Whether you’re visiting Zambia for work or pleasure, you’ll need a visa. If you decide you need more time to explore, an extension will be required. Applying for a visa in advance is the best way to make sure your trip is a success. Here’s an easy-to-use guide to help you get started
An overview of the Zambian visa
The basic requirement for a visa is that the traveler must have a valid, signed passport for six months beyond the end of the intended stay. The passport must also have two consecutive blank pages for the visa stamp. When applying in person at a Zambian Embassy or High Commission, allow five working days for the visa to be processed, while applying online using the e- Visa system takes between three and five days to process. To extend any type of visa, download Form 11, the application to extend the period of validity of a visa or permit, on the Zambia Immigration website (on the left hand corner of the site). Other types of visas unique to Zambia are: transit visas, day trip visas, and the KAZA UNI visa.
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Unless you’re from one of the countries on this list, you will need to apply for a visa to enter Zambia.
Applying for the right visa
Options: Single entry, double entry, multiple entry
Single entry visas are USD $50, while double and multiple entry visas are USD $80. The fees can be paid in person at a Zambian embassy or high commission, or if using the e-Visa system, they can be paid online via debit or credit card.
To apply for a visa you will need:
A signed passport valid for six months beyond the end of the intended stay.
Two passport-sized images (two by two inches) taken against an all-white background and signed on the back.
Proof of travel (return airline e-ticket or itinerary with entrance and exit dates and the traveler’s name indicated as it is on their passport).
Vaccinations (yellow fever cards may be required from citizens of yellow fever zones).
A completed visa application form which can be obtained at a Zambian embassy or high commission, or online.
Tourist visas are valid for 90 days within a year.
The same requirements as the tourist visa (ie passport, passport images, proof of travel, visa application form, vaccinations).
In addition, a cover letter for the candidate applying for the visa.
An invitation letter from Zambia.
A copy of return ticket or flight itinerary.
A business visa costs USD $50 and may take between three and five business days depending on the method used (high commission/embassy or e-Visa).
A traveler on a business visa is allowed to stay in the country for 30 days within a year-long period.
The process of extending a business visa is the same as for any other visa. Download and fill in Form 11.
Download and fill in Form seven, which can be accessed on the left hand side of the Zambia Immigration website.
In addition to the basic requirements, those applying for a study permit should have a complete police clearance report.
A medical report from a government/state or public hospital.
A certificate of guarantee from the educational institution that the applicant’s fees will be paid and that they can support themselves financially while in the country.
As the last section of the form needs to be signed by the principal or head of the institution the applicant will be attending, it is best to have it signed before arriving in Zambia (can be scanned to the school).
A study permit costs USD $50 and takes three to five working days depending on the method of application (online or at an embassy or high commission).
Temporal employment permits
Download and fill in Form 25 from the Zambia Department of Immigration website.
The completed form must be accompanied by the other basic requirements (ie passport, passport images, proof of travel, visa application form, vaccinations).
A certified photography of certificates and professional certificate must be obtained.
A letter addressed to the director general from the employer indicating the nature of work the applicant intends to do in Zambia must be supplied.
To renew a temporal passport, the same rules as the other permits and visa renewals apply (Form 11)
Important things to keep in mind
Don’t wait to vaccinate
If arriving from a yellow fever zone, carry your yellow fever vaccination card as it may be required to be shown at the port of entry.
Prepare your travel funds in advance
Visa payments on arrival can be paid using US dollars. To purchase other items at the airport, local currency is accepted. USD $1 is equivalent to approximately ZMW 9.7 For the exchange rate at the time of travel, visit the Bank of Zambia website.
Organize accommodation in advance
To reduce stress, organizing accommodation in advance at least for the first few days and especially during peak season (public holidays, warmer months and boutique lodges/camps in national parks) is advised. For recommendations, see The Best Boutique Hotels in Zambia.
For backpackers, book accommodation for the first night as immigration officials may ask to see a booking confirmation. For couch surfers, obtain a printed letter from your host as it may be requested.
There is a local saying of “Zambian time,” which refers to the slow pace with which some things can get done in Zambia, particularly in government institutions. Lots of patience is required.
Caucasian travelers may be referred to as “Muzungu,” which evolved from foreigner to “white person.” This is not meant to be offensive.
Consider alternatives to entering through airports
Not everyone flies into Zambia, the TAZARA railway, or TanZam railway as it’s known locally, is a great way of getting from Tanzania to central Zambia. Check out our article Why the TAZARA railway is the Best Way to See Zambia.
Other useful links
Citizens of these countries need visas to enter Zambia.
Visit Zambia Department of Immigration for any questions you have on traveling to Zambia.
Head to e-Visa to apply for your Zambian visa online.
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