Tanzania Transit Visa Saves $70 for US Citizens

Tanzania tourist visas cost US citizens $100 for a 12-month multiple-entry visa, available in advance or at points of entry. Many other nationalities get 6 months and are charged $50. See the Tanzania Embassy in Washington website for more details.

I had one night in Zanzibar and did not want pay $100 for the privilege.

Tanzania does have transit visas available only at arrival. Generously they allow transit up to 14 days. I found little information online and wasn’t sure if it would work or what I would be charged. Several of its neighbors have transit visas that cost exactly the same as other visas.

I arrived in Zanzibar to the friendliest group of immigration officers I have ever met. There was a bit of back and forth among them of it US citizens are eligible and what to charge. One roaming officer  on form help duty took the lead, pointed me to the payment window and said, “I will come and help you.” He finished with someone else’s questions, went over and the decision was the cost was to be US$30. Awesome!

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I entered on the 15th and they hand-wrote on the passport that I paid $30 and had until December 31, more than 14 days. No one checked my onward flights. The next night I departed from Dar Es Salaam without incident.

The vast majority of visitors probably only need one-entry for less than 14 days, so a transit visa may be the way to go and enjoy Tanzania!

Important: at least at Zanzibar Airport they are now only accepting MasterCard or Visa for visa payments, not cash. I have to think that in special cases or when systems are offline they must have a way to accept cash, so come prepared with both.

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  • Joey

    I looked at the Tanzania embassy in DC site and no mention of actual cost of transit visa. What would you have done if the price the immigration officer gave you was over $100?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Joey – I would have had to pay up. I was expecting to have to pay $100, and not sure how they came up with $30, but was quite happy. The risk for people trying is low, since they can always get the $100.

  • ACL

    Great info thanks! I will be in Tanzania in March and may try this route as I will only be there 10 days.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @ACL – I forgot to include int the article that at least at Zanzibar, they are now only accepting MasterCard or Visa for payments, not cash.

  • Jono

    Great info! Quick question. For US citizen

    For the Borderless Visa does the 90 day time period start on you first entry into one of the participating countries?

    My wife an I will be flying into KGL from JNB and immediately driving to Uganda (too bad no transit visa). We are doing the gorillas in Bwindi and then return transit back to KGL and flying out to DXB. So if my math is right if we did everything on arrival it would be $30 entry KLG, $50 overland into Uganda, $30 overland back to KGL. So $10 savings each with borderless Visa?

  • Good information and outside-the-box strategy for travelers. I’m amazed up to 14 days is considered “transit”, especially when arriving by air.

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  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Jono – it appears to be valid 90 days starting from date of entry.

    Your math sounds right. Frankly, unless getting the visa is really convenient for you, I would just do everything on arrival. You’ll spend more than $10 and more time getting a visa in advance, between transport or courier, and embassies often require more documentation than borders, such as pictures, booking confirmations, etc.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @ACL – perfect use for it!

  • Peggy Wallace

    I will be in Zanzibar by cruise ship. Only stay in Tanzania for less than 24 hours, and leave on the same day. How do I apply my transit visa on arrival and not miss the departure time of the excursion tour? If cash payment is needed, US dollars is accepted?

  • Cruise ships generally work out their own procedures, different from air or land, often with no visa at all. They will handle it for you with the excursion. No need to worry.