A Visa for Mozambique can be obtained while traveling or within your country of origin. There are 4 main ways to getting one, but read carefully before choosing which method is best for you.
Visas are 100% necessary for American tourists (and most other countries as well). If you read online about this, the Mozambican government states you must have one prior to arrival and cannot obtain one at the border. Having said all that, Kyle and I just showed up at the Vilanculos airport and easily got one on arrival for USD $75 each.
So what's the deal? Clearly they don't follow their rules tightly but many cases have been reported online of American tourists getting turned away at the border and sent on a plane back to Joburg upon arrival...a costly nightmare.
Safe to say this process is important. These are the 4 ways you can obtain a Visa (the first two are in advance and the second two are on arrival):
- Get one in advance in your country for USD [$160-$210]
- Get one in advance through a third party online service USD [$72-$350]
- Obtain upon arrival for USD $75 (best option if trying to obtain while abroad/traveling)
- Obtain one on arrival through bribery...USD $240 ?+++
In order to get in the country your passport must expire at least 6 months after your departure date from Mozambique and must have at least 3 blank pages (that are not amended pages). If you ran out of pages and got your passport amended to add more pages, they may reject your passport.
Of course, that's the official policy. They did use the amended pages on my passport - so this may not be true. But you definitely need 3 blank pages and it can't expire for at least 6 months after departure.
1. Get one in advance at your country's Mozambique Consulate for USD [$160-$210]
This in-person option can take between 4-10 business days and, if you live in the U.S., you only have one option: Washington D.C. So if you do not live near D.C. like most people than you will have to mail your passport along with several other documents. This process will take around 2 weeks.
On another note, you can only get a Mozambique Visa within your own country's Mozambique Consulate so if you are traveling long term (like we were) then you will be unable to get one from, say, Singapore's Mozambique Consulate unless you have proof of residency within that country.
This process can be lengthy if you need your passport and also a bit costly. Luckily, there are third party Visa service centers in the U.S. that can expedite the process.
2. Get one in advance through a third party service [USD $72 - $350]
Similar to number one, you can get a Visa in person at a Visa Center or by mail through an online service. This Visa Center has offices in San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C.. There is a service fee, however, so costs can be higher. The company will handle everything and return your passport within the given time frame.
For a mail-in service, the cheapest option is through Travisa at $72, but they could have your passport for several weeks which is quite unsettling. If you have the time this would be your best option as it is cheaper and convenient. If you cannot be without a passport for several weeks, other services like Visa HQ can do it as quickly as one business day but at a much higher rate ($240-$350).
3. Roll the dice and try and get one on arrival for USD $75
So you didn't plan in advance enough but don't want to pay $350 to expedite your Visa. Or, like me, you are traveling abroad and cannot be without your passport. This cheap option is risky as Americans have been turned away at the border before. But like I said, we got ours on arrival with no problems at all.
You do risk losing money on any hotels and flights you booked if you get turned away, but save on the difference in price of getting one in advance. However, it is a lot easier and a good backup if you were unable to obtain a Visa in advance. If you do choose this route, it is very important that you follow these steps!
- DO NOT arrive in Maputo's border control. Instead, fly into Inhambane or Vilanculos.
- Print out your flight itinerary including your flight out of Mozambique to show the date you are leaving
- Have your hotel itinerary printed showing where you are staying in the country
- At least 3 consecutive blank pages in your passport that is valid for at least 6 months
Maputo is the capital of Mozambique at the most southern point of the country where apparently the people are the least friendly and the most susceptible to bribery. Your chances of getting rejected here are much more likely. We flew into Vilanculos where the people were incredibly friendly and the Visa process was extremely easy.
4. Bribe your way into getting one on arrival if rejected at the border
This is your safety net if you risk going in to Mozambique without a Visa. It is without being said that this is the most risky and potentially most costly option. Mozambique has a bad reputation for bribery and while it likely would work, you may pay far more than what you bargained for. Not to mention you would be supporting a corrupt system... Only if you had no where to go and a lot of money on the line in hotels and flights should you resort to this.