The Serengeti Migration. Swahili Coastal Culture. The Maasai Tribe. Zanzibar Spice Islands. The Ngorongoro Crater. Stone Town Architecture. Paje nightlife.
There are literally hundreds of reasons to visit this east African country - and we just listed 7 of them to get you started. Tanzania is a diverse East African gem, making it a destination that equally caters to the nature lover, adventurer, party animal and beachgoer.
But before you can step foot into this country as an American citizen, you need to be approved for a visa. In this blog post, I'll outline what visa you should get, how to apply, and the process of receiving and using your visa. This post is based on my experience applying for a visa in September 2023.
Types of Visas for Tanzania
There are 5 types of visas foreigners can obtain to enter Tanzania.
Student Visa - for travelers studying at an accredited institution in Tanzania.
Business Visa - for travelers conducting business with Tanzanian entities.
Multiple Entry Visa - for travelers looking to travel between the mainland and nearby islands.
Transit Visa - for travelers passing through Tanzania with another country as the final destination.
Ordinary Visa - for travelers entering Tanzania who will not be traveling between the mainland and nearby islands.
Why Choose a Multiple Entry Visa
The multiple entry visa is a popular choice among tourists because you can apply for an e-Visa and be approved before your trip instead of applying on arrival. Additionally, the multiple entry visa allows tourist to travel freely between Tanzania's mainland port in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Preparing Your Application
You should always apply for your visa directly from the Tanzanian Immigration Services website. After you make an account, you will need information regarding your passport, flight information, hotel accommodations, reason for travel, career, emergency contact information, address, and much more. Thankfully, you can save and return to your application later on if you don't have everything you need right away. All spaces on the application are required so don't skip anything, it will only delay your application process!
Travel insurance is not required to enter Tanzania but it is highly recommended incase of unpredictable circumstances during your trip.
Submitting Your Application
Once you complete your application, you will be directed to the payment page were you must pay a fee based on the application you're applying for.
Student Visa - $50-$550
Business Visa - $250
Multiple Entry Visa - $100
Transit Visa - $39
Ordinary Visa - $50
These fees are non-refundable, even if your application is declined. This is another reason why you should save and come back to your application to ensure all the information is entered correctly. Tanzanian Immigration Services accepts MasterCard and. Visa as forms of payment.
Your Visa Interview
Thankfully, I was not required to interview for my visa application, but the Tanzanian government can ask for an interview at any time including on arrival in the country.
How to use your Visa
Once you're approved, you will receive an email from Tanzanian Immigration Services with a downloadable PDF containing your visa. I was approved within 48 hours. Keep a copy of it in an easily accessible place so it's easy to grab when you arrive in Tanzania. I like to use Google Drive for this because you can access your documents offline without service.
You will need to present your visa at various point including going through immigration at any Tanzanian airport and using the ferries between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. As a rule of thumb, you should also carry a copy of it with you while you're exploring the country.
Visa on Arrival
It is best to apply for your visa before you travel, just incase there is something wrong with your travel documents. If you like to be prepared before traveling, then you should also consider applying for your visa before you arrive. However, life happens! If you run out of time and need to get your visa as you arrive in Tanzania, you can!
There are multiple lines for visas when you approach border control at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar. The first line is where you fill out your paperwork and get it approved by a travel authority officer. Once you have your visa papers, you will need to enter a second line where you pay your visa fee. Lastly, the third line is where you get your official stamp on your passport to enter the country. If you apply for an e-Visa, all you need to do is enter the third line for the stamp (skipping lines 1 and 2!)
Hopefully this blog post helped you better understand how U.S. citizens can get a tourist visa for Tanzania & Zanzibar. Comment below if you're planning a trip here and tell me about your favorite travel moment in Tanzania when you get back.