I will be traveling to Zanzibar in September, therefore I will need a visa for Tanzania. My flight will leave in Düsseldorf and stop in Amsterdam and Nairobi.

The Auswärtiges Amt (Department for foreign affairs) states that I will have to get a visa from the Tanzanian embassy, but I would have to get that via mail. In Germany the post was on a strike a few weeks ago and I am afraid that the mail with the visa will possibly not get to me before my holiday starts.

The Auswärtiges Amt also states that it is possible to get the visa during arrival at the Tanzanian airport. And now I am confused. Why should I get my visa at the embassy if it is possible during the arrival? Will it be more complicated or will I have to wait a long time? How is the procedure and what do I have to consider?

  • 2
    Yes, I am! Sorry, should have mentioned that probably
    – Ferox
    Jul 27, 2015 at 11:04

2 Answers 2


The general (worldwide) trend is probably to extend VOA but since visa rules are in a constant state of flux buying a visa from a Consulate should provide some reassurance that you won’t be declined boarding due to the withdrawal of a VOA facility. VOAs can be cheaper than visas via Consulates which are easy money, so not promoted as heavily (eg by visa agencies) – may account for some of your (understandable!) confusion.

Tanzania however is not trying to discourage tourists and the fees are the same either way ($50 for a German citizen).

Waits seem to vary roughly 15 minutes to 1 hour so if on a very tight timescale via Consulate might get you out of the airport a little sooner.

Note that Tanzania are fussy about the age and condition of notes if paying in USD – not an issue is buying the visa at a Consulate.

Also that VOAs for Tanzania are only valid for arrival at certain points of entry. Elsewhere there is no VOA option.


While still part of Tanzania, Zanzibar and the other islands are administered autonomously; they have their own immigration procedures and you will be asked to show your passport on entry and exit.


It seems that regular visas and visa-on-arrival are more-or-less equivalent in Tanzania. The main difference is that citizens from a handful of (African) countries are not eligible for the visa-on-arrival and that such visas are only available at a limited number of designated port of entries (not at smaller airports or road borders).

But for a German citizen flying into a major international airport, it should not be an issue. I have no ideas about the practicalities (how long it takes at the airport, etc.)

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