Botswana is a land of contrasts. While more than 70% of the territory is Kalahari desert, the remaining 30% are incredibly rich with vegetation and wildlife. In either plane, one will find beauty beyond words. So much so that one of the most prominent features - the Okavango Delta, is considered one of the natural wonders of the African continent. However, besides being one of the countries with the highest elephant concentration, this landlocked democracy has a lot of treasures to offer to the curious traveller. The ancient rock paintings in Tsodilo, the Makgadikgadi Pan, the unique border with Zambia are just a few exciting things to experience there.
However, I feel that you already know it because this is not an article about the most instagrammable places in Botswana. You are here to learn more about the Botswana visa policy and much other information that will help you apply for a Botswana visa. Am I right? Well, this is our lucky day because I will give you the most important insights and try to answer the most pressing questions regarding formalities that most people who travel to Botswana might ask. Like, do I need a visa for Botswana, and how to apply for Botswana visa and more technical information on Botswana visa fee and processing times makes your hunt for the info quicker. So let’s start with the basics.
Do I need a visa for Botswana?
Let’s kick this off by trying to understand more about Botswana visa free countries. The good news is that the list of countries that do not need to apply for Botswana visa is quite long. Meaning, nationals of about half of the world’s countries will not need to go through this procedure. Even if there is a great chance that you are not required to do the annoying process of applying for a visa, please contact the closest national point of migration services as they will be able to say for sure if you are currently eligible for travelling to Botswana visa-free.
What should I know about the Botswana visa policy?
One of the most important things about Botswana visa policy is the simple fact that there is a visa just for travel for recreational purposes in their legislation. Non-surprisingly, it is called a Tourist Visa. It allows entering Botswana for tourism or other short-term purposes that are not related to employment for a duration of up to one month. If you would like to apply for Botswana visa that allows you a longer stay, you will have to be patient as it is not possible right away. You will have to apply for the ordinary tourist visa and then give a justifiable reason for the local authorities to extend it. I will stress that no paid activities are to be performed during the stay in this country with this particular visa type. Doing the contrary might cause revoking of rights staying there, and you would be asked to leave immediately.
How to apply for Botswana visa?
The application process is quite straightforward, as it is similar to most other countries. But before explaining the more lengthy application, let me explain a bit about the possibilities to obtain a Botswana tourist visa on arrival. The reality is that in 2018 they announced a plan to introduce such a system for easier tourist arrivals, but it was soon put on hold. And currently, only citizens of India are allowed to arrange their visa formalities after landing in Botswana. It is why anyone willing to apply for a visa will have to go through the following procedure.
First, you are suggested to contact either an immigration service or a diplomatic mission of Botswana to make sure the exact requirements and other details of the procedure will apply to you particularly. The following steps should be quite simple from that moment on. You would fill a Botswana visa application form, and prepare the necessary documents (see the next paragraph for more details). Then you will book an appointment in person and go to the consulate or embassy to hand in the papers. Then all there is left to do is wait for the officials’ answer to see if you have been granted a visa to enter Botswana. Hopefully, the answer is positive, and you can jump on a plane towards the next big adventure in this beautiful country.
What are Botswana tourist visa requirements?
First, you will have to see if you are eligible for visa-free travel and if you are not, you will have to ensure that you fulfil a list of Botswana tourist visa requirements to submit your application. Usually, besides the Botswana visa application form, you will be required to hand in a standard bunch of papers. Here is the basic package you can prepare if you have set your mind to apply for this travel document.
- A passport and a certified copy of pages 1 & 2. The validity should be no less than 6 months.
- Two recent passport-size photos in colour.
- A letter stating your motivations for visiting this country and explaining the details of your stay.
- All information regarding your travel plans - the transportation and accommodation bookings, as well as the address where you will reside during your stay in Botswana.
- An itinerary of your trip within the country.
- Proof that shows your intent of departing Botswana after your trip is finished.
As you see, the list is not too complicated, but these are just initial requirements, and additional information might be required by the officials to ensure the legitimacy of your travel. My honest advice is always preparing more information and being as straightforward as possible because then you are ensuring a faster and smoother application process for yourself. Additionally, if you are transparent about your travel and all the connected things, your application will likely be perceived as truthful. One more piece of advice I can give is something I said before already - ask the officers to provide you with the exact information on what documents are necessary before handing in the application documents. It will be easier on you!
How much is Botswana visa?
No need to worry about how much is Botswana visa, because the numbers are quite democratic. Botswana visa fee for tourism purposes depends on the type you wish to obtain. For a single-entry visa, you will have to part from about 30 USD in local currency, but for a multiple-entry visa, slightly more - 50 USD. Compared to visas of other countries, this fee is average as it is not too expensive, nor among the cheapest ones.
How long is the Botswana visa application processing time?
Knowing that it does not take too much time to get the desired document ready is relieving. Usually, it will be 7 to 14 days from the moment of application, but allow up to 21 days as several sources online mention that it takes a tat longer at times. If you are a lucky citizen of India and are eligible for a Botswana tourist visa on arrival, you will get it in 1 day.
Let’s wrap this up then. If you have been around the block a few times, the descriptions I gave you will show how ordinary the Botswana visa application process is. However, that does not mean you should take it lightly, as the formalities for entering a country are never a joke. If you are not on the list of Botswana visa free countries and have set your mind to visit this unique gem, just follow the instructions. Just as I mentioned before already - researching the formalities ahead will get you far. Read information online, check with the officials and stay informed on your rights! And this is the moment where I will wish you good luck with the application and safe travels!
* Please keep in mind that even with travel bans lifted in countries worldwide, travel to Botswana or any other country whatsoever should be planned with the utmost caution. First, check the travel regulations regarding the intended country and weigh out the potential health risks on your responsibility. And even if you do decide to proceed with the planned trip, then make sure to book tickets and accommodation that allows free cancellation because the reality of the travel industry these days is very unpredictable. The situation changes day by day, and closing borders on a whim happen now and then. Alternatively, you might need to get quarantined yourself and will therefore need to cancel or delay your plans.
Getting flexible travel solutions will secure you against losing money and save you a ton of worries. Better safe than sorry, right?