses are poorly trained/educated and autonomy is restricted. Health professional standards and education levels are highly variable. It is important to vet each provider of health services.
Payment for services is generally required before delivery of services. Medical providers will accept U.S. dollars or local currency. Few facilities accept credit cards. Adequate care for medical emergencies is limited to Luanda, where there are some good private clinics that usually have 24-hour service provided by a physician with specialists on call. According to Angolan law, all healthcare facilities are forbidden to accept US$. Only Luanda Medical Center allows payment by Mastercard/Visa.
A list of physicians is available at the US Embassy Angola website.
Few physicians speak English, but due to the heavy concentration of Cuban physicians in Angola, Spanish is common. Routine surgeries such as appendectomies can be performed. Local pharmacies provide a limited supply of prescriptions and over-the-counter medication, but travelers should carry an adequate supply of properly labeled medications routinely require when living in or visiting Angola.
Travelers to Angola should consult the CDC guidance webpage for travel.
Angola requires proof of a valid Yellow Fever vaccine before allowing entry into the country, so travelers should have their yellow International Immunization Card ready to present upon arrival. Anti-malaria medications are also strongly recommended.
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Throughout the year, Standard Time in Angola is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Generally, business hours are weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Most offices observe a five-day week, but many stores are open on Saturdays and Sundays. All banks are open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and some banks operate on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Below are listed Public Holidays for the 2021 calendar year. Many companies and government offices observe a “bridge” holiday on Monday or Friday when the official holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday.
2022 Calender Year
January 01 New Year’s Day
February 04 Start of Liberation War
March 01 Carnival
March 08 International Women’s Day
March 23 Battle of Cuito Cuanavale Day
April 04 Peace and Reconciliation Day Angola
April 15 Good Friday
May 01 Labor Day
November 02 All Souls Day
November 11 Independence Day
December 25 Christmas Day
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
The temporary entry of goods or equipment into Angola is permitted for up to 12 months and can be renewed for up to 12 additional months. Temporary imports must be accompanied by all normal customs documents and are subject to a deposit to Angolan Customs of 100 percent of the duties and taxes on the declared value were it to have been imported normally. Regulations state that Angolan Customs refunds this deposit within three months after the temporarily imported goods are exported from Angola.
Temporary imports for display at a trade show should also be accompanied by a letter from the show organizer verifying participation in the event. Depending on the product, a pre-shipment inspection may be required. The customs deposit may be waived for official trade shows when accompanied by a formal letter from the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
Angola does not accept Carnet for the temporary import of goods.