Living in Afghanistan

By | March 9, 2021

Afghanistan Everyday life

Currency: Afghani (AFN)

Exchange rate: 93.95 AFN per € (December 2020)

Time zone: UTC +4: 30

Country code (phone): +93

Climate (for capital): continental, arid to semi-arid steppe climate

Important instructions:

Afghanistan is a country located in southern Asia according to a2zcamerablog. The Federal Foreign Office expressly warns against traveling to Afghanistan!

At the moment nobody should travel to Afghanistan without a compelling reason!

The following practical advice is therefore more of a theoretical nature, taking into account the current security situation.

The Risk Management Office (RMO) handles all security-related matters for employees in German development cooperation, in particular GIZ, so that only the relevant guidelines and instructions from the RMO apply to them!

Entry and residence requirements

Foreign nationals are generally required to have a visa to enter and stay in Afghanistan. The visa must be applied for in person before the start of the journey, as no visa is issued upon entry. In addition to the visa application, a passport that is valid for at least six months (and a copy of it) and two passport photos are required. A processing time of around two weeks can currently be expected. The embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Berlin provides more detailed information on the visa procedure, the individual types of visa and their validity, as well as the fees incurred. Alternatively, the Consulates General of Afghanistan in Bonn and Munich can be contacted. You will find the relevant contact details in the “Useful addresses” section.

Housing and supply

Ornate house facade in Mazar-e Sharif Afghanistan

Ornate house facade in Mazar-e Sharif Afghanistan

Accommodation in Afghanistan can be found in almost all standards: from hotels in the higher price range to simply furnished guest houses. Of course, this only applies to the cities and here in particular to Kabul. Out of town, the selection is accordingly manageable and should not be considered for safety reasons. In high-end hotels, you can expect air conditioning, satellite television and the Internet. A continuous power supply should also be guaranteed, which is not a matter of course in the event of several hours of power failure.

Guest houses are usually converted private houses, each of which has a very different standard of equipment. Breakfast (bed & breakfast) is included in the price, additional meals must be paid for separately.

Daily necessities – and beyond – are easy to buy in the bazaar, but you should bring some time with you, because dealing with goods has its own rituals. But the larger stores (‘supermarkets’) in the cities have also adapted to the international clientele and geared their range accordingly, although fixed prices apply here and bargaining is unusual.

Business hours usually close at 7:00 p.m., but individual shops or markets may have extended opening times until after 9:00 p.m. Against this background, one should also pay attention to the national and religious holidays, as most of the shops are then closed.

You can now also find modern shopping centers like that Kabul City Center, which is completely atypical for the rest of the country and too expensive for most Afghans.

Money and money transfer

Front of the 100 Afghani note

Front of the 100 Afghani note

The Afghan currency is the Afghani (AFN); an afghani is divided into 100 pulses.

At the end of 2002 the old Afghani (AFA) was replaced by the new one (AFN). Since then, the banknotes have been available in the amounts 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 AFN as well as coins for 1, 2 and 5 AFN.

Back of the 100 Afghani note

Back of the 100 Afghani note

Banknotes and coins are issued by the Central Bank of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Officially, everything is paid in the local currency Afghani, but for larger amounts of money it is still common for US dollars and euros to be preferred. In areas near the border, such as Jalalabad and Kandahar, the currency of the Pakistani neighboring country is also accepted.

If you want to change your money, you can do this at money exchange stands on the street. This is sometimes quicker and less complicated than exchanging money at banks, but these ‘street swaps’ are not necessarily recommended, so the bank may be preferred after all.

However, you may also be able to exchange your money in hotels or larger shops. In the cities it is usually easy to exchange US dollars and euros, but it can be difficult with other currencies. For example, a currency converter determines the current exchange rate for the euro.

Credit cards are rarely accepted in Afghanistan, mostly in high-end hotels in Kabul or with airlines. At banks, however, you usually don’t get any cash on credit cards.

Little by little, however, ATMs such as the New Kabul Bank (NKB) and Afghanistan International Bank (AIB) are also finding their way into Kabul, accepting Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Depending on the machine and its ‘individual working hours’, US dollars or Afghanis are issued.

Banks generally do not accept travelers checks.

The bank opening hours are Monday to Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Open on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday is closed and therefore closed.

The import and export of the local currency is limited to 500 afghanis.