Obtaining a Tanzanian Visa in 2023
Nearly all climbers who are not East African residents are required to obtain a visa for Tanzania. There are a few exceptions to this rule, with some countries having reciprocal visa-free relationships with Tanzania. To ensure that you have up to date information with respect to the requirements of passport holders of your nationality, we recommend using the Passport Index website.
Happily, the process of obtaining a visitor's visa for Tanzania is nowadays very straightforward. There are two ways to do it: online in advance of travel, and on arrival.
Obtaining Your Tanzanian Visa Online
If you have time to plan ahead, it is recommended to obtain your visa online - both to avoid the queue for visa applications on arrival, and also for peace of mind. However, if you fail to do this and need to buy your visa at the airport when you arrive, it may be comforting to know that amongst more than 10,000 Team Kilimanjaro climbers, we have only ever had one client who was denied entry and required to return on the plane he'd arrived on, back to his home country in Egypt. This was around 15 years ago.
Please note that the visa application can only be made within three months of the date of travel.
Completing your Visa Application Online
Most of the correct responses to the form fields will be obvious, however, to assist in eliminating stress and uncertainty, the following are our suggested responses.
In this example, the climber arrives on 1st January 2021, starts a 7 day climb the following morning, and departs on their return flight the day after the climb ends:
Note: US citizens should select "Multiple Entry" for the "Type of visa" field.
For the following section, since you will not remain in one place during your trip, but may begin at a hotel, then spend time on the mountain and then perhaps on safari and thereafter be in a hotel again, you are technically "self-hosted" because you are effectively paying consecutive suppliers to "host" you.
You won't be penalised for slightly "wrong" answers, however, the option "Tanzanian citizen" usually refers to a personal invitation to stay with a friend in-country, whereas "Organization" would normally refer to something like the United Nations, if you were coming over as part of a delegation.
Note that since the majority of our climbers stay at the Outpost Lodge, it is simplest administratively to state this as your "accommodation" since the staff at the Outpost remain in regular contact with us and are well qualified to assist in the event of any query or need to work with us in "tracking you down" while not in Arusha. Immigration understands that you may use several different hotels and lodges while within Tanzania. They simply need a single physical point of contact in the event of there ever being an emergency.
Again, the following question ordinarily refers to a delegation. Please answer no to these questions, except of course to the second question, for those travelling with children:
Finally, before the declaration and payment, you'll need to upload a passport-sized head shot, and a scan of the photo-page of your passport. This section requires a little preparation, particularly as the file upload maximum size allowance is unusually ungenerous. You'll therefore need to reduce the file size of most images before attempting this section.
Also, since you are required to evidence having obtained a return ticket, or else an onward flight or travel arrangements out of Tanzania again, if you have these in a form other than PDF, you should simply go through the motions of printing whatever you have, but select the "save as PDF" option, rather than printing onto paper.
Visa Application on Arrival
If flying direct to Tanzania it is possible to purchase your visa on arrival at the kiosk on the right hand side of the arrivals foyer at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Bear in mind, however, that since Tanzanian Immigration advises obtaining an eVisa in advance of travel, technically, there is no guarantee of entry if attempting to obtain the visa on arrival.
For some reason, visitor's visas cost USD 100 to US citizens, and USD 50 to most other nationalities.
Completing your Visa Application Card on Arrival
When completing the visa application card on arrival some of the answers to the questions asked are not obvious and will differ somewhat from the digital series of questions on the eVisa. Below are suggested responses:
- Type of visa applied: Tourist
- Port of entry: JRO (if arriving to Kilimanjaro International Airport) /
- Namanga (if arriving by Shuttle Bus from Nairobi)
- Means of financial support: Cash and credit cards
- Reference in Tanzania: Outpost Lodge, PO Box 11520, Arusha, Tanzania
- NB: climbers staying at different hotels may still state Outpost as a reference.
- Tel: + 255 27 254 8405
- Fax: + 255 27 255 3242
Some climbers are nationals of countries that are not automatically able to obtain a visa online, and who certainly cannot obtain a visa on arrival. The following is the list of "referral visa" countries:
- Equatorial Guinea
- Kazakhstan Republic
- Kyrgystan Republic
- Sri Lanka
- Somali land
- Sierra Leone
- Stateless persons or persons with refugee status
Best way to obtain a referral visa for Tanzania
In our experience, climbers from these countries who attempt to apply for their own referral visas using the standard online procedure invariably fail - even if we provide them with a letter of invitation and assist them with the application process. Typically, we are then asked subsequently to approach Immigration and ask them to review their decision - which delays the overall process and increases costs payable to an Immigration Consultant.
It is therefore our strong recommendation that if you are a national of a referral visa country that you do not make a direct application yourself, but that you contract the only Immigration Consultant here in Arusha that in our experience has so far always succeeded in obtaining a referral visa for our clients. This consultant has an excellent track record and can usually obtain a positive result within 2-3 weeks (depending on the country of issue of the applicants' passports) of receiving all requested documentation from the applicant. We ask, however, that you please apply some 2-3 months ahead of your intended travel, if possible.
The cost for contracting an Immigration Consultant tends to be around USD 250 to USD 300 per applicant.
Note that we are only able to assist with obtaining referral visas for our own clients that are booked to climb Kilimanjaro with us, as we are required to provide documentation in support of each application. If you are not booking a climb or safari with Team Kilimanjaro and would like assistance with obtaining a referral visa, please contact Alice via this WhatsApp link and tell her that you have been referred by Team Kilimanjaro and would be grateful for a preferential rate.