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If you’re looking for Zimbabwe visa requirements, you’re one step closer to discovering the incredible historical and natural sites, landscapes (Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba), wildlife (Hwange) and a historical level (Matobo and Great Zimbabwe), Zimbabwe has to offer!
This post is designed to provide you with all the information you need to obtain your Zimbabwe visa from start to finish.
It will provide you with the correct information so you can avoid common mistakes people make in obtaining a tourist visa.
As of the time of writing this article, the information described below is accurate. Please refer to the Zimbabwe Embassy for updated information.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Zimbabwe?
This is one of the most popular questions that get asked – do I need a Zimbabwe visa to travel to Zimbabwe?
There are over 20 African countries that United States citizens do not need a visa to visit. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe is not one of them. In fact, a visa is required for most citizens of the United States, European Union, including French nationals, Swiss and Canadians are also subject to this rule.
The group classifies countries into categories that determine what Zimbabwe visa application type a person of that country has to follow.
- Category A
- Category B
- Category C
Citizens of the countries listed in this category do not require a visa to visit Zimbabwe. From the list, you can see that most of the countries have African heritage like South Africa, Swaziland, and Jamaica, with a few exceptions like Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Aruba, Samoa Western, and Cyprus.
Citizens of these countries can apply for their Zimbabwe visa when they arrive in Zimbabwe. This category is where the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom falls under.
Citizens of these countries need to apply for their visa prior to visiting Zimbabwe. The countries listed here comprise of most other African and Middle Eastern countries.
The e-visa website provides a search box so you can quickly find what category you belong to. It comes in handy and can be found here.
This post is designed to provide you with the best visa procedures, Zimbabwe visa requirements, and tips to obtain your visa before traveling to Zimbabwe. Now that we have answered your question on whether or not you need a visa to visit Zimbabwe, here are some common follow up question.
If I do need a visa, what type of visa do I need? What documents will I need to apply for a visa? and what is the best way to go about applying for a Zimbabwe visa?
Keep reading for specific answers to each question. But first…
Types of Visas
There are four types of visas, which are self-explanatory:
- Holiday Visa
- Transit Visa
- Business Visa
- Conference Visa
The holiday visa is what is commonly known as a tourist visa. You’ll have to apply for this visa if you are required to have a visa and plan to vacation or visit family in Zimbabwe.
If Zimbabwe is not your final destination and you have a layover or connecting flight, then you’ll have to apply for this type of visa.
If you plan on conducting any business-related or commercial activity during your stay, then you need to apply for this type of visa. Your stay is only approved for 30 days and the visa cannot be renewed.
As the name implies, if the purpose of your trip is to attend a conference, this is the visa you apply for. Most countries include the conference visa category in the business category but not Zimbabwe. Your stay is only approved for 30 days and the visa cannot be renewed.
What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a Zimbabwe Visa?
Below are the documents you need to have to meet the minimum Zimbabwe visa requirements to ensure your tourist visa gets approved by the immigration personnel. However, it is recommended that you add any other pertinent information that will help your application.
- 2 recent passport photo
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry into Zimbabwe
- Passport holders are required to have at least a blank page on their passport although we recommend you have two
- Visa fee can be paid using Credit or debit card for e-visa applications and money order or bank draft (no personal check) for in-person application or via mail to the embassy.
- Previous Zimbabwean visa (if applicable)
- Letter of invitation or hotel confirmation showing the address where you will reside in Zimbabwe
- Return ticket showing departure out of Zimbabwe
- Proof of sufficient financial support for the duration of your trip to Zimbabwe (bank statement)
- Self-addressed, stamped return envelope (Express Mail or Priority Mail) only applies to those who applied for a visa in person at the embassy or via mail
Make sure these documents are valid so you don’t run into any immigration issues.
For those applying for business or conference visa, you have a few additional documents requested. You can find the list of the documents on the Zimbabwe Embassy website.
Apply for your Zimbabwe Visa
There are three main ways to apply for a Zimbabwe visa:
- Apply on Arrival
- At an Embassy
The list of the documents outlined above in the Zimbabwe visa requirements section is the same regardless of what method you use to apply for your visa. I’ll share the pros and cons of each application methods so you can be enlightening on the way that will work best for you.
Apply on Arrival
The recommended way to apply for a Zimbabwe visa, especially for the United States, Canadian, and United Kingdom citizens or the citizens of any country that is listed in the Category B.
You simply apply for your Zimbabwe visa at the port of entry in Zimbabwe. Once you get to customs, you’ll have to present the documents we outlined in the Zimbabwe visa requirement section to the immigration office. If you have all the documents, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
Your visa can only be issued at the Harare (HRE), the Bulawayo (BUQ), and the Victoria Falls (VFA) International Airports. It will cost you between $30 and $100. Plan to have the exact amount in cash (preferably in US dollars). However, it is impossible to obtain a visa for Zimbabwe for more than two entries outside a diplomatic representation.
I strongly recommend travelers to confirm the information needed to obtain a visa on arrival directly from the Zimbabwe Embassy since the requirements can sometimes change without notice.
PROS: Applying for a visa at the border is simple, convenient, and cheaper than the other methods.
CONS: Since there’s a degree of uncertainty as to whether or not you’re going to be approved for the visa, this option may not be the best if you’re traveling as a group or a family, and also for those that like to reduce any uncertainty.
Apply at the Embassy with Embassy Pick Up or Return Mail
You can apply for your Zimbabwe visa at an Embassy in your country of residence. If you choose the option, you have to physically go to the nearest Zimbabwe Embassy.
As of the writing of this post, the only Embassy located in the United States is on the East Coast:
Embassy of Zimbabwe
1608 New Hampshire Ave.,
NW Washington, DC 20009
Before driving or for some readers, traveling to the embassy, the first step is to fill out the visa application form. The Zimbabwe visa application form can be found at the Embassy’s website here. Make sure you choose the right form that fits your situation to prevent processing delay.
The visa application form will also have a list of supporting documents you need to present to the immigration representative during your interview at the Embassy.
After your interview by the Zimbabwe immigration offer, a decision will be made on your application. Amongst other things, your approval or denial of the visa also depends on whether or not you’ve provided sufficient proof of residency in your country.
Note that visa approval is at the discretion of the interviewing officer regardless of if you have every document requested.
Once your application is approved, you have two options to receive your passport with the visa. You can have the embassy mail it to you or you can wait to pick it up.
I strongly advise you to wait for your passport to reduce the possibility of your passport getting lost at the Embassy or in transit from the embassy by the Post Office.
However, if you are unable to wait for your passport with the visa, opt for an express delivery option at the post office as this means reduced transit time and transfer locations, which in turn drastically reduces the chances that your passport will get lost in the mail.
PROS: Peace of mind for those that need some certainty on their visa status before traveling thousands of miles away.
CONS: Applying for a visa at the embassy can be time-consuming especially if you don’t have an embassy location near you. Also, when you factor in travel expenses like airfare and/or hotel accommodation, the cost could add up quickly; this becomes an expensive option for a lot of people.
If you use the return mail service, there is an increased risk of document loss during mailing or at the Embassy.
Apply Online (eVisa)
Citizens in category C are required to apply for a visa prior to traveling to Zimbabwe. The travelers can now apply for a visa online prior to traveling to Zimbabwe instead of in person at an embassy.
The Zimbabwe e-visa (electronic visa) platform allows foreign citizens to apply for their visa for Zimbabwe 100% online. This saves the traveler time and can be easily obtained from anywhere in the world.
The electronic visa will be issued and paid by the online applicant. Applicants will receive an e-mail confirming that their application form for the electronic visa was sent successfully.
I recommend you print a copy of the visa approval document and keep it with your passport.
You will have to present this document when boarding the flight and again at immigration upon entering Zimbabwe.
PROS: Applying for your visa online is quick, simple and convenient since it can be done from the comfort of your home. Also, your eVisa application usually gets approved within 48 hours.
CONS: The only downside to applying for your visa online is minor. If you lose your copy of your visa approval document, you may have to spend some additional time following up with the embassy to retrieve your record.
What if I have a Connecting Flight or Transit through Zimbabwe?
In the case where you will transit through Zimbabwe, here’s what you need to know.
If you have only a connecting flight at Zimbabwe, you don’t have to do anything on your part as long as you do not plan on exiting the airport.
For those looking for a thrilling experience in Zimbabwe even for a few hours or an extended layover, you’ll need to visa to enter the country.
You can follow the steps outlined above as you would if Zimbabwe was your final destination.
Other Zimbabwe Visa Requirement Rules to be Aware of
For those traveling to Zimbabwe with children, your children will also need a visa to travel to Zimbabwe. The parent will be required to provide the customs officers with a birth certificate for each child.
The birth certificate has to be translated into English if in a different language. The immigration officer requests to see a birth certificate to make sure you’re traveling with your children to reduce the case of child trafficking.
Keep in mind that the standard tourist visa you will get allows you to stay in Zimbabwe for up to 90 days. If you wish to stay longer, you will need to apply to extend your visa and fulfill the Zimbabwe visa requirements again.
To apply for an extension while you’re in Zimbabwe, you can apply at the port of entry for Category A or B applications. If you have already left the airport, go to:
Department of Immigration Headquarters
1st Floor Linquenda House
Nelson Mandela Avenue
P Bag 7717
U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe
If you’re a U.S. citizen, I suggest you register with the STEP program before any international trip. The same applies when visiting Zimbabwe.
The embassy has programs that provide notification, relief, and support in case of emergency to U.S. citizens. The entire process can be completed online. And for your reference, here is the address for the U.S embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe.
U.S. Embassy Harare
2 Lorraine Dr, Bluffhill
Zimbabwe Visa Requirements Final Takeaways
That’s it! Pretty straight forward right? You now know all there is to know about visa procedures for Zimbabwe.
If you follow our directions outlined in this post, you should not have any problems. Make sure you have all your required and supplemental documents if you plan to apply for your visa on arrival.
It would be a shame to be denied entry into Zimbabwe at the border after a long flight and the thrill of an exciting adventure.
Are you in need of Zimbabwe travel tips, packing guides, and amazing things to do in the home of Victoria Falls?
You’ll love our comprehensive Zimbabwe packing list (pack the right things for your trip), the best things to do in Zimbabwe (highlights bucket list activities and sightseeing for tourists), and don’t forget our Guide to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Parks, and the Great Zimbabwe Ruin.
For other African countries to consider on your next trip, our post on the Safest African Countries to visit will provide a great overview. For an in-depth post on everything you need to know before visiting Zimbabwe, read our Zimbabwe travel guide. As always, thanks for reading.
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