Obtaining a visa on arrival in Tanzania turned out to be easier than I thought. Follow these steps and you’ll have no trouble securing a visa upon arrival in Tanzania.
Note that a visa-on-arrival is available in the following ports of entry in the United Republic of Tanzania, which includes all major sea and airports. My journey was into Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam (DAR), the largest airport in Tanzania.
A visa on arrival is available to passport holders of these nations. Note there are several seemingly random nationalities that are exempt. For example, citizens of Cyprus and Romania do not require a visa. All “western” passport holders are eligible for a visa on arrival.
The cost of a single-entry visa is $50 for citizens of most countries, but $100 for Americans. A multiple-entry visa is $100, including for Americans. Transit visas are $30 and valid for 14 days.
Here’s how I obtained my tourist visa:
1. Onboard your flight or ship into Tanzania, you will receive two visa forms that should be filled out prior to landing. They look like this:
Don’t worry if you do not get these forms: they are also available at your port of entry.
2. Once you reach your port of entry, follow the signs for “International Arrivals”. In my case in Dar es Salaam (DAR) I walked down a flight of steps into an arrival area.
3. An immigration attendant directed me toward a queue in which uniformed immigration agents sit behind desks. Once I reached the window, I handed over my passport and the two forms I had filled out earlier. I requested to pay by credit card but was told “the machine was broken” and asked to pay in “crisp, new” cash. Thankfully I had cash on me. Be prepared to pay in cash and ensure that your bills are unmarked and recently issued.
The official Tanzania visa website indicates up to five passport photos may be necessary, but I was not asked for one.
4. After processing my paperwork, I was directed to wait nearby for my name to be called. Around the corner were several additional agents preparing the visas.
5. About 15 minutes later my name was called and I picked up my passport, which now included the following full-page visa sticker:
6. Visa in hand, I proceed to immigration. Moments later, I was stamped into Tanzania and on my way to my hotel.
Thankfully, the process was easy and relatively quick. Large red signs condemning bribes adorned the immigration area and I never encountered anyone who even hinted at a bribe–
Note: Zanzibar is semi-autonomous. Thus, you will not be stamped out of Tanzania when traveling to Zanzibar, but you will have to go through separate immigration formalities upon reaching Zanzibar (no additional fees, though).