Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Tanzania International Travel Information
See our Fact Sheet on Tanzania for information on U.S. – Tanzania relations.
Visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania.
Foreign nationals may apply for a visa online in advance of travel. Applicants may complete the e-visa application form and make payment online with a credit card or bank transfer at www.immigration.go.tz. If the e-visa is approved, the applicant will receive a “grant notice” via email. Present a copy of the grant notice to the Immigration Officer on arrival at the airport in Tanzania.
U.S. citizens may also obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport in Tanzania. The cost is $100 USD. Be prepared to pay in cash in case connectivity issues make electronic transactions impossible.
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.
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
Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers arriving from, or having transited through, countries where yellow fever is endemic. Direct arrivals from non-endemic countries, including all countries in Europe and North America, are usually not required to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides additional information about recommended vaccines and medications for travelers going to Tanzania. The CDC notes 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 – from all travelers. 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 recommends that travelers staying for an extended time or those who will be heavily exposed to mosquitoes consider obtaining the vaccination before visiting Tanzania.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Tanzania.
Currency Restrictions: Travelers are required to declare international currency valuing more than $10,000 on both entrance and exit from Tanzania. Non-residents (except Kenyans and Ugandans) may not import or export Tanzanian Shillings (TZS.)
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 exercise caution when traveling between Julius Nyerere International Airport and Dar es Salaam, as there have been incidents of robberies while cars are stopped at traffic lights and kidnappings. Drivers should lock their doors and keep windows up at all times.
Crime: U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events. Report crimes to the closest police station and request a copy of the report to use for any insurance claims.
Muggings, Robberies, and Assaults:
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 ATMs. Victims are usually released 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:
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.
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.
Home Invasions: U.S. citizens residing in Arusha and Dar es Salaam frequently 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.
A professional security company with 24-hour guards and roving patrols as well as the use of house alarms can help mitigate risks.
Carjackings: To avoid carjackings:
Dar es Salaam: Be very careful in the Coco Beach area of Touré Drive, the scenic beachfront road leading from the Sea Cliff Hotel into town, on Msasani Peninsula. This road is a concern any time of day or night, whether you are on foot or in a vehicle. There are regular reports of muggings, pick-pockets, and thefts from cars.
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.
Zanzibar: Beware of pickpocketing, 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 pickpocketers and bag snatchers. You are strongly discouraged from walking around at dusk or at night, and encouraged 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 raid the cave system to apprehend criminals. Additionally, armed robberies in the shopping establishments of the Mzizima Ward of Tanga Rural District are common.
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.
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.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
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.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.
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, bones, teeth, and feathers) 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 flora or fauna, including seashells and ebony or mpingo wood. Penalties include a fine and/or imprisonment of up to two years.
Safaris: Remember that the animals you encounter on safaris are wild. 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.
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: Tanzania’s penal code criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity on the mainland and on Zanzibar. Those arrested and charged for consensual same-sex sexual conduct may be sentenced up to thirty years in prison. Authorities use the penal code to intimidate and arrest individuals on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Individuals detained under suspicion of same-sex sexual conduct may be subject to or threatened with forced anal examinations. Members of the LGBTI community may be denied entry to Tanzania by immigration authorities (including on Zanzibar) or once admitted 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 that support the LGBTI community and their staff may also be targeted, harassed, or have staff members detained by local authorities.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation challenging to find in Tanzania. Sidewalks are nearly non-existent and there are frequent power outages. The Tanzanian constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.
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. Feminine hygiene products can be difficult to obtain, particularly outside of large cities.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
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.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although Tanzania typically only requires yellow fever shots for those traveling from an endemic country, there are occasional reports of officials requiring yellow fever shots from all foreign travelers.
Further health information:
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 quickly due to weather conditions.
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:
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:
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Motorcycles: Riding motorcycles is not advisable and is restricted in some areas.
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”).