SwazilandOfficial Name: Kingdom of Swaziland
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
No requirements – but one page is suggested
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for visits of less than 30 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
7th Floor, Central Bank Building
P.O. Box 199
Telephone: +(268) 2404-6441/5
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(268) 7602-8414
Fax: +(268) 2404-5959
Swaziland is a small developing nation in Southern Africa. Several well-developed facilities for tourism are available. The capital is Mbabane. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Swaziland for additional information on U.S. – Swaziland relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A passport is required. Visas are not required for tourists and business travelers arriving in Swaziland for short visits (less than 30 days) on standard U.S. passports. Travelers visiting Swaziland generally enter through South Africa.
Please note: Travelers to South Africa should have several unstamped visa pages in their passports upon each entry into the country. South Africa requires two unstamped visa pages, excluding amendment pages, to enter the country. Visitors who do not have enough blank visa pages in their passport risk being denied entry and returned to the United States at their own expense. South Africa has recently passed new legislation requiring additional documentation for children traveling to/from/through the country. Travelers are strongly encouraged to review these new travel requirements as they are expected to go into effect October 1, 2014.
Travelers to Swaziland who are transiting South Africa should note that if they are transiting a country with yellow fever (such as when on the United States-Johannesburg flight that transits Dakar, potentially even when passengers remain on the plane), they must have proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Visit the website of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland at 1712 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009; phone (202) 234-5002, for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Swaziland.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Public protests, demonstrations, and strikes occur from time to time in Swaziland and are mostly in response to on-going labor relations/difficulties. Armed law enforcement personnel have been known to use force to disrupt or control such events. During the course of such events, police may or may not distinguish between “innocent bystanders” and protesters. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Swaziland by visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and check for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Crime is a concern and is the most significant threat to U.S. citizens visiting or working in Swaziland. Incidents of petty crime and violent crime are prevalent throughout Swaziland. Criminals will resort to force if necessary, including deadly force, in order to accomplish their goal. Gangs are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims. Carjackings occur in Swaziland, and as with other crimes may become violent if victims do not immediately cooperate.
Congested, dark urban areas are particularly dangerous at night, but daytime attacks are not uncommon. The presence of other people on the street should not be misinterpreted as an indication of security. Victims have reported being robbed in the presence of witnesses. Pedestrians are cautioned not to wear jewelry or carry expensive or unnecessary valuables in public. U.S. citizens are also advised against displaying cell phones and large sums of cash as these items are of particular interest to thieves. Money should only be converted at authorized currency exchanges and never with street vendors. Never store or leave items of value in your vehicle as thieves break in to unattended vehicles to steal accessible item. Exercise caution when using local taxis. Ensure the taxi you use is from a reputable company. Never enter a taxi that is occupied by anyone else besides the driver. It is good practice to call a friend to let them know the plate number of the taxi you are using.
Crime tends to increase during the holiday season from December to January. If you are the victim of a crime, you should immediately report the incident to the nearest police station. If there is an emergency, the police can be contacted by dialing 999.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the U.S. embassy. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Swaziland is 999.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Swaziland, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Persons violating Swaziland’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Swaziland are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, or death. In Swaziland, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings. In Swaziland, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. If you break local laws in Swaziland, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Arrest notifications in host country:
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. embassy as soon as you are arrested or detained in Swaziland.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Swaziland does not have any unusual customs/currency regulations or any visa registration requirements. It is illegal to photograph Swaziland’s government buildings, members of the Swazi armed forces, royal residences, and official ceremonies without prior permission from government authorities. Additional laws related to sedition against the monarchy are also enforceable in Swaziland.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: While colonial-era legislation against sodomy remains on the books, it has not been used to arrest gay men or lesbians. Societal discrimination against LGBT persons is prevalent, and LGBT persons generally conceal their sexual orientation and gender identity. Gay men and lesbians who are open about their sexual orientation and relationships face censure and exclusion from the chiefdom-based patronage system, which could result in eviction from one’s home. Chiefs, pastors, and members of government criticized same-sex sexual conduct as neither Swazi nor Christian. LGBT advocacy organizations have had trouble registering with the government. It is difficult to determine the extent of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation because victims are not likely to come forward, and most gay men and lesbians are not open about their sexual orientation. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Swaziland you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Swaziland, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what is found in the United States. Swaziland currently has no formal legislation mandating access to transportation, communication, and public buildings for persons with disabilities; however Mbabane City Council has recently adopted regulations mandating special access for persons with disabilities in new public buildings.
Medical facilities are limited throughout Swaziland and emergency medical response capabilities (including ambulance transport) are almost non-existent. Although the Mbabane Clinic in the capital is small, it is well-equipped and well-staffed for minor procedures, as is the Manzini Clinic in Matsapha. For advanced care, U.S. citizens often choose to go to South Africa where better facilities and specialists exist. Most prescription drugs are available locally or can be imported from South Africa, but travelers are advised to bring sufficient quantities of their own required medication. A doctor’s note describing the medication may be helpful if questioned by authorities.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Swaziland. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB. Malaria is present in the lowveld in eastern Swaziland.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Swaziland, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Swaziland is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic accidents in Swaziland may pose an even greater hazard than crime. Visitors should use extreme caution when driving, given the relatively high rates of speed of drivers on major thoroughfares. Other hazards include poor lighting and irregular traffic signals; presence of pedestrians, animals, and slower moving vehicles; aggressive driving behavior; and erratic stopping for pedestrian and animals. Traffic drives on the left in Swaziland, which requires U.S. drivers to exercise particular caution. Special care should be used in driving at night and in fog, especially in rural areas. Rural and suburban areas are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards as pedestrians and animals cross the road. Many vehicles are poorly maintained and lack headlights.
Extreme caution is recommended if/when using mini-bus taxis, which follow fixed routes and are flagged down by passengers almost everywhere on the streets and roads of Swaziland. Many of these vehicles fail to meet minimal safety standards. Drivers frequently overload the vehicles, travel at excessive speeds, and text/SMS or talk on cell phones while driving, which is illegal in Swaziland. Fatal accidents involving these conveyances are very common.
The Royal Swaziland Police Service sets up periodic road blocks and use radar to monitor your speed. Respect the local laws. If you are pulled over for a moving violation you will be responsible for the consequences. Always drive with your driver’s license. Failure to do so will result in a fine.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Swaziland’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Swaziland’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.