There are endless reasons to visit Tanzania – wildlife-filled safaris, stunning beaches and Africa's tallest mountain are just a few reasons this beautiful country should be on every bucket list.

In the northern part of the country, you'll see different species of wild animals everywhere you look on the endless plains of the Serengeti. It's said that during the great migration between June and September, you can see as many as 30,000 animals on a single safari.

Not far away stands Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro, a mountain climber’s dream come to life. And it's not the only one on offer! The six-hour trek to the rim of Ol Doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God) offers views to rival Kilimanjaro. Then you can travel to the beach-studded islands of Tanzania's east coast to rest your weary body.

But all this is just a taste of what's on offer – there are incredible experiences awaiting you in every part of the country. Ensure your visit to Tanzania doesn't end at the airport with our guide to securing your visa for the trip of a lifetime.

Who needs a tourist visa to visit Tanzania?

Citizens of most countries – the EU, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada, and citizens of many other Latin American and Asian countries (excluding Hong Kong and Singapore) – must apply for a visa before traveling to Tanzania, but getting one is a straightforward process for most nationalities. 

Visitors coming into the country for tourism must apply for what is known as an "ordinary visa", which grants a single entry to Tanzania for a stay lasting up to three months. This is also the kind of visa to apply for if you are attending a conference or participating in humanitarian or charity events, and it costs US$50. US citizens are required to apply for a more expensive multiple-entry visa.

Note that visas are valid for 90 days from the date of issue, so be careful that your trip doesn't extend beyond that travel window. Your passport should be valid for six months from the date you enter Tanzania, and you may need to show proof of a return travel ticket and funds on arrival. 

Multiple entry visas for Tanzania

US citizens (and anyone else planning to enter Tanzania more than once during a trip) should obtain a multiple entry visa. Costing US$100, this class of visa allows multiple entries to Tanzania within a 12-month period, for stays of up to three months per entry. If you are not from the USA, you must justify why you need a multiple-entry visa (for example, for traveling overland to Kenya or other neighboring countries) as part of your application. 

To qualify for a multiple entry visa, your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and you'll need to supply a passport photo and proof of a return ticket to Tanzania. You may also need to provide a security bond and other supporting documents – contact your local Tanzanian embassy or consulate for details.

Two women hiking Mt Kilimanjaro via the Marangu Route
Hiking to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro is another iconic Tanzania experience © thinair28 / Getty Images

Applying for a Tanzania visa

Tanzania has introduced e-visas that have an easy online application process. When applying via the website, you must provide passport details and a scanned copy of your passport identity pages, plus a clear passport-style photograph of yourself and proof of payment. Applications are also possible at some Tanzanian embassies and consulates overseas, though not in every country.

Visas on arrival in Tanzania

As well as applying for a visa in advance, you also have the option to obtain a visa on arrival in Tanzania (citizens of countries that require a referral visa cannot use the visa-on-arrival process). To avoid any headaches, check the latest information on entry requirements on the Tanzania Immigration Services Department website before you book your trip.

On-arrival visas are available at the international airports at Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar, at the Namanga border post between Tanzania and Kenya, and at the Tunduma border crossing between Tanzania and Zambia.

Don’t be alarmed when officials direct you to the emergency visa checkpoint on arrival – this is where visa-on-arrival applications are made. The queues can be long and you may be asked for proof of onward travel and proof of funds.

Yellow fever vaccination requirements

At the time of writing, it was not mandatory for all travelers to produce a yellow fever vaccination certificate for entry into Tanzania. However, if you have traveled to a country with endemic yellow fever (including many nations in central Africa) in the 21 days before you arrive in Tanzania, you will need to produce a vaccination certificate.

Outrigger sailing boat off the coast of Zanzibar
The sun-kissed coast of Zanzibar is tropical perfection © Hugh Sitton / Stocksy United

Who needs a referral visa for Tanzania?

Citizens of 28 countries in Central Asia and Africa need special clearance from the Commissioner-General of Immigration to travel to Tanzania. A full list is available on the Immigration Services Department’s website.

If you are traveling from any of the countries listed, you'll need to apply for your visa at least two months before your proposed travel date. Approval is not guaranteed so avoid booking flights or making accommodation reservations until you get approval from the Tanzanian authorities.

Tanzania transit visas

If you are only entering Tanzania for a few days before heading on to a neighboring country, such as Kenya or Rwanda, a transit visa may be all that you need. This special class of visa costs only US$30, but you cannot be in the republic for more than seven days. You may need to show proof of a visa or travel ticket for the country you are visiting after Tanzania.

Business and student visas for Tanzania

While many countries have introduced remote working visas, Tanzania does not currently have such a system in place. If you are coming into the country for business, you will need to apply for a business visa, valid for 90 days. The fee is US$250 and you may need supporting documents from the organization that is hosting you in Tanzania. 

People going to Tanzania for research, internships, volunteering or academic studies can apply for a student visa. For periods of study shorter than three months, the fee is US$50, rising to US$550 depending on the category and duration. Note that language students can only obtain a six-month visa, and the maximum period a student visa can be issued for is two years. Exchange students do not have to pay an application fee.

A herd of elephants in front of Mount Kilimanjaro
A family of African elephants gathers in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro © Ian Lenehan / 500px

Extending a Tanzania visa

Tanzania grants a three-month stay for most visitors, and if you overstay, you can be detained, fined and deported. However, it is possible to extend a three-month visa by a further three months at the immigration office in Dar es Salaam (and offices in some other major Tanzanian cities).

This article was first published March 2022 and updated November 2023

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