How to Enter Botswana

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

A passport valid for at least six months after the intended date of departure is required to enter Botswana. U.S. citizens are permitted to stay up to 90 days total within a 12-month period without a visa. If visitors are planning on staying longer, have already exceeded the 90-day per year maximum, or have not already obtained an airline ticket to depart Botswana, they will be required to obtain a visa prior to arrival. Travelers who attempt to enter Botswana with a temporary travel document (12-page emergency photo-digitized passport [EPDP]) must have a visa to enter Botswana. It is not possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Botswana, and U.S. citizens without a visa in their temporary passport will face possible fines and long administrative delays.

While there is no specific requirement in Botswana that visitors have a certain number of blank pages in their passport, most flights in/out of Botswana transit through South Africa, which has a strictly enforced policy requiring at least one completely blank visa page and frequently insists on travelers having two completely blank visa pages. Please note that these pages are in addition to the endorsement/amendment pages at the back of the passport. Without a sufficient number of blank pages, travelers, even when in possession of a valid South African visa, may be refused entry into South Africa, fined, and returned to their point of origin at the traveler’s expense.

For additional information on entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana, 1531-1533 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 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, NY, 10016, telephone (212) 889-2277, fax (212) 725-5061. There are also honorary consuls in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston. Visit the Embassy of Botswana’s website for the most current visa information. As a general precaution, 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 the passport.

The Embassy is unaware of any required vaccinations to enter Botswana. Visitors to the Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls areas should be aware that Zambia is now considered a low-risk yellow fever country, and any traveler with Zambian immigration stamps in their passport may be required to present their current and valid “International Certificate of Vaccination as approved by the World Health Organization (WHO)” (commonly called a “yellow card”) or statement of medical exemption (also located on the same yellow card). This requirement is also imposed on travelers flying through South Africa via yellow fever countries, even when transiting passengers are required to stay on board the plane (e.g., on flights stopping in Dakar, Senegal or Accra, Ghana, or Nairobi, Kenya), or if the plane makes an unscheduled landing in a yellow fever country. As a precaution, all travelers to or through South Africa should carry their original yellow card. Letters, scans, copies, or faxes regarding prior yellow fever vaccination will not be accepted. While this requirement may not be consistently applied, travelers who cannot present an original and currently valid yellow card upon request will be refused entry into or transit through South Africa. Yellow fever vaccinations are not administered at South African ports of entry for the purpose of entry into South Africa. Travelers are reminded that they are required to obtain a yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days prior to their arrival in South Africa in accordance with WHO regulations.

There are no restrictions on the number of currency visitors can bring into Botswana. However, visitors carrying more than 10,000 Pula or the equivalent in a foreign currency (approximately $1,200.00 USD) are required to declare their currency to the Department of Customs at the port of entry.

Special Travel Circumstances in Botswana

Botswana experiences regular periods of rolling electric power outages that can leave areas without power for several hours. Visitors are urged to carry flashlights. U.S. citizens are also urged to be aware of how power outages might affect home security systems, garage doors and gates, and kitchen equipment, such as stoves and refrigerators. The power fluctuations could cause power surges that might harm computers, televisions, or other electrical appliances.

Botswana strictly enforces its laws controlling the trade in animal products. In November 2012 Botswana announced a suspension of commercial hunting in public or private controlled hunting areas which will go into effect on January 1, 2014. It will still be possible to possess or have shipped hunting trophies obtained before the ban takes effect, as per regulations described below. Previously, the hunting of any animal in Botswana generally required a license or a permit. The hunting of lions, as well as protected game animals, was explicitly prohibited before the ban. Protected game animals include cheetah, wild dog, otter, rhinoceros, all pelicans, and all flamingos. Leopards and elephants as well as certain other partially protected game animals are covered under a strict licensing and quota regime. Botswana's Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act makes it illegal to possess or remove from Botswana any living or dead animal or animal trophy without a government permit. A trophy is any horn, ivory, tooth, tusk, bone, claw, hoof, hide, skin, hair, feather, egg, or other durable portion of an animal, whether the item has been processed or not. Curio shops and vendors throughout the country sell items such as animal skins, plain and decorated ostrich eggs and eggshells, and carved bones or teeth of animals protected by this law. All souvenirs, although widely sold, are subject to this act. Travelers departing the country with a trophy must have a receipt from a store licensed to sell such items. Ivory and endangered rhinoceros horn products obtained in Botswana may not be removed from the country under any circumstances; elephant hair jewelry may be removed only with the appropriate license from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Trophies may not be taken from the wild without a permit. Violators are subject to arrest and may face a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a substantial fine. For more information, please see our customs information page.

Wild animals may pose a danger to tourists. Tourists should bear in mind that, even in the most serene settings, the animals are wild and can pose a threat to life and safety. Tourists should use common sense when approaching wildlife, observe all local or park regulations, and heed all instructions given by tour guides. In addition, tourists are advised that potentially dangerous areas sometimes lack fences and warning signs. Exercise appropriate caution in all unfamiliar surroundings.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, and health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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