COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Mozambique is a developing country in southern Africa that has been steadily rebuilding its economy and civic institutions since ending a 16-year civil war in 1992. The country stabilized following Mozambique's first multi-party elections in October 1994, and the current president was reelected in October 2009. The next presidential elections will be held in 2014. Despite high economic growth rates in recent years, Mozambique remains among the world's poorest countries, with a GDP per capita of under $400. Facilities for tourism in Maputo, the capital city, are steadily improving but remain limited in other areas. Many goods and services have extremely limited availability. The official language is Portuguese, although English is spoken in many tourist areas, and in some rural areas only local languages are widely spoken. Read the Department of State's information on relations with Mozambique for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Mozambique, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help us reach your friends and family in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: A visa is required for entry into Mozambique. It is recommended that travelers acquire the appropriate visa prior to departing for Mozambique, although a one-entry visa can be purchased for $82 at country points of entry, including airports. Foreigners in Mozambique without a valid visa can expect to pay a substantial fine ($33) for each day they are in Mozambique illegally. The fine can be assessed upon travelers’ departure or if travelers are caught by authorities while still in Mozambique. Please pay close attention to the period you are authorized to stay in Mozambique on your visa ("Autorizado a permaneçer pelo período de [number of days]"). This is the maximum number of days you may stay before you must depart Mozambique. The passports of all travelers who wish to enter Mozambique must be valid for six months upon arrival and must contain at least three clean (unstamped) visa pages each time entry is sought. The Mozambican Embassy and Consulates in South Africa charge up to five times the amount charged in the United States or at border crossing points for a tourist visa to Mozambique. Visit the Embassy of Mozambique website for the most current visa information.
In September 2007, the Mozambican Interior and Health Ministries decreed that all travelers entering Mozambique who had previously visited a country where yellow fever is present must present a valid certification of vaccination against yellow fever. We recommend all travelers be vaccinated to avoid complications at the border. Any passenger who cannot present such a certificate at the port of entry will be vaccinated at a cost of $50 US dollars or the equivalent in metical, Mozambique’s currency. Additionally, all travelers entering Mozambique must carry their yellow vaccination book.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Mozambique.
We caution visitors who attempt to import weapons and/or artillery, even if just transiting the country briefly. We recommend contacting the Embassy of Mozambique in Washington, D.C., prior to taking any weapons or firearms into Mozambique. With or without proper documentation, permission, and a local handling agent, weapons/artillery importers could face detention by local officials. Forfurther information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Overland travel after dark is extremely dangerous due to the increased potential for vehicle hijacking. Visitors should be particularly vigilant when driving on the main thoroughfares connecting Mozambique and South Africa as incidents of vehicle theft, including assault and robbery, have been reported. U.S. government personnel who work at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique are strongly discouraged from overland travel outside Maputo city limits after dark, and are encouraged to travel in convoys of two or more vehicles when outside of the city. They are prohibited from using “chapas” (local minibuses) due to frequent accidents involving these vehicles. Due to residual landmines, overland travelers are advised to remain on well-traveled roads or seek local information before going off-road outside of Maputo and other provincial capitals.
Although demonstrations do occur in Mozambique, they are infrequent and there have been no recent demonstrations against U.S. interests. If any demonstrations do occur, they should be avoided.
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CRIME: Although the vast majority of visitors complete their travels in Mozambique without incident, the most serious threat facing
U.S. citizens visiting Mozambique is crime. Street crimes, including mugging, purse-snatching, and pick-pocketing are common,
both in Maputo and in secondary cities. Carjackings have become rare, but still do happen. Visitors must be vigilant when
out in public areas and should not display jewelry or other items —even those of low value, like cell phones and personal
music devices. Avoid isolated areas. Joggers and pedestrians have frequently been mugged, even during daylight hours. Visitors
should take caution when walking at night, even in well-known tourist areas. Due to an increase in violent crime, pedestrian
activity is discouraged on Maputo's Avenida Marginal between the Southern Sun hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn) and the Waterfront
Mozambican police do not operate at the standard that U.S. citizens are accustomed to in the United States. Visitors should not expect the same level of police service.
Many airline trips from Mozambique to the United States, Europe, or African destinations transit Johannesburg, South Africa. Baggage pilferage is an ongoing problem at Johannesburg's Oliver Tambo International Airport. Travelers are encouraged to secure their luggage, use an airport plastic wrapping service, and avoid placing currency, electronics, jewelry, cameras, cosmetics, running shoes, or other valuables in checked luggage. Having a complete inventory of items placed in checked baggage can aid in processing a claim if theft does occur.
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:
There is no local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Mozambique.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Mozambique, 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. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods.Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Mozambique, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.
Persons violating Mozambican laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Mozambique are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Arrest notifications in Mozambique: While some countries will automatically notify the U.S. embassy 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 overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Mozambican law requires that all persons carry an identity document such as a passport when out in public and that they present
it to police upon request. Notarized copies of both the biographic page of a passport and a valid Mozambican visa are acceptable
forms of identification, although police will occasionally demand original documents. There are certain areas in Mozambique
where pedestrian traffic is prohibited and the ban is strictly enforced. These areas include the front of the presidential
offices located north of the Hotel Polana on the seaside of Avenida Julius Nyerere and the Praça dos Herois on Avenida Acordos
de Lusaka near the airport, both in Maputo.
It is against the law to destroy Mozambican currency; offenders can expect a jail sentence or fine. The limit for an undeclared amount of U.S. dollars one can take out of the country is $5,000. The maximum amount of local currency one can take out is 500 metical, which is less than 20 U.S. dollars. Some U.S. travelers have reported having difficulties cashing traveler’s checks and have relied instead on ATMs and credit cards for money withdrawals in Mozambique. Travelers have reported that banks in Mozambique will only accept new U.S. bills. Outside of the major hotels and restaurants, credit cards are not widely accepted in Mozambique. The South African rand and U.S. dollar are sometimes accepted as legal tender, although this is more common in the southern part of the country or in tourist areas; all transactions must have a local currency (metical) payment option.
All U.S. citizens are prohibited, by U.S. federal law, from patronizing any businesses located within the Maputo Shopping Center. This shopping center is owned by Mohamed Bachir Suleman (MBS), a notorious drug baron, who, on June 1, 2010, was designated by the White House as a “Drug Kingpin.” This makes any U.S. citizen who frequents his businesses subject to the Kingpin Act. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties, to include up to 10 years in prison, and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code, for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.
Accessibility: While in Mozambique, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Although the government legislatively mandates access to public buildings, transportation, and government services for persons with disabilities, few buildings are accessible. In general, restaurants, hotels, and residential buildings have stairs at the entrance without wheelchair ramps, except perhaps at a few major hotels and retail areas. Pedestrian paths and transportation are extremely difficult for persons with disabilities. Sidewalks are not commonplace and, if they exist, are poorly maintained and dangerous to walk on at night. Pedestrian crossings are infrequent and drivers seldom obey traffic signals. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled persons.
LGBT Issues: Consensual same-sex relations are not criminalized in Mozambique. There is increasing space in public conversation regarding LGBT issues; however, there are still signs of slow movement to full inclusion, e.g., the most active LGBT NGO’s legal registration has been pending with the Government of Mozambique for the last four years. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) travelers should read the LGBT Travel Information page.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical facilities are rudimentary, and most medical providers do not speak fluent English. Medicines are not always consistently available. There are both public and private medical facilities in the city of Maputo and most provincial capitals. All health care institutions and providers require payment at the time of service, and may even require payment before providing service. While some private clinics accept credit cards, many medical facilities do not. Doctors and hospitals outside Maputo generally expect immediate cash payment for health services. Outside of Maputo, available medical care ranges from very basic to nonexistent.
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. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Mozambique. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Mozambique, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
The information below concerning Mozambique is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular
location or circumstance.
Serious traffic accidents, one of the greatest threats to U.S. citizens in Mozambique, occur regularly throughout the country. Accidents involving drivers and pedestrians are common, sometimes resulting in pedestrian casualty. Pedestrians often walk in the road and may not be visible to motorists, especially at night. If a serious accident occurs, or if a driver hits a pedestrian, crowds quickly gather. Some drivers involved in accidents of this nature have felt threatened by the crowds and fled the accident scene. We urge any driver involved in an accident to immediately report the accident to the nearest police station and to contact the Embassy.
Drivers should obey police signals to stop at checkpoints, which are common throughout Mozambique. Foreigners visiting Mozambique for more than 90 days are required to have an International Driver’s License or to obtain a Mozambican driver’s license.
The main north-south thoroughfare is passable north of Maputo until the city of Caia (Sofala province), where vehicle passengers
must disembark and cross the Zambezi River by ferryboat. On the north side of the river, the road continues to the Northern
provinces. The road network connecting provincial capitals is in fair condition, but can be riddled with potholes and other
The EN4 toll road between Maputo and South Africa is well-maintained. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling outside cities after dark because of the increased risk of banditry, poor road conditions in some areas, poor maintenance of many vehicles in the country (e.g., no headlights or rear lights), as well as the threat imposed by livestock grazing on roadsides. Travel outside Maputo often requires a four-wheel drive vehicle, which creates an additional security risk since these vehicles are high-theft items. Public transportation is limited and often has poor safety standards.
The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens not to use “chapas” (local minibuses) as a method of transportation due to frequent, often fatal accidents involving these vehicles. Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. We also suggest that travelers visit the web site of the Mozambique’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Mozambique, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Mozambique’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Mozambique dated April 27, 2012, to update sections on Entry/Exit Requirements for U.S. Citizens, Crime, Special Circumstances, and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions.