This site is for Timbuktu specifically but here is included some information on the formalities required to get into Mali.

It seems that the requirements and costs for a visa vary depending on what embassy you apply at. It may get complicated but here is the information I have been able to find out. I hope it helps.

Who DOES NOT need a visa to Mali:

Citizens of member countries of the ECOWAS : Algeria, Andorra, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, and Tunisia


Citizens of member countries of the CEDEAO: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cap Vert, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

A valid identity card or passport is acceptable. There may be a small fee at the border when you show your passport (1000-2500 f cfa, although this may not be official)

EVERYONE else NEEDS a visa, According to the 2007 tourist brochure published by OMATHO (Office Malian de Tourism et de l'Hotellerie), "It is possible to obtain en entry visa from the border police posts and the Bamako, Mopti and Timbuktu airports." Which seems to indicate that anyone can, despite nationality, but you may get hassled if the immigration officer is in the mood. It is also important to note that even if you are not required to have a visa before entering the country many AIRPORTS won’t let you board without a visa for your country of destination, because if you are not accepted in the country the airline is responsible for shipping you back to your point of departure. However it is definitely true that getting a visa at the Bamako airport is a matter of course. Visit the immigration office before passing thought the line. It will cost 15,000 f cfa for a three month visa. Sometimes their photocopy machine is broken so they will give you a receipt and the following day you must go to the immigration offices in town to get your official Visa sticker in your passport bring two id photos.

Citizens of countries who are supposed to have a visa before entry can get their visas by going to, or sending their passport and the appropriate fees and application to the Malian embassy in their country of origin. If your country of origin has no Malian embassy you may send to a neighbouring country such as France or Germany for a visa. It is also a simple process to get a visa to Mali from another African country if you are already on the continent. See the list of countries with Malian embassies

Travellers choosing not to get a visa in advance may simply present their passport at the point of entry (Bamako, Mopti or Gao airports or the commissariat of the first town after crossing the border). The fee is 5000 f cfa for a one month, single entry visa. 15,000 for three months. The Imigration office at Senou airport in Bamako now charges 15,000 for a visa but you do get the three months visa for it. If thier copy machine is not working they may just give you a receipt that you should then take to the imigration office along with the application form and two photos and they will put a fancy sticker visa with a digital photo of you in your passport instead of the stamped ones you get at the border crossings.

Rule of thumb: get your visa before entering if at all possible; it cuts down on hassle and stress. If you are travelling overland it is a simple matter to get a visa from a Malian embassy in one of the neighbouring countries. It is also often cheaper than going through the embassy in your country of origin.

Here is some info on getting visas
REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION -this is more strict when applying to embassies in “western” countries but it is best to be prepared. The first four items are a must.
A valid passport
Two (2) recent passport-size photographs (Please glue them on the application forms)
Two (2) completed application forms (if you apply in person you will receive this when you go in to apply; to apply by mail you can use the visa form here to send in the the embassy of your choice.)
A copy of the yellow fever certificate
A copy of an airline itinerary or a flight ticket (if arriving departing by plane)
Applicants for a transit visa must submit copies of their onward tickets and visas to their destinations.
Tourists must submit copies of their hotel reservation
The appropriate fee
If your visa is for business purposes you must submit a company cover letter with the purpose of the trip.
If you are travelling with children who are on your passport you will need to supply their photos as well.

1 month single entry
3 months single entry
3 months multiple entries
6 months multiple entries
1 year multiple entries
These can be had for tourism or business.

The Immigration Office of the Malian Embassy in the USA is open from 09:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m.  Monday to Friday except on public holidays. All visa applications are processed within five (5) working days. Incomplete applications may cause delay in processing. Applicants may pick up their passports at the Embassy or send a prepaid self-addressed express envelope (It is recommended that applicant send a return envelop with a tracking number to be able to track the envelop.)

The consular office of the Malian Embassy in Canada is open from 09:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. Monday to Friday except on public holidays. All visa applications are processed the same day or within 48 hours. Applicants may pick up their passports at the embassy or send a prepaid self-addressed envelope.

The visa fee should be paid in cash (if you are there in person. Do not send cash through the mail), money order (payable to the Embassy of Mali) or certified check.  Personal checks will not be accepted.

Visa Type USA ($USD) Canada ($CAD) France (€ Euro) Japan (¥ Yen) Russia (Roubles)
For US citizens all visas are $100 for other nationalities see below
1 month single entry 100 70
3 month single entry $80 150 7500 ¥ 1087
3 month multiple entry $110 250
6 month multiple entry $200 350
1 year multiple entry $370 500
rush order fee $10

If your country of residence does not have a Malian Embassy you may send your passport to a neighbouring country that does have one. See the list of countries with Malian embassies for the embassy nearest you.

Extending Visas If your decide to stay more than a month it is a simple matter to extend your visa for one or three month periods. Take your passport to the Commissariat of Police in any Regional Capital. It is 5000 for a one month visa and 15000 for a three month. However DO NOT let your visa EXPIRE, if you renew it after it is expired it can cost 150,000 f CFA!

Car Visas” To bring your own vehicle into Mali you must complete the formalities at the first point of entry. You can get a two week pass (laisser passe tourisitique) and renew it once without paying import duties the fee is around 20,000 f cfa. If you plan to be in Mali more than a month it is easier to exit the country for a night and re-enter than to renew again. In any case you will need a carte grise that is an international registration certificate issued by AA or RAC stating the owner, country of registration, registration number, and the numbers of the chassis and engine. If the car is not in your name you will also need a notarized document from the owner giving you permission to use it (attestation du proprietaire). You should have an international driver’s licence, motor vehicle insurance and hazard kit (warning triangles, fire extinguisher etc). For more information on driving in Mali see the page on Transport and Driving Tips or these websites:

AA Ireland
AAA australia
NewZealand AA

Registering with your embassy
This is a simple process that can be completed online before you travel. You fill out a form giving your arrival and departure dates if possible and address and contact information while in the country. This permits your foreign services to know you are there and get information to you in case of an emergency, or assist you with evacuation in case of turmoil.

If your country of origin does not have one, you may be able to use another country’s embassy, see list of embassies in Mali

Government Travel Advice

Austrailan Department of the Foreign Affairs
Britsh Foreign and Common Wealth Offices
Canadien Department of Foreign Affairs
US State Department Travel Advice