The government of Tanzania has recently announced a change in the process of obtaining a Tanzanian visa on arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, which will involve longer queuing times when entering the country. Travelers planning to arrive at this airport in northern Tanzania should be aware of the new requirements and consider whether it will be more efficient to obtain an electronic visa before traveling.
There are only a few countries whose citizens can travel to Tanzania visa-free, for a stay of up to 90 days. All other foreign travelers are first required to obtain one of the Tanzania visa types in order to travel to the country. The majority of foreign citizens are able to either obtain a Tanzania visa on arrival at border entry checkpoints or a Tanzania eVisa through a simple online application.
What Are the New Requirements for the Tanzania Visa on Arrival?
Previously, the process of obtaining a Tanzania visa on arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport was the same as at other border entry points in the country. Travelers are required to wait in an immigration queue to complete a visa on arrival application and pay a fee in cash. It is also necessary to provide immigration with evidence of a return flight ticket or a ticket to an onward destination.
However, the government of Tanzania has now implemented new requirements for a visa on arrival for travelers arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport which have added several more steps to the process. Those who arrive at this Tanzanian airport without a visa are now required to:
- Wait in line for a Government Control Number (GCN)
- Queue to pay for the GCN at the bank
- Wait in line to have Immigration check the approved GCN
- Complete the visa on arrival application and pay the required fee.
Although local authorities are implementing measures to speed up the process, the new requirements mean that it will now take over 2 hours to complete the visa on arrival application at Kilimanjaro Airport and gain entry to the country.
The new requirements for a Tanzania visa on arrival are only being implemented at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Travelers who arrive at other ports of entry in Tanzania, such as Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, will not be required to queue and pay for a Government Control Number for a visa on arrival.
Do I Need to Get a Tanzania Visa on Arrival?
Although it is necessary for all non-visa-exempt citizens to obtain a visa to travel to Tanzania, it is not obligatory to queue for a visa on arrival upon entering the country. The same foreign nationalities who are eligible for the visa on the arrival are now able to apply for a Tanzania online visa in a matter of minutes before departing for the country.
The main difference between a Tanzania eVisa and a visa on arrival is that it takes much less time to complete an online application, especially since the added requirements for visa on arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport have been implemented. While it can now take over 2 hours to get a visa on arrival, it only takes around 10 minutes to complete the online application.
Unlike applicants for the visa on arrival, those with an approved Tanzania eVisa are not required to wait in long queues at Tanzanian border control: they are simply able to show a copy of the approved visa to gain expedited entry to the country. The electronic visa greatly reduces the overall time it takes to obtain a visa for Tanzania.
The online application is simple and straightforward. Applicants are required to enter basic personal, passport, and travel information, and pay the visa fee using a debit or credit card to receive an approved electronic visa for Tanzania via email. Unlike the visa on arrival process at Kilimanjaro Airport, it is not necessary to pay an extra fee for a Government Control Number.
Another downside of obtaining a Tanzania visa on arrival is the fact that the length of permitted stay is not guaranteed and depends on the port of entry at which the traveler arrives. Conversely, those who apply for the Tanzania eVisa are always granted a stay of up to 90 days in the country.