Special Travel Circumstances in Mozambique

Mozambican law requires that all persons carry an identity document such as a passport when out in public and that they present it to police upon request. Notarized copies of both the biographic page of a passport and a valid Mozambican visa are acceptable forms of identification, although police will occasionally demand original documents. There are certain areas in Mozambique where pedestrian traffic is prohibited and the ban is strictly enforced. These areas include the front of the presidential offices located north of the Hotel Polana on the seaside of Avenida Julius Nyerere and the Praça dos Herois on Avenida Acordos de Lusaka near the airport, both in Maputo.

It is against the law to destroy Mozambican currency; offenders can expect a jail sentence or fine. The limit for an undeclared amount of U.S. dollars one can take out of the country is $5,000. The maximum amount of local currency one can take out is 500 metical, which is less than 20 U.S. dollars. Some U.S. travelers have reported having difficulties cashing traveler’s checks and have relied instead on ATMs and credit cards for money withdrawals in Mozambique. Travelers have reported that banks in Mozambique will only accept new U.S. bills. Outside of the major hotels and restaurants, credit cards are not widely accepted in Mozambique. The South African rand and U.S. dollar are sometimes accepted as legal tender, although this is more common in the southern part of the country or in tourist areas; all transactions must have a local currency (metical) payment option.

All U.S. citizens are prohibited, by U.S. federal law, from patronizing any businesses located within the Maputo Shopping Center. This shopping center is owned by Mohamed Bachir Suleman (MBS), a notorious drug baron, who, on June 1, 2010, was designated by the White House as a “Drug Kingpin.” This makes any U.S. citizen who frequents his businesses subject to the Kingpin Act. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties, to include up to 10 years in prison, and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code, for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

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