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Visas for Tanzania & Kenya

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

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

Remember that if you’re flying in and out of Kenya, you will need a Kenyan visa too. These typically cost around US$50, though a transit visa is cheaper at just US$20. If you plan to fly to Kenya and cross into Tanzania from there, you can return to Kenya using the same single-entry Kenyan visa you arrived with providing your visit to Tanzania lasted for less than two weeks, and that your Kenyan visa has not expired. Apparently, you can do this only once (ie it acts as a double-entry visa, not a multiple-entry one). Or so we were told at the Kenyan border the last time we did this. Otherwise, you need to buy a multiple-entry visa, which typically costs double the single-entry.

NOTE THAT YOU HAVE TO BUY YOUR KENYAN VISA IN ADVANCE ONLINE NOW.

You can no longer pick one up on arrival. 

The website to visit can be found here: Kenyan evisa application

The process is painless and efficient but do note that you have to register and ‘create an account’ on the website. You also have to upload various images, including a passport photo, scan of your passport and proof of onward travel (flight or shuttle bus ticket). Remember to apply at least a week before you arrive in Kenya. 

Do note as well that, in my experience, they do not contact you to tell you that your visa has been processed. You have to log back onto the website and check that the process has been completed. You must then print off the visa and take it with you.

 

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