Exercise normal precautions in Botswana.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Botswana:
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Botswana for information on U.S. - Botswana relations.
A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required. U.S. citizens are permitted stays up to 90 days total within a 12-month period without a visa. Travelers who attempt to enter Botswana with a temporary travel document (for example, a 12-page emergency passport) must have a visa to enter. It is not possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Botswana, and U.S. citizens without a visa in a temporary passport will face possible fines and long administrative delays.
For additional information on entry requirements and the most current visa information contact the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana, 1531-1533 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 244-4990/1, fax (202) 244-4164 or the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Botswana to the United Nations, 103 E. 37th St., New York, N.Y., 10016, telephone (212) 889-2277, and fax (212) 725-5061. There are also honorary consuls in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston. All travelers are advised to carry a photocopy of the photo/bio information page of their passport and keep it in a location separate from their passport.
New Requirements for Minors Entering Botswana
Effective October 1, 2016, minors traveling to Botswana must have a certified copy of their unabridged birth certificate in addition to their valid passport. If only one of the parents listed on a child’s birth certificate is travelling with the child, that parent must have an affidavit of consent for the child’s travel from the non-accompanying parent. See the Embassy of Botswana’s webpage for complete details.
Requirements for Minors Transiting South Africa
South Africa requires unabridged birth certificates for minors traveling to or through South Africa, and parental consent forms from the parent or parents not accompanying the child. See South Africa’s Country Specific Information regarding this and the requirement for at least two blank (unstamped) passport pages per entry.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Botswana.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.
CRIME: Petty street crime and crimes of opportunity, primarily the theft of money and personal property, are common. Home invasions, break-ins, “smash and grabs” from vehicles at intersections and from locked cars in parking lots, cell phone thefts, and muggings - often at knife point, are routinely reported to the police. Hotels and lodges are not immune from criminal activity. Visitors should remain alert and take reasonable precautions to safeguard personal property (particularly money and electronic equipment). Crime is also reported in game parks, nature reserves, and remote areas frequented by tourists. Avoid walking alone, particularly at night. Visitors are urged to exercise caution near the Gaborone Dam and Kgale Hill in Gaborone due to the high number of reported criminal incidents. If confronted by an armed individual, promptly comply as resistance could result in severe injury.
You should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.
Travelers arriving in Botswana via South Africa should be aware that there is a serious and continuing baggage pilferage problem at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) and Cape Town International Airports. You should use an airport plastic wrapping service and avoid placing valuables in checked luggage. Make an inventory of items in checked baggage to aid in claims processing if theft does occur. If asked to gate check a piece of hand luggage, transfer your high value items and prescription drugs into a smaller bag to carry onboard the plane.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (267) 395-3982.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting 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. 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.
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.
Power and water: Power outages can leave areas without power for several hours, and may affect home security systems, garage doors and gates, and kitchen equipment. Power surges may harm computers, televisions, or other electrical appliances. In times of drought, the Water Utilities Corporation may ration water.
Game and Animal Trophies: Botswana strictly enforces its laws controlling the trade in animal products, often by means of spot checks for illegal products on roadways or at airports. Violators are subject to arrest and may face a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a substantial fine. Unwitting U.S. citizens have recently been arrested and prosecuted under this law.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: The law does not explicitly criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, but it includes language criminalizing some aspects of same-sex sexual activity. What the law describes as “unnatural acts” is criminalized with a penalty of up to seven years’ imprisonment. There are no reports of police targeting persons suspected of same-sex sexual activity. There is stigma and discrimination against LGBTI persons particularly in villages and rural areas outside the capital. It is recommended that LGBTI travelers exercise caution with regard to expressing affection in public. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: The government mandates access to public buildings or transportation for persons with disabilities, but civil society sources reported access for persons with disabilities was limited. The law does not specifically include air travel with other modes of transportation, but in general persons with disabilities were provided access to air transportation. While the government mandates access to public buildings or transportation for persons with disabilities, many privately owned buildings and business, and older government buildings remain inaccessible.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Adequately equipped private medical facilities, emergency rooms, and trained physicians are available in Gaborone for simple medical problems but services are rudimentary elsewhere. You must show your ability to pay before you will receive medical care. More advanced care is available in South Africa. Many South African manufactured prescription drugs are available in Gaborone.
Avoid drinking tap water and ice made from tap water. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe to drink. Many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.
If traveling with prescription medication, verify your medication is legal in Botswana. 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:
Road Conditions and Safety: Roads in major population centers are generally good but rural roads can be in poor condition. Traffic lights and street lamps often do not work properly. Approach traffic lights with caution as opposing traffic frequently continues well after a red light. The combination of long stretches of two-lane highways without shoulders or lights, high speed limits, free-range domestic animals, intoxicated drivers, and large numbers of pedestrians and hitchhikers in the roadways make fatal accidents a frequent occurrence, especially on weekends and end-of-month Friday paydays.
Traffic Laws: Traffic circulates on the left in Botswana. A valid international driver’s license, along with vehicle registration documents, is required to drive in Botswana and drivers should always carry them. Traffic accidents should be reported to the Botswana Police Service.
Public Transportation: Local citizens travel around and out of Gaborone in low-cost, cash-only “combis” and taxis that are typically flagged down on the roadside. Tourists do not typically take combis. Taxis are generally safe and can be arranged through hotels or at the airport. Scheduled coach bus service is available between Botswana and South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia and is generally a safe mode of transport. Internal bus services, typically used by local citizens, link many towns and villages across Botswana.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Botswana, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Botswana’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.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
For information concerning travel to Botswana, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Botswana.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.
Botswana is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Botswana and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.
Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Botswana and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-17, Floor 9
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Parental child abduction is not a specific crime in Botswana.
Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Botswana and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States. Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the U.S. Embassy in Botswana for information and possible assistance.
Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Botswana are authorized to provide legal advice.
The U.S. Embassy in Gabarone, Botswana posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Under the laws of Botswana, mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.
Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.
Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.
Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).
Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.
Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.
Please check back for update.
Available from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Ministry of Home Affairs, Private Bag 002, Gaborone, Botswana. Normally only "short form" birth certificates are issued. The certificate does not include the names of the child's parents. The U.S. Embassy can obtain a complete birth certificate if it assures the Ministry of Home Affairs that the "long form" certificate will be used for "official business" only. Posts requiring complete birth certificates of persons born in Botswana may refer the request to the U.S. Embassy. The request must be accompanied by a copy of the short form birth certificate along with both parents' names (including mother's maiden name).
Death certificates are available from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Ministry of Home Affairs, Private Bag 002, Gaborone.
Marriage certificates are available from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Ministry of Home Affairs, Private Bag 002, Gaborone.
Available to private individuals. People seeking a certificate of no criminal record from Botswana should write to: Criminal Records Bureau, Botswana Police Service, Private Bag 0400, Gaborone, Botswana. Telephone: 00267-391-8601, Fax: 00267-391-8615.
The request must include the person's full name, and dates and places of residence in Botswana.
The Botswana Defense Force was created in the spring of 1977, thus, few military records are available. Service in the Botswana Defense Force is voluntary. Inquiries concerning military records should be directed to Headquarters, Botswana Defense Force, Private Bag X06, Gaborone.
Available from many churches and may be obtained from the Vicar or a Priest.
Gaborone, Botswana (Embassy)
Nonimmigrant visas only are processed in Botswana. Immigrant visa applications for nationals of Botswana are processed by the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg.