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XYZ Consular Info: Tanzania
Tanzania Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 9, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Tanzania is a developing East African nation. Tourist
facilities are available in major cities and selected game parks, but they
are limited in other areas. The capital is Dar es Salaam.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required for travel to
Tanzania. U.S. citizens with valid passports may obtain a visa either
before arriving in Tanzania or at any port of entry staffed by immigration
officials. Passports should be valid for a minimum of six months from the
date the visa is obtained, whether it is acquired beforehand or at the port
of entry. Also, foreigners are required to show their passports when
entering or exiting the islands of Unguja (more commonly known as Zanzibar)
and Pemba. Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Tanzanian
Embassy at 2139 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202)
939-6125; or the Tanzanian Permanent Mission to the United Nations at 205
East 42nd Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 972-9160.
Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Tanzanian embassy or
Travelers are reminded to safeguard their U.S. passports while in Tanzania.
Passport loss can lead to delays in departing the country and can cause
disruption of travel. Tanzanian authorities require that travelers who are
not in possession of the visa and entry stamps obtained upon admission to
Tanzania visit the immigration office prior to departure to regularize their
status. Persons attempting to depart the country without proper
documentation may be subject to fines or delays in departure.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have
initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring
documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel
from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation
on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry and departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Political tension on Zanzibar and Pemba can be
extremely high. In the past, riot police have clashed violently with
demonstrators on several occasions, and a number of small explosions have
occurred on Zanzibar and Pemba islands, as well as on the mainland. U.S.
citizens are reminded that violent demonstrations and bombings could recur
with little warning. Travelers should maintain a high level of security
vigilance at all times and avoid political rallies and related public
gatherings because of the potential for violence.
Some of the more recent bombings on Zanzibar have targeted establishments
that may be perceived by certain fundamentalist elements to be "decadent."
Although, to date, the targets have been bars not generally frequented by
Westerners, American travelers should be aware that such attacks have
occurred, and the possibility exists that future attacks may not be limited
to establishments patronized exclusively by locals. There have also been
published threats in some Zanzibar newspapers in recent months warning that
women who dress immodestly may be subject to harassment. American citizens
are advised to dress modestly and to refrain from intemperate public
The area near Tanzania's borders with Rwanda and Burundi has been the site
of minor military clashes, and refugee flows across the borders into
Tanzania continue. There have been a number of incidents of criminal and
violent activity in the region. Travelers to this area should exercise
On August 7, 1998, terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam. As
a result, the
U.S. Embassy relocated to an interim facility until construction of the new
Embassy compound is completed in early 2003. The United States has had
excellent cooperation with Tanzanian police and security forces since the
bombing. However, Tanzania's borders remain porous, and Americans should
remain aware of their surroundings.
GAME PARKS: Tanzania offers opportunities for observation of wildlife in
its natural habitat. Many tour operators offer structured, safe excursions
into parks and other wildlife viewing areas for close observation of flora
and fauna. However, travelers should bear in mind that they, too, must play
a responsible role in maintaining safety. Tourists are mauled or killed
each year as a result of having relaxed their vigilance. Tourists are
reminded to maintain a safe distance from animals and to remain in vehicles
or other protected enclosures when venturing into game parks.
CRIME INFORMATION: Crime is a serious problem in Tanzania, and visitors
should be alert and cautious. Street crime in Dar es Salaam is common and
includes mugging, vehicle theft, "smash and grab" attacks on vehicles, armed
robbery, and burglary. Crime involving firearms is becoming more common.
Thieves and pickpockets on buses and trains steal from inattentive
Pedestrians on beaches and footpaths, whether in isolated areas or in
popular tourist venues, are often targeted for robbery or assault. This is
especially true on Zanzibar and in Dar es Salaam and its environs. Visitors
should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as
passports, jewelry and airline tickets, in a hotel safe or other secure
place. Cameras are highly coveted by thieves; so please guard yours
carefully. Because of the potential for fraud, credit cards should only be
used in reputable tourist hotels.
Carjackings have occurred in both rural and urban areas. Visitors are
advised to drive with doors locked and windows rolled up. Travelers are
urged not to stop between populated areas and to travel in convoys if
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are limited, and medicines are often
unavailable, even in
Dar es Salaam. There are hospitals on Zanzibar that can treat minor
ailments. For any major medical problems, including dental work, travelers
should consider obtaining medical treatment in Nairobi or South Africa where
more advanced medical care is available.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to
consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to
confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency
expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom
cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental
coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not
provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However,
many travel agents and insurance companies offer insurance plans that will
cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services
such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should
consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash
prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United
States may cost well in excess of $50,000 (US). Uninsured travelers who
require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When
consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether
payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be
reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also
include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in
the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of
Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling
Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or
autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Cholera is prevalent in many areas of Tanzania,
and several strains of malaria are endemic. Malaria suppressants are
advised. Visitors should consult their physicians before traveling to learn
about prophylaxis and the possible side effects of various available
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international
traveler's hotline at telephone 1-877-FYI-TRIP
(1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or by visiting the
CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S.
citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those
in the United States. The information below concerning Tanzania is provided
for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a
particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Variable
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Variable
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor/Limited
Road and traffic conditions in Tanzania differ markedly from those found in
the United States, and they present hazards that require drivers to exercise
continual alertness and caution.
Traffic in Tanzania moves on the left. Drivers and pedestrians alike must
maintain vigilance, looking both ways before turning or crossing a road.
Drivers are advised against nighttime travel. Roadways are often not marked
and many lack both streetlights and shoulders. Pedestrians, cyclists, and
animals are often encountered on unlit roads after dark, as are slow-moving
trucks and cars traveling without lights. Car-jacking and other related
crimes are more common during the nighttime hours. Traveling in rural areas
after dark is strongly discouraged.
Although a number of inter-city highways are periodically repaved and
maintained, maintenance schedules are erratic and even good roads may
deteriorate precipitously in periods of inclement weather. During the rainy
season (late March to mid-June), many roads in Tanzania, both urban and
rural, are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.
In urban areas, it is common to find main arterial roads paved and
maintained, while secondary streets are severely rutted and passable only
with high-clearance vehicles. Traffic lights are often out of order, and
care should be exercised at any traffic intersection, whether controlled or
not, because many drivers disregard signals.
Excessive speed, unpredictable driving habits, and the lack of basic safety
equipment on many vehicles pose serious traffic hazards.
Tanzanian law requires all motor vehicle operators to be in possession of a
valid driver's license. Persons staying in Tanzania for six months or less
may use a valid U.S. driver's license after validation by local traffic
authorities, or an international driver's license. Persons intending to
remain in Tanzania for more than six months are required to obtain a
Tanzanian driver's license. All vehicles are required to carry third-party
Tanzania's traffic regulations are governed by the Road Traffic Act of 1973.
Some subsequent legislation has amended the 1973 act by requiring, for
example, the use of seat belts. However, other aspects of modern driving,
such as the use of child seats, are not addressed or required by Tanzanian
For additional general information about road safety, including links to
foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of
Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Inter-city transportation routes between major
destinations such as Arusha and Dar es Salaam are serviced by a variety of
carriers that offer differing levels of safety and comfort. U.S. citizens
who travel by bus are urged to select carriers who use modern equipment and
to avoid utilizing vehicles that are in obvious disrepair.
In-town transportation is best accomplished using taxis or hired drivers
from a reputable source. Travelers should be wary of using the ubiquitous
microbuses (dala dalas), which are frequently overcrowded, poorly
maintained, a common site of petty theft, and whose operation is generally
AVIATION SAFETY: As there is no direct commercial air service at present,
nor an economic authority to operate such service between the United States
and Tanzania, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not
assessed the Tanzanian civil aviation authority for compliance with
international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers
may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at
telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at
http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official
providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on
specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone(618) 229-4801.
Anecdotal reports of poor equipment maintenance, pilot error, and other
problems have raised concern over the reliability of local air carriers.
Travelers may wish to take this information into consideration when making
air travel arrangements within Tanzania, particularly on flights to small
airstrips in the interior. Security at Tanzanian airports is lax,
particularly in Zanzibar.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject
to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly
from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available
to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be
more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons
violating Tanzanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Tanzania are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
and heavy fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: Although the bilateral consular convention between the
United States and Tanzania requires that Tanzanian police and prison
officials inform the U.S. Embassy of the arrest or detention of U.S.
citizens, they have consistently failed to do so -- especially in rural
areas. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passport
with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of
identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. Travelers and U.S.
citizens resident in Tanzania are strongly urged to maintain legal
immigration status while in Tanzania to avoid difficulties with local
immigration authorities. U.S. citizens who are arrested or detained have
the right, under both the bilateral consular convention and the Vienna
Convention on Consular Relations, to have the U.S. Embassy notified of their
situation and should request that notification be made if it is not done.
CURRENCY ISSUES: Credit cards are increasingly accepted at major hotels,
but advances in the form of U.S. travelers checks or cash (in Tanzanian
shillings) are available from just two sources in
Dar es Salaam and two branch offices on Zanzibar. Visitors should bring
sufficient cash or travelers checks for their trip.
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: Photography of military installations is
forbidden. Individuals have been detained and/or had their cameras and film
confiscated for taking pictures of hospitals, schools, bridges, industrial
sites, and airports. Installations that are prohibited from being
photographed are not always marked.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children
and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202)
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register
U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security in
Tanzania. American citizen travelers who are unable to visit the Embassy
personally for formal registration are still encouraged to provide
information about their planned stay in Tanzania. The U.S. Embassy is
located at 140 Msese Road, Kinondoni District Street, Dar es Salaam,
Tanzania. The international mailing address is Post Office Box 9123, Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania; telephone (22) 266-6010 through 5, and
fax: (22) 266-7285. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Travelers
may also contact the
U.S. Embassy in Tanzania via email at email@example.com. Additional
information may be found at the Embassy's website at
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated February 22, 2001 to
update sections on
Entry Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Health Information,
Transportation Safety, and Registration/Embassy Location.