Zambian visa policy may best be described as perplexing: there is a maze of regulations governing who need visas, whether visas can be acquired on arrival, and how much they cost. Local border posts use their own interpretations, as well. Zambia has been cashing in on the unexpected growth in its tourist sector, with visa costs raised and the prior visa waiver scheme canceled: you’ll now be required to pay in cash at the immigration kiosks when you arrive.
The good news is that after customs has worked out what group you fall into, getting a visa is usually not an issue, and most Western tourists can receive visas on arrival. Some nationalities, such as Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, are eligible for visa-free admission. The complete list of visa-exempt nationalities may be seen on the immigration department’s website . All countries may apply for a single-entry visa for $50 and a multiple-entry visa for $80, which is valid for three months; US passport holders can only apply for a multiple-entry visa, which is good for three years.
- All nationalities may get a day entrance visa for $20, which is valid for 24 hours.
- Transit visas cost the same as a single entry visa and are good for seven days.
There’s also the US$50 Univisa, which is valid in both Zambia and Zimbabwe for 30 days. Only Livingstone airport, Victoria Falls land border, Kazangula Botswana border, and Lusaka airport can issue Univisas.
Check with your closest Zambian embassy for the most up-to-date information; the Zambian Embassy in the United States provides some information on their site, and obtaining a visa before to travel will minimize the amount of uncertainty.
If you need a visa to enter Zambia, you may be able to apply for one at your home country’s embassy or consulate if there isn’t a Zambian diplomatic presence there. A Zambian visa application costs £50 to complete at a British diplomatic post, with an additional £70 if the Zambian authorities need the application to be forwarded to them. If the Zambian authorities communicate with you directly, they may opt to charge you an extra cost.
Customs and Immigration at Lusaka Airport is unprepared to cope with visitors. Zambian passport holders, Residents, Tourists, and Diplomats each have their own lane. The fact that the tourist lane is occasionally unstaffed is telling. Despite the presence of numerous immigration officials, the Tourist lane is often unstaffed. Before being processed, expect all other lanes to be vacant.
Specialist safari vacation firms can handle immigration for people who would rather leave the burden to someone else.