Amounts exceeding more than US$5000 bringing in or taking out of Zambia must be declared. Import or export of Zambian kwacha, however, is technically forbidden; but if you bring in/out a small amount, it’s unlikely to be a problem. Tourists can bring through customs 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars, and 1.5L of spirits or 2.5L of lighter alcoholic beverages.
Visas are generally issued upon arrival.
Tourist visas are available at major borders, airports and ports, but it’s important to note that you should have a Zambian visa before arrival if travelling by train or boat from Tanzania. A yellow fever certificate is not required, but it is often requested by immigration officials if you’ve come from a country with yellow fever.
All foreign visitors – other than Southern African Development Community (SADC) passport holders who are issued visas free of charge – pay US$50 for single entry (up to one month) and US$80 for double entry (up to three months; which is good if you plan on venturing into one of the bordering countries). Applications for multiple-entry visas (US$80) must be made in advance at a Zambian embassy or high commission. If staying less than 24 hours, for example if you are visiting Livingstone from Zimbabwe, you pay only US$20.
In December 2016 the KAZA visa was reintroduced, which allows most visitors to acquire a single 30-day visa (US$50) for both Zambia and Zimbabwe. As long as you remain within these two countries, you can cross the border multiple times (day trips to Botswana at Kazungula will not invalidate the visa). These visas are available at Livingstone and Lusaka airports, as well as at the Victoria Falls and Kazungula crossings.
Payment can be made in US dollars, and sometimes UK pounds. Other currencies such as euros, South African rand, Botswanan pula or Namibian dollars may be accepted at borders, but don’t count on it. Business visas can be obtained from Zambian diplomatic missions abroad, and application forms can be downloaded at www.zambiaimmigration.gov.zm.
Extensions for all types of tourist visas are possible at any Department of Immigration office in any main town in Zambia. You’re likely to be most successful in Lusaka and Livingstone.
There’s generally no queue and no fee for an additional 30 days. It’s possible to seek an extension twice for a total of 90 days a year. Be aware of the expiration date of the visa; if it’s a Saturday or Sunday, it’s best to go in on a weekday beforehand.
If for some reason you overstay your visa, humility and politeness go a long way in dealing with Zambian authorities.
Visas for Onward Travel
Most visas these days are available at border crossings. However, your chances of obtaining a visa for the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Angola are extremely remote at borders or in Lusaka, so get it before you arrive in Zambia.
Botswana Visas on arrival valid for 30 days (and possibly up to 90 days if requested) free to passport holders from most Commonwealth countries, all EU countries, the US and countries in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
Malawi Most nationalities do not require a visa and are granted 30 days upon arrival. Citizens of some countries (mostly Asia, Africa and Middle Eastern nations) must apply in advance for a single-entry visa, which costs US$150.
Mozambique Single-entry visas (around US$68) are available from most land and air entry points, though given there’s talk of some tourists being denied entry, it’s highly recommended to arrange a visa at the embassy beforehand.
Namibia Most nationalities do not require a visa and are granted 90 days upon arrival. Others need to prearrange a visa in advance.
Tanzania Visas cost US$50; bring two passport photos.
Zimbabwe If you didn’t acquire the KAZA visa (US$50), which covers travel in both Zambia and Zimbabwe for 30 days, single/double entry visas are US$30/45 for most nationalities, but British and Irish pay a bit extra US$55/75 (single/double). Meanwhile, Canadians pay US$75 for single visa, with no option for double entry.