Angola - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel. 

Last published date: 2021-09-08

Business Customs

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.

Travel Advisory

Currently, anyone arriving in Angola is subject to a mandatory self-quarantine. The required number of days in quarantine has been adapted over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is publicized each month.


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 two 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 should be issued to U.S. citizens.

For the most current details on visa application requirements, U.S. travelers should consult the Angolan 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.

Currency

Credit card use (Visa, Mastercard and American Express only) is limited to the major hotels with few service providers or retailers accepting credit cards. Most banks offer ATM machines, though not all, accept international credit cards. In general, Angola is primarily a cash economy and companies operating in Angola are required to charge only in local currency, the kwanza. Currency exchange services are available at the airport, currency exchange houses, and major hotels. While major hotels can procure cars, drivers and translators for business customers, few hotels will include the charges for such services in the hotel bill; therefore, customers may need to arrange direct payment in local currency.

Telecommunications/Electronics

Telecommunications:  Angola’s telecommunications infrastructure continues to improve.  International cellular and voice over internet services are common in Luanda and other major cities.

According to Internet World Stats (IWS), as of 2020 Angola had an estimated 8.9 million internet users representing approximately 24 percent of the population (33 million) compared to a sub-Saharan Africa regional average of 72% and with a penetration forecast to reach 73% in 2023.   Most use mobile phones rather than home computers to access the internet; mobile broadband access is available to just 16 percent of the population (2018 ITU).”

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.

Angola’s two main cellular phone operators, Unitel and Movicel, provide service to all provincial capitals and most towns. Visiting business representatives can purchase a mobile phone number easily and affordably for coordination of in-country business meetings as required. On July 7, 2020 Africell Global Holding Ltd was awarded a telecommunications operator license for the provision of public electronic communications services in Angola and is expected to begin service in late 2021.

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.

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 USD 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.

Air Transportation

Most air traffic to Angola arrives at the 4 de Fevereiro International Airport in Luanda. International carriers serving the Angola market include: Air France-KLM, Brussel Airlines, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, Royal Air Maroc, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways. Turkish Airlines is planning to initiate operating flights connecting Ankara to Luanda in 2021 - 2022. For domestic flights, national flagship TAAG Airlines and Sonangol’s SonAir are available, although TAAG also operates international flights, linking Luanda to other regional airports on the continent.

Language

Portuguese is the official language of Angola. Few Angolans speak English at a level appropriate for business transactions, particularly in the government.  Therefore, an interpreter is usually necessary. The daily rate for qualified interpreters ranges from USD 500-700 equivalent in local currency.

The U.S. Commercial Service Angola can schedule an interpreter for U.S. companies to support contracted Gold Key and other contracted service meetings and programs.

Health

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. 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.  Information on Medical Assistance is available at the US Embassy Angola website: https://ao.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-for-u-s-citizens/medical-assistance/

The Health Unit of the U.S. Embassy does not recommend invasive procedures or anything requiring sedation unless in an emergency situation.  The quality of nursing care is extremely lacking.  Nurses are poorly trained/educated and their autonomy is restricted. There is no medical school in the country.   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.  Few facilities accept credit cards. Only Luanda Medical Center allows payment by Mastercard/Visa.

Few physicians speak English, but Spanish comprehension is not unsual given its proximity to Portuguese.  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. Anti-malaria medications are also strongly recommended. Counterfeit medications are common, especially malaria meds, so travelers should check options (daily, weekly or monthly doses) and secure supplies from their country of origin. 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.

Travelers to Angola should research current vaccination and COVID testing requirements prior to travel as they do change as conditions change.

At the time of this writing, the PCR test is required within 72 hours of the initial flight to Angola and testing on arrival at the Luanda Airport is required.

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. 

2021 Calendar Year

January 01                           New Year’s Day

February 04                         Start of Liberation War

February 16                         Carnival

March 08                             International Women’s Day

March 23                             Day of the Liberation of Southern Africa

April 02                               Good Friday

April 04                               Peace and Reconciliation Day Angola

May 01                                Labor Day

September 17                      Nation’s Founder Day and National Heroes Day

November 02                      All Souls Day

November 11                      Independence Day

December 25                      Christmas Day (note: December 24 and 31st are usually a half days)

 

2022 Calendar Year

January 01                           New Year’s Day

February 04                         Start of Liberation War

March  01                            Carnival

March 08                             International Women’s Day

March 23                            Day of the Liberation of Southern Africa

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  (note: December 24 and 31st are usually a half days)

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.

Travel Related Resources

US Department of State – Travel Information

U.S. Embassy Angola - Consular Services for American Citizens

Angolan Government Migration and Foreigners Service (SME)

Embassy of Angola in the United States

Ministry of Health Angola