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Tanzania

Tanzania
United Republic of Tanzania
Exercise increased caution in Tanzania due to crime, terrorism, and targeting of LGBTI persons.

Exercise increased caution in Tanzania due to crime, terrorism, and targeting of LGBTI persons.

Violent crime, such as assault, sexual assault, express kidnapping, mugging, and carjacking, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Tanzania. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting embassies, police stations, mosques, and other places frequented by Westerners.

Members of the LGBTI community have been arrested, targeted, harassed, and/or charged with unrelated offenses.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Tanzania:

  • Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not leave your food or drink unattended.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Avoid public displays of affection, in particular for same-sex couples.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Tanzania.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever required if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Dar Es Salaam

686 Old Bagamoyo Road,
Msasani
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Telephone:
+(255) 22-229-4122
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(255) 22-229-4000, dial '1' for an emergency operator
Fax: +(255) 22-229-4721

Destination Description

See our Fact Sheet on Tanzania for information on U.S. – Tanzania relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania. The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens obtain visas before traveling to Tanzania, but visas are also available at ports of entry upon arrival.

A passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond visa issuance and/or date of entry, and at least one blank visa page is required. Visitors who enter on visas must present a roundtrip ticket and demonstrate they have sufficient funds for their stay.

Be prepared to show your passport and explain your visa status when entering or departing Zanzibar or when traveling around the mainland.

Volunteer activity – even if the traveler is paying for the opportunity – is prohibited on a tourist visa. If you plan to engage in business or commercial transactions in Tanzania, please consult with the Embassy of Tanzania in Washington, D.C. before applying for a visa.

Visit the Embassy of Tanzania website for the most current visa information. Read the page on visas and immigration to ensure you will have the correct status during your visit to Tanzania.

Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers arriving from, or having transited through, yellow fever endemic countries. Direct arrivals from non-endemic countries, including all countries in Europe and North America, are not required to show the certificate.

Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that a yellow fever vaccine is only required if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country, there are reports that unless a traveler has a medical exemption letter from a physician, some immigration officials require evidence of the vaccine for entry in Tanzania; particularly entry via Zanzibar. Travelers with neither the shot nor an exemption letter are usually allowed entry and directed to a health officer to obtain the vaccine. The CDC notes that travelers staying for an extended time or those who will be heavily exposed to mosquitoes consider obtaining the vaccination before visiting Tanzania.  

If a public official attempts to solicit the payment of a fine from you, ask to travel to the nearest police station to file a report regarding the incident. Obtain a receipt and a written report of any such transactions. If your passport is seized, ask for a receipt, note the officer’s name, location, and contact details and report it immediately to the U.S. Embassy.

For information on obtaining a residence permit, please contact the Tanzanian Immigration Department's Ministry for Home Affairs website or by telephone.

Dar es Salaam: +255 (0) 22 2850575/6
Zanzibar: +255 (0) 24 223 9148

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Tanzania.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

 

Safety and Security

Terrorist incidents, including the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, as well as occasional attacks by extremists on police stations and mosques, among other targets, highlight the threat posed by terrorism in East Africa and underscore the capacity of terrorist groups to carry out such attacks against Westerners.

U.S. citizens should take precaution when traveling between Julius Nyerere International Airport and Dar es Salaam. There have been incidents of robberies while cars are stopped at traffic lights. Drivers should lock their doors and keep windows up at all times.

U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events.

Crime: Report crimes to the closest police station and request a copy of the report to use for any insurance claims.

Muggings, Robberies, and Assaults:

  • Stay alert when walking on beaches, footpaths, and roads; especially on Zanzibar, in Dar es Salaam, and Arusha.
  • Avoid carrying a bag, wearing flashy jewelry, or using personal electronics while in public.
  • If you must carry a bag, hold it by the handle loosely so you can let go quickly and not be injured if someone in a passing vehicle attempts to grab it.
  • Do not put the strap across your chest as you can be dragged and badly injured.
  • While on safari, visiting parks, hiking, or mountain climbing, remain alert to your surroundings and report anything unusual to your tour guide, park ranger, or the police.
  • If you are in a dangerous situation, hand over all your valuables immediately, comply with the demands, and do not to make eye contact with the aggressors.

We have received reports of assaults originating at the Tazara train station, Ubungo bus station, Dar es Salaam airport, the Zanzibar ferry terminal area downtown, and the Slipway on the Msasani Peninsula in Dar es Salaam.

Kidnapping Threat:

So-called ‘express kidnappings’ are not uncommon in Tanzania. Expatriates and tourists become victims when they hail taxis at airports, bus stations, hotels, or on the street. Victims are held until they provide passwords for credit/debit cards and are driven around town to max out their cards at all available Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). Victims are usually released some hours later. A number of people have been victimized en route to the airport. To minimize risk, travelers should use marked or known modes of transport. They should also consider leaving ATM cards at home and traveling to Tanzania with a minimal number of credit cards.

ATM/Bank Fraud: To reduce your vulnerability:

  • Minimize the amount of cash you carry.
  • Avoid using stand-alone ATMs.
  • Monitor your account balance regularly and immediately report unusual activity.
  • Avoid using debit cards if possible.
  • If you will be spending time outside of the large cities, have sufficient cash or traveler’s checks for your trip.

Reputable financial institutions will require the bearer of a traveler’s check to present the original receipt for the checks and proof of identity before completing a transaction.

Home Invasions: U.S. citizens residing in Arusha and Dar es Salaam continually report crimes targeting the homes of expatriates. Armed home invasions usually involve some violence and some victims have been seriously injured.

If you live in Tanzania, ensure that your home has a safe haven, a secure area with reinforced barriers, where you can retreat and remain safe if intruders enter.

Residents in Arusha and Dar es Salaam strongly recommend retaining a professional security company with 24-hour guards and roving patrols. If you have access to a house alarm, use it.

Carjackings: To avoid carjackings:

  • Drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.
  • Do not to stop in unpopulated areas.
  • Travel in convoys if possible.
  • Be wary of drivers of stopped cars flagging motorists down for assistance.

Dar es Salaam: Be very careful in the Coco Beach area of Touré Drive on Msasani Peninsula, the scenic beachfront road leading from the Sea Cliff Hotel into town. The U.S. Embassy receives regular reports of muggings, pick-pockets, and thefts from cars. This road is a concern any time of day or night, whether you are on foot or in a vehicle.

Walking or jogging on the streets at any time can be hazardous because motorists can be careless, pathways abruptly end, and there are frequently no shoulders.  

U.S. government personnel are cautioned against walking or running along Touré Drive and Haile Selassie Road on the Msasani Peninsula due to the prevalence of assaults, and are advised to avoid the area after dark. Avoid areas where there aren't houses or buildings on both sides of the road as assailants like to hide in areas covered by brush. Be cautious about walking on paths near the water, as serious erosion has degraded the soil.

Zanzibar: Beware of pickpockets, assaults, and bag snatching in Zanzibar. Wear modest dress and keep a low profile, especially on Friday afternoons, the traditional time to attend mosque.

Arusha: In Arusha, the high number of foreign tourists attracts pickpockets and bag snatchers. You are strongly discouraged from walking around at dusk or at night, and to avoid the section of Arusha on the far side of the Themi River at all times when on foot. Many muggings have occurred near the clock tower in the center of town.

Tanga: Criminals use the Amboni Caves north of Tanga City to hide from authorities. Police and military perform raid operations to apprehend criminal suspects in the cave system. Additionally, armed robberies in the shopping establishments of the Mzizima Ward of Tanga Rural District have increased.

Mwanza: Violence and attacks by armed groups in and around the city of Mwanza have increased. You should remain alert and avoid large gatherings when travelling to Mwanza.

Pwani coastal region: Following an uptick in violence in April 2017, Tanzanian authorities have increased their security presence in the Pwani coastal region, about 100km south of Dar es Salaam. Additional checkpoints are in place, particularly on highways and in towns.

The police also announced that the use of motorcycles is banned at night throughout the region beginning at 6:00 p.m.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

VICTIMS OF CRIME:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should report crimes to the local police at 111 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 255 22 229 4122 and at 255 22 229 4000, dial ‘1’ for an emergency operator.

Some police stations in Dar es Salaam (such as Oysterbay and Selander Bridge) offer a special desk for tourists to report crimes. However, they have limited daytime hours. In general, police stations may not have an English-speaker available or be staffed to make a written report even during opening hours.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Penalties for possession or sale of illegal drugs of any kind are severe in Tanzania, with a minimum of seven years for simple possession and 30 years to life for more serious charges.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of attorneys here.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Photography: Photographing military installations is forbidden. Individuals have been detained and/or had their cameras and film confiscated for taking pictures of hospitals, schools, bridges, industrial sites, and airports. Sites where photography is prohibited are not always marked.

Animal products: In Tanzania, it is illegal to export an animal or animal part (including live or dead animal parts, such as skins and bones, feathers, or shells) without export certification from the Tanzanian government. It is also illegal to export any such products received as a gift or exchange without the correct documentation. The penalties can range from a fine and/or two to five years imprisonment. Additionally, it is illegal to gather, collect, or remove any flora or fauna, including seashells, from marine parks. Penalties include a fine and/or imprisonment of up to two years.

Safaris: Remember, these are wild animals. Their reflexes and reaction times are quicker than those of trained guides. Critically review and assess the protection measures offered by safari companies. Stay in vehicles or protected enclosures when in game parks.

If you have chronic health problems, consider the risks before joining an extended trip in the African wilderness where emergency medical help is not readily available.

Mountains:

  • Know the signs of altitude sickness.
  • Heed the advice of the professionals organizing the ascent.
  • Don't try to save money by selecting a tour guide who offers a faster ascent - your body needs the extra day(s) to acclimate to the altitude.
  • If you experience altitude sickness, descend immediately and seek medical help.

What to Wear: While visiting Tanzania, you should dress modestly (upper arms and legs covered and no exposed midriffs) outside of the hotel or resort and when arriving and departing from Zanzibar.

Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during daylight hours, avoid eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum in public except in hotels or restaurants.

Scams: U.S. citizens have been victims of scams involving the alleged sale of gold, diamonds, gemstones, minerals, and other natural resources. You should be very cautious of seemingly lucrative business opportunities offered by agents based in, or with ties to, Tanzania and neighboring countries.

There are also scams involving offers to arrange volunteer visas and safari excursions. Vet anyone offering to provide you such a service and check their references carefully.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Rights: Consensual same-sex activity is illegal both on the mainland and on Zanzibar, and is punishable by long prison sentences. Members of the LGBTI community may not be admitted to Tanzania by immigration authorities and once here may be targeted, harassed, and/or charged with unrelated offenses. Public displays of affection between persons of the same sex may be met with harassment or violence. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support the LGBTI community and their staff may also be targeted and harassed by local authorities.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Tanzania, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United States. Sidewalks are nearly non-existent and there are frequent power outages. The Tanzanian constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Hire only legitimate tour guides, preferably arranged by a known travel agency or hotel. Be wary of offers of sightseeing from new contacts and avoid being alone with strangers who propose special, customized sightseeing trips. Practice common sense and remain vigilant regarding your surroundings.

If you are the victim of sexual assault, see your doctor immediately to ask about the availability of post-exposure HIV prophylaxis or seek medical care outside of Tanzania if needed.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Click here to access the list of medical facilities in Tanzania from the Embassy website.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.  

The following diseases are prevalent:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road travel in Tanzania can be extremely dangerous, especially at night. Traffic in Tanzania moves on the left. Drivers and pedestrians alike must maintain vigilance. Although a number of inter-city highways are periodically repaved and maintained, maintenance schedules are erratic and even good roads may deteriorate precipitously in periods of inclement weather.

During the rainy seasons (late March to mid-June and mid-November to mid-December), many roads in Tanzania, both urban and rural, are passable only with four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Traffic Laws: Tanzanian law requires all motor vehicle operators to be in possession of a valid driver’s license. Persons staying in Tanzania for six months or less may use a valid U.S. driver’s license after validation by local traffic authorities, or an international driver’s license. Persons intending to remain in Tanzania for more than six months are required to obtain a Tanzanian driver’s license. All vehicles are required to carry third-party liability insurance and to post the decal in the front window.

Public Transportation: Use taxis or hire a driver from a reputable source. When traveling by taxi:

  • Do not ride in a taxi hailed by someone you do not know.
  • Ask the hotel or restaurant to recommend a driver. Before entering the vehicle, ask the driver to see their credentials, take a picture of the taxi license plates, and send the photo to a friend.
  • Make sure the child locks are not engaged and the door can be opened from the inside.
  • After entering, lock the doors and roll up the windows. If the driver unlocks the doors or rolls down the windows, exit immediately.
  • Do not ride in taxis already carrying a passenger. If a taxi stops to allow another person to enter, exit immediately.

Inter-city transportation between major destinations, such as Arusha and Dar es Salaam, are serviced by a variety of carriers. You should select carriers with modern equipment.

Travelers should also avoid using dala-dala microbuses and bajaji, three-wheeled taxis.

Ferries traveling between the mainland and Zanzibar may be unsafe. When traveling by ferry:

  • Travel on a high-speed ferry.
  • Purchase your tickets inside the ferry terminal, not from vendors outside.
  • Tickets should include your name, date of travel, and class of travel.
  • Travel during daylight with good visibility, fair weather, and calm water.
  • Avoid overcrowded vessels or those which lack sufficient life vests, easy access to exits, and a functioning communications system.
  • Become familiar with emergency procedures on board, especially the locations of life jackets and emergency exits.
  • Beware of pickpockets aboard the ferry, and be wary even of uniformed personnel who seek to assist you.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Tanzania, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Tanzania'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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Tanzania should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings”).

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Tanzania. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: March 7, 2018

Adoption Notices

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Dar Es Salaam
686 Old Bagamoyo Road,
Msasani
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Telephone
+(255) 22-229-4122
Emergency
+(255) 22-229-4000, dial '1' for an emergency operator
Fax
+(255) 22-229-4721

Tanzania Map