Russia Travel Advisory
August 15, 2022

Do Not Travel and Leave Immediately

International Travel

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Country Information

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe
Republic of Zimbabwe
Exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to crime.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to crime         

Country Summary: Violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common among residents known to have large sums of cash.  Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal is also common.

Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Zimbabwe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Zimbabwe has a low level of COVID-19. Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

If you decide to travel to Zimbabwe:

  • Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, and read the Embassy COVID-19 page for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • Stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash.
  • Carry a copy of your passport and visa and leave originals in your hotel safe.
  • Stay away from political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • 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 Country Security Report for Zimbabwe.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

 

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Recommend 6 months.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


Recommend 2 blanks pages.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes, to be obtained at port of entry.

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever. See below.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


$2,000 USD, more if declared/documented upon entry. See below.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Harare Zimbabwe
2 Lorraine Drive, Bluffhill
Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: +(263) 867-701-1000
Emergency:+(263) 867-701-1000
Fax:+(263) 24-233-4320
Email: consularharare@state.gov

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. 

You need a passport, visa, return ticket, and adequate funds to cover your intended stay in order to enter Zimbabwe. If you are traveling to Zimbabwe for tourism, business, or transit, you may obtain a visa at the airports or other border ports-of-entry. There is currently no option of getting a Zimbabwean tourist visa in advance through the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington. You can expect to pay USD $30 for a 30-day/single-entry visa, USD $45 for a 45-day/double entry visa or USD $160 for a 12 month/ multiple-entry visa. Extensions of the 30-day and 45-day visas are possible and require visiting the Zimbabwe Immigration Office's public window. Travelers who intend to engage in any non-tourism related activity require a visa in advance of entry. Contact the Department of Immigration of Zimbabwe for further details and information on other types of visas and entry permits.

If you are planning to arrive to Zimbabwe via South Africa, please ensure that you have at least 6 blank pages in your passport. South Africa requires two clean, consecutive pages for each transit through South Africa. You will need two pages to transit South Africa in each direction, and two pages to enter Zimbabwe. South African officials take this requirement very seriously and will turn you around if you do not have sufficient pages. Additionally, South Africa has updated its laws regarding visiting or transiting the country with minor children. See the country information page for South Africa for details.

Zimbabwe has implemented measures to stem the flow of U.S. dollars from the country. Tourists and visitors who do not have bank accounts in Zimbabwe should:

  • Bring cash sufficient for the duration of your trip; especially $1 and $5 bills, which are used more often than local currency; the importation of any currency into Zimbabwe by travelers is not restricted. However, all travelers are encouraged to complete a Customs Declaration Form (Form 47) and declare the currency in their possession at the time of entry.
  • Note that the amount of currency you are allowed to possess when leaving Zimbabwe without authorization in the departure lounge of an airport or any other port is a total of USD $2,000 in any currency or combination of currencies or in bond notes, unless declared/documented upon entry;
  • Prepay expenses such as hotels, flights and tours by credit or debit card. Very few places accept international credit cards.

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

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

Safety and Security

See the Department of State Travel Advisory and Alerts for Zimbabwe. 

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Crime: Criminals operate in the vicinity of hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas of major cities and tourist areas such as Victoria Falls. The downtown sectors of Harare, and its high-density residential suburbs, are particularly high-crime areas. 

While in Zimbabwe:

  • Always secure your possessions while in in public areas. 
  • Avoid displaying or carrying unnecessary valuables and large sums of money. 
  • Leave your passport and valuables in the hotel safety deposit box or room safe. 

For your safety while driving/riding in a car:

  • Be alert for “smash and grabs,” where thieves break car windows while you are stopped at intersections and take things within reach. 
  • Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up. 
  • Put valuable things under car seats or in the trunk.
  • Leave sufficient room between cars to maneuver and drive away from danger. 
  • If you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or other protected public area for assistance. 
  • Reduce your time at traffic lights at night by slowing in anticipation of the light change.
  • Be cautious of ploys to lure you out of your car and of drivers in vehicles without license plates who stop to render aid or cause minor accidents. 
  • Drive to a well-lit and populated area before making repairs or exchanging information following an accident.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Demonstrations can occur with little notice. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to police at the Harare Central Police Station, 777-777, and contact the U.S. Embassy at + 263 867 701 1000. Remember that 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 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 if you receive an emergency loan for repatriation
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

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

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

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. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.  

Furthermore, some crimes are 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.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Zimbabwe can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect average jail sentences of three to seven years and heavy fines. Authorities may detain you for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or for taking pictures of government buildings and police stations. 

Fines for overstaying a visa can be over 1,000 USD and may involve time in jail. Visitors should pay careful attention to the authorized-until-date marked on their entry visa.

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.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

PhotographyPhotographing the Munhumutapa Building, which houses the President’s offices, is punishable by a jail term and there is no provision for paying a fine. It is not always apparent what the police deem sensitive, and they have detained people for photographing anything they view as sensitive, no matter how innocuous it may seem. You should seriously consider the risks of taking pictures anywhere in Zimbabwe other than game parks and other obvious tourist attractions.

Political Sensitivities: U.S. citizens have been detained and threatened with expulsion for administering humanitarian aid and expressing political opinions or criticism of the government. The streets around the President’s residence and the Botanical Gardens are closed to vehicle, bicycle, and foot traffic from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. President Mnangagwa and senior government officials travel around Harare with large and aggressive motorcades that have been known to run motorists off the road. Security personnel occasionally beat and harass drivers who fail to pull out of the way quickly. Move quickly off the road and come to a complete stop if overtaken by a motorcade.

Currency: You should carefully review the U.S. sanctions program currently in place prior to engaging in the purchase/sale or transfer of money and other assets with a Zimbabwean citizen or entity. U.S. citizens are advised to consult the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for up-to-date information on these sanctions.

Roadblocks: The Government of Zimbabwe frequently uses marked and unmarked roadblocks to enforce order and collect fines, particularly in urban centers and on major roads. Quickly comply when instructed by police or security officials to stop at a roadblock.

Game Parks: Safety standards and training vary at game parks and wildlife viewing areas. You should ascertain whether operators are trained and licensed. All animals should be respected as wild and extremely dangerous. Travelers should keep a safe distance from animals and remain in vehicles or other protected enclosures when visiting game parks.

Hunting: Tourists wishing to hunt in Zimbabwe must be accompanied by a licensed operator. You should request and check the authenticity of their license by contacting the Zimbabwe Professional Guides Association (Z.P.G.A). Hunters should confirm that they are not hunting on illegally seized land or on a nature conservancy as you may be subject to arrest, lawsuits, fines, seizure of possessions, and imprisonment. You should also contact the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Washington, D.C. to determine what permits are required by the Government of Zimbabwe for importing weapons into the country.

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

LGBTQI+ Travelers: The constitution of Zimbabwe outlaws marriage between people of the same gender and allows for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Consensual sex between men is criminalized in Zimbabwe, with both parties subject to fines of 5,000 USD or a year imprisonment or both. While there is no explicit legal prohibition against sexual relations between women, societal violence and harassment against LGBTQI+ individuals is pervasive. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Zimbabwe prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Accessible facilities, transportation, and communications are extremely rare. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure. Contact the US Embassy in Zimbabwe to receive a list of providers.

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

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

The public medical infrastructure in Zimbabwe is far below U.S. standards and medical facilities are limited. Provincial hospitals in rural areas are rudimentary and not equipped to care for serious injuries. Serious illnesses or injuries require medical evacuation to South Africa.

You should:

  • Bring medications sufficient for the duration of your trip in original packaging;
  • Carry your prescriptions;
  • Be prepared to pay up front for medical services; and
  • Be prepared to arrange your own transportation to medical facilities.

For emergency services in Zimbabwe dial 999 for medical or 995 for police.

Ambulance services are:

  • available in the urban areas of Harare and Bulawayo and the tourist area of Victoria Falls, but training and response times of emergency responders is below U.S. standards.
  • not present throughout the rest of the country or are unreliable in most areas except major urban centers and Victoria Falls.
  • not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.

Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

The power supply in Zimbabwe is 220 volt 50 Hz and unreliable. Travelers who use electrical medical devices should consider alternatives and verify with lodging accommodations that your needs can be met.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

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, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to ensure the medication is legal in Zimbabwe.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention closely monitors the prevalence of disease in Zimbabwe and updates the Travel Health Notice accordingly. Monitor the CDC website for current information.

The following disease are prevalent:

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

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons. It is typically at its worst in the southern hemisphere winter. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:

  • Infants, children, and teens
  • People over 65 years of age
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • People with heart disease or diabetes
  • People who work or are active outdoors

Health facilities in general:

  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies. Private medical facilities in Harare, Bulawayo, and the tourist area of Victoria Falls can stabilize patients in emergencies.
  • Hospitals and doctors normally require payment “up front” prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is not available. Most hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment.
  • Generally, in hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight. Consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institution

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery

  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on medical tourism.
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Zimbabwe.

Pharmaceuticals

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.  
  • Zimbabwe does not allow the importation of Oxycodone, even with a prescription. Travelers should nor carry Oxycodone.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy

  • If you are considering traveling to Zimbabwe to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.
  • There is no legal framework for foreigners or same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy in Zimbabwe. As a result, surrogacy agreements between foreign intending parents and gestational mothers are not enforced by Zimbabwe courts.
  • If you decide to pursue parenthood in Zimbabwe via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.

Water Quality

  • In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Adventure Travel

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
  • CDC recommends that travelers going to Zimbabwe take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.  
  • HIV/AIDS: Zimbabwe has an estimated HIV prevalence of 12.6% for those over age 15.
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Zimbabwe.  

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in Zimbabwe is hazardous. Zimbabweans drive on the left side of the road and people often drive over the speed limit. Avoid driving at night. The Traffic Safety Council reports there are 40-50 vehicle accidents in Harare every night. Car seats for children are uncommon. Although the main highways throughout Zimbabwe are generally in fair but deteriorating condition, most lack passing lanes, shoulders, breakdown lanes, lighting, reflectors, and similar safety features. Secondary roads are normally in very poor condition.

Hazards you will encounter while driving (especially after dark):

  • Pedestrians (in dark clothing) and animals walking along or on the roads. 
  • Motor vehicles with no headlights or taillights.
  • Restricted visibility when passing.
  • Faded lane markers and non-working streetlights and traffic lights.
  • Service stations lacking fuel and spare parts. 
  • Numerous potholes.

There is no national network of roadside emergency service. However, the Automobile Association (AA) of Zimbabwe is willing to provide roadside emergency service to nonmembers for a fee. They can be contacted at +263-4-788-173. AA Zimbabwe’s 24-hour emergency roadside helpline is +263-4-776-760 or +263-712-406-033. Travelers can also contact the Road Angels, another roadside assistance service, at +263-4-334-304 and +263-4-334-418.

Traffic Laws: It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving in Zimbabwe. Drivers are required to wear seat belts or helmets if driving motorcycles. Car seats are not legally required for small children. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) enforcement does not generally exist, resulting in high rates of impaired drivers, especially at night.

Public Transportation: The U.S. Embassy prohibits its employees from using “Kombis” – the minibuses that service main routes – due to safety concerns. Inter-city commuter bus travel, except on “luxury coaches,” is dangerous due to overcrowding, inadequate maintenance, and unsafe drivers. Public bus drivers are often fatigued, fail to adhere to local speed limits, and often fail to obey traffic rules or regulations.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Air Travel: The U.S. Embassy prohibits its employees from using the national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, due to safety concerns. Several other regional airlines offer services, but flights can be subject to unannounced schedule changes.

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

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

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

Last Updated: April 11, 2022

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Harare
2 Lorraine Drive, Bluffhill
Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone
+(263) 867-701-1000
Emergency
+(263) 867-701-1000
Fax
+(263) 24-233-4320

Zimbabwe Map