Tanzanian visas (and Kenyan visas)

Visas for Tanzania

It’s a question that we still get asked a lot. I am climbing Kilimanjaro, so do I need a visa for Tanzania? And if so, how do I get one?

The simple answer to the first question is: yes, very probably. You probably will need a Tanzanian visa to enter the country.

Note, there are quite a few countries who do not require a visa for Tanzania.  Click on this link for a list of countries that do NOT require a visa for Tanzania.(Look halfway down the page and you’ll find it.)

The list looks long but the countries on it are, on the whole, rather small. This list also consists largely (but not exclusively) of those countries that are Tanzania’s neighbours. The majority of people, therefore, are required to get a visa. 

How much does a Tanzanian visa cost?

Visitors from most countries must pay US$50 for their visa. This includes most of Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Visitors from the United States, however, must fork out US$100 for a multiple-entry visa.

A visa is typically valid for 90 days from the date of issue. (Note it is not valid from the day you arrive in Tanzania. That said, I have to say some airport officials don’t seem to recognize this). It used to be the case that officially you had to buy your Tanzanian visa at the consulate/embassy beforehand. That law was never really enforced, however.

Should you buy your visa in advance or at the airport?

Most people can buy their Tanzanian visa at the airport on arrival. Only citizens of the following countries cannot: 

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan. Bangladesh, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Palestine, Senegal, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Refugees and Stateless individuals.

The question is: should you buy your visa in advance? Or should you wait until your plane touches down on Tanzanian soil, and pick it up then?

Well, we used to recommend that people pick up their visas at the airport on arrival. The process was quick and as long as you headed straight for the visa window on arrival, the queues weren’t too bad either.

But the main reason that we recommended picking your visa up at the airport was because the online visa-buying system was terrible. It was unreliable, it was clunky, and it was inefficient. It would ask you a huge ream of questions. But if you paused momentarily to answer one, the system would freeze and you would have to start again.

These days, however, the online visa portal for Tanzania is much more efficient. Thus, nowadays we recommend buy their visa online. 

The portal to buy your e-visa can be found here: Tanzanian online visa application

Can I buy my visa at any airport or border crossing?

The short answer is: no. You can pick up a visa only at one of the following border controls:

  • Dar es Salaam International Airport
  • Kilimanjaro International Airport
  • Zanzibar International Airport
  • The Namanga border crossings between Tanzania and Kenya. The Namanga crossing is the one that lies between Nairobi and Arusha. So if you’ve flown to Nairobi and are planning on taking a bus to Tanzania, this is the point where you’ll cross the border. 

Why do we recommend the online system?

  • Because it seems like a fairly straightforward, trouble-free process now.
  • Because it doesn’t cost you any extra to buy your visa by this method.
  • And because, as we say above, officially you should have a visa before you arrive. Previously, I think that the airports were happy to continue selling visas to visitors at the airport because, secretly, they recognised that the online system was rubbish. But with the improvements in that system, it’s no longer a hassle to pick up a visa in advance. So there’s a chance the Tanzanians will, one day, just stop issuing visas at the airport.

Note that, whatever method you use to buy your visa, you must have at least six months left on your passport. 

One other thing: in addition to a visa, you may also require a yellow fever certificate. It’s basically a piece of paper that proves you’ve had an inoculation against the disease. To find out if you need one of these too, please follow this link to our yellow fever inoculation for Tanzania page.

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Kenyan visas

UPDATE JANUARY 2024: AS OF THE 1ST OF JANUARY 2024, TOURISTS NO LONGER REQUIRE A VISA FOR KENYA. ALL NATIONALITIES ARE INCLUDED, AND YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STAY FOR A MAXIMUM OF 90 DAYS.

HOWEVER, YOU DO STILL NEED AN ELECTRONIC TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION, OR ETA, WHICH YOU CAN PICK UP ONLINE PRIOR TO TRAVEL ONLINE. THIS COSTS US$30.

You can apply for your ETA by following this link to the official page for Electronic Travel Authorization.  

There will be those who say that nothing has really changed except the name: Where previously you needed a visa, now you need an ETA.

But you still have to apply in advance online, still have to provide personal details, and still have to pay.

So on a practical level, things are much the same as before.

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