Tourist visas are available at major borders, airports and ports, but it’s important to note that you should have a Zambian visa before arrival if travelling by train or boat from Tanzania.
All foreign visitors – other than Southern African Development Community (SADC) passport holders who are issued visas free of charge – pay US$50 for single entry (up to one month) and US$80 for double entry (up to three months; which is good if you plan on venturing into one of the bordering countries). Applications for multiple-entry visas (US$80) must be made in advance at a Zambian embassy or high commission. If staying less than 24 hours, for example if you are visiting Livingstone from Zimbabwe, you pay only US$20.
Payment can be made in US dollars, and sometimes UK pounds. Other currencies such as euros, South African rand, Botswanan pula or Namibian dollars may be accepted at borders, but don’t count on it.
Business visas can be obtained from Zambian diplomatic missions abroad, and application forms can be downloaded at www.zambiaimmigration.gov.zm.
- Extensions for all types of tourist visas are possible at any Department of Immigration office in any main town in Zambia. You’re likely to be most successful in Lusaka and Livingstone. The immigration office on Cairo Rd in Lusaka is an efficient operation.
- There’s generally no queue and no fee for an additional 30 days. It’s possible to seek an extension twice for a total of 90 days a year. Be aware of the expiration date of the visa; if it’s a Saturday or Sunday it’s best to go in on a weekday beforehand.
- If for some reason you overstay your visa, humility and politeness go a long way in dealing with Zambian authorities.
Visas for Onward Travel
Most visas these days are available at border crossings. However, your chances of obtaining a visa for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaïre) or Angola are extremely remote at borders or in Lusaka, so get it before you arrive in Zambia.
Botswana Visas on arrival valid for 30 days (and possibly up to 90 days if requested) free to passport holders from most Commonwealth countries, all EU countries, the US and countries in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
Malawi Most nationalities do not require a visa and are granted 30 days upon arrival. Citizens of some countires, Austria for one, must apply in advance for a single-entry visa, which costs US$150.
Mozambique Single-entry visas (US$68) are available from most land and air entry points.
Namibia Most nationalities do not require a visa and are granted 90 days upon arrival. Others need to prearrange a visa in advance.
Tanzania Visa US$50. Bring two passport photos.
Zimbabwe Visas are single/double entry US$30/45 for most nationalities, but British & Irish pay a bit extra US$55/75 (single/double). Meanwhile, Canadians pay US$75 for single visa, with no option for double entry.
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency tourists can bring in or take out of Zambia. Import or export of Zambian kwacha, however, is technically forbidden; but if you bring in/out a small amount, it’s unlikely to be a problem. Tourists can bring through customs 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, and 1 L of spirits or 2L of lighter alcoholic beverages.