Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds are required for entry into Malawi. U.S. citizens traveling to Malawi for tourism, transit or business for 30 days or less can receive a visitor’s permit at the airports or border points of entry. The 30-day permit may be extended twice up to an additional 30 days each renewal prior to expiration. Currently, the Malawi Immigration Department is charging for all permit extensions as follows:
a. A 30-day visitor’s permit (or less) is granted at any port of entry and is free,
b. Application for a permit extension for an additional 30 days (or less) is MK 5,000.00 (Approx $15 U.S. dollars),
c. Application for a second permit extension for an additional 30 days (or less) is MK 5,000.00 (Approx $15 U.S. dollars),.
A permit extension application must be submitted prior to the permit’s expiration date. There is no guarantee the request will be granted.
U.S. citizens wishing to volunteer, study, conduct research or business for more than 90 days in Malawi are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa/permit from the Malawian Embassy or Consulate, prior to traveling to Malawi. There is no guarantee that requests for changing one's immigration category (e.g., from visitor permit or tourist visa to Temporary Employment Permit) will be granted. Foreign citizens whose primary purpose of travel is to participate in religious activities (voluntary or paid) should obtain a Temporary Employment Permit (TEP) rather than a visitor’s permit through their sponsoring organization or business.
Malawian immigration authorities have fined, arrested, and deported U.S. citizens who entered Malawi with a tourist visa or on a visitor’s permit and proceeded to conduct other activities inconsistent with their tourist status (e.g., business or volunteer services).
Occasionally, some airlines have required travelers to have a Malawian visa before boarding connecting flights in European airports. Malawian authorities confirmed in October 2011 that there is no requirement for obtaining a visitor’s permit for short stays (30 days or less) prior to arrival in Malawi.
U.S. citizens are reminded that they are subject to Malawi's laws. Individuals that overstay on their visa, even unknowingly, have been fined, arrested and deported. For additional information on entry requirements, contact the Embassy of the Republic of Malawi in Washington, D.C. 2408 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. You may also visit the Embassy of Malawi’s website. There is also a Malawi consulate in New York City.
According to Malawian law, travelers must declare all foreign currency when entering Malawi, regardless of its purpose or amount. Travelers should only exchange foreign currency at the bank or approved foreign exchange bureaus. Any currency declared at entry may be expatriated without further authorization. With bank approval, an individual may export up to USD $2000 per trip. Otherwise an individual is not permitted to expropriate currency and it will be confiscated at the point of departure.