Timor-Leste (or East Timor) is the youngest nation in Asia, having gained independence in 2002. As such, it is not on too many people’s top destinations. Additionally, except citizens of Schengen countries, nearly everyone else who visits needs to apply for a Timor-Leste visa before they travel.

But Timor-Leste does have a fair amount of what to offer tourists, from beautiful sceneries to sandy beaches, to the laid-back lifestyle and friendly people.

If you are planning a trip, this article will detail the Timor-Leste visa policy.

Who Needs a Timor-Leste Visa?

Nearly everyone who intends to visit Timor-Leste has to get a visa, except citizens of the Schengen Zone, Indonesia, and Cape Verde.

  • Nationals of Indonesia and Cape Verde can visit Timor-Leste without a visa for up to 30 days. They can extend their stay once to get an additional 30 days.
  • Citizens from the Schengen States can stay in Timor-Leste without a visa for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period.

Types of Timor-Leste Visas

The main types of visas issued by the Timor Leste government are:

  • Timor-Leste Tourist Visa. The tourist visa for East Timor is a Class I visa, issued to visa-required nationals who want to travel for short-term tourism purposes.
  • Timor-Leste Business Visa. This is also a Class I visa, issued to foreign nationals who intend to visit Timor-Leste for short-term business-related reasons.
  • Timor-Leste Transit Visa (Class II). This type of visa is issued to visa-required nationals who must switch flights or transit through Timor-Leste on their way to another country. It is valid for a maximum 72 hours.
  • Timor-Leste Student Visa (Class III). For foreign nationals who want to study in an East Timor educational institution.
  • Cultural, Scientific, Sporting or Media (Class IV). Issued to members of the media travelling for work, or foreign nationals who are travelling for the aforementioned reasons.
  • Work Visa. Issued to foreign nationals who have found employment in Timor-Leste.

What Are the Required Documents for a Timor-Leste Visa?

The documents you will need to submit for a Timor-Leste Visa application are:

  • Visa Application Form. You can download the form on the Immigration Service website (here) or from the relevant Embassy website.
  • Proof of accommodation in Timor-Leste.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to sustain yourself.
  • Proof of a return or onward travel ticket.
  • Payment for the visa fee.
  • Any additional documents that prove the purpose of your stay.

Note: The documents can change depending on the embassy or consulate in which you apply.

How to Apply for a Timor-Leste Visa?

You can apply for a Timor Leste visa at one of its Embassies or Consulates abroad:

  1. Contact the nearest Embassy/Consulate. You can find a list of the Timor-Leste diplomatic missions here.
  2. Inquire about the application method*.
  3. Submit the required documents and pay the visa fee. You may have to apply for the visa in person or through the mail.
  4. Wait for the visa to be processed.
  5. You will receive the Timor-Leste Visa Authorization.
  6. You can use this to enter Timor-Leste through any of its land borders or airports.

*The process for applying for a visa to East Timor can change slightly from country to country, depending on the consular office handling your application. This is why your first step is to get in touch with the closest embassy or consulate.

Applying for a long-term visa

If you need to apply for a long-term visa, such as a student or work visa, you have to enter Timor Leste with a regular Class I visa first. Once you are in the country, you can apply for the relevant visa (study, employment, etc) at the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dili.

What Is the Cost of a Timor-Leste Visa?

The visa for Timor-Leste is USD 30, either at the Embassy/Consulate or on arrival. The transit visa is USD 20.

What Is the Duration of a Timor Leste Visa?

The Timor-Leste visa is issued for 30 days or a maximum 90 days. It is valid for up to one year, for either a single-entry or multiple entries.

Can I Extend a Timor Leste Visa?

If you want to stay longer than your visa allows, you can apply for a visa extension at the Immigration Service Offices in Dili before it expires. You will have to pay a fee, corresponding to the extension: USD 35 to extend the visa for 30 days or US$75 to extend it for up to 60 days.

You cannot extend a transit visa.

Timor-Leste Transit Visa

You need a Timor-Leste transit visa if:

  • You will change between two international flights on a Timor Leste airport
  • You need to transit through the territory of Timor Leste on your way to a third country

The Timor-Leste transit visa is valid for a single entry, up to 72 hours from the time you enter the country. You can apply for a Timor-Leste visa at the Embassy or Consulate before you travel.

Can I Get a Timor-Leste Visa on Arrival?

There is conflicting information regarding the option of getting an East Timor Visa on Arrival. Certain Timor Leste embassies maintain that you can apply for the VOA at the Dili Airport and Sea Port, with no mention the Visa Authorization.

According to the US Department of State, travellers to Timor Leste only need to apply for prior Visa Authorization at the Timor Leste Embassy if they will enter the country through one of its land borders. If they enter through the Dili Airport or Dili Sea Port, they can just get the visa there.

The Immigration Services of Timor Leste, on the other hand, along with IATA (International Air Transport Association) claim that the Visa Authorization is required even when applying at Dili Airport or Sea Port.

In any case, your best bet is to contact the nearest East Timor Embassy or Consulate so as to receive more concrete information regarding your specific case. There may be differences based on countries.

If you can apply for a visa on arrival at Dili Airport or at the Dili Sea Port, you must fulfil all Timor Leste visa and entry requirements:

  • Have a passport that’s valid for at least another six months. The passport must have at least one blank page.
  • Pay the Visa on Arrival Fee (USD 30)
  • You must have the necessary financial requirements:
    • USD 100 for each entry into Timor Leste
    • USD 50 for each day you intend to stay in Timor Leste
  • You must submit proof of accommodation in Timor Leste (hotel reservation, etc)
  • You must submit proof you intend to depart the country within the visa validity period (return or onward travel ticket)