COVID-19 Information

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COVID-19 Information

Last updated:  [11/18/20]

Country-Specific Information:

  • Botswana has confirmed over 9,100 cases of COVID-19 and 30 deaths within its borders. Community transmission of the disease is confirmed. 
  • While Botswana has a Level 3 Travel Advisory, the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone strongly urges that U.S. citizens not enter Botswana at this time.
  • Charter flights are available for tourists into Kasane and Maun. Please check directly with charter companies and tour companies regarding the most current regulations.
  • Limited Commercial flights into Botswana are operating through South Africa and Ethiopia, though additional restrictions for U.S. citizens traveling from high risk countries may be in place for some transit countries. All incoming travelers require a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure for Botswana. All symptomatic passengers will be required to quarantine at their own expense, as will all those who do not meet the test requirements. Please note that enforcement of regulations may not be consistent.
  • Fuel and other goods shortages are also to be expected. Agricultural and other food import restrictions are in place.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes
    • All travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test valid within 72 hours of their departure for Botswana. Travelers who are symptomatic or who do not meet the test requirement will be tested and quarantined at their own expense.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes
  • U.S. citizens in Botswana with resident permits may apply for extensions or renewals through the Government of Botswana at www.gov.bw.
  • U.S. citizens stranded in Botswana on tourist visas due to COVID-19 may remain during the ongoing state of emergency provided they entered on a valid tourist visa. Please contact the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration, and Gender Affairs with any questions at mnig-pro@.gov.bw.

Movement Restrictions:

  • Is a curfew in place? No
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes
    • Botswana is divided into 9 geographical zones (map available at gov.bw) and permits are only needed to travel between zones. Residents may travel within their zone without permits.
    • Permits for inter-zone travel may be acquired online at gov.bw and are restricted to essential travel. COVID-19 tests may be required at any time for those transiting zones. Tourism is considered essential travel for economic reasons, and Botswana residents may organize permit applications with a reservation confirmation from their destination lodging.

Quarantine Information:

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes
    • Quarantine for 14 days in a Government of Botswana approved facility (usually a hotel or guest house) is mandatory for all incoming travelers who do not meet testing requirements or who are symptomatic. Travelers must pay for their food and lodging during quarantine. An additional COVID-19 test is required on day 10 of the quarantine period.

COVID-19 Testing:

  • Botswana has limited testing capacity. A negative test within 72 hours is required for entry to the country, and a test on day 10 of quarantine is also required to secure release.
  • Testing regulations and information change frequently. If you are in Botswana and experiencing symptoms, contact your physician and the Government of Botswana COVID hotline at 997 for instructions.

Transportation Options:

  • Are commercial flights operating? Yes
    • Limited flights are available through South Africa and Ethiopia at this time, subject to change. Contact airlines directly for the latest schedules and fares.
  • Is public transportation operating? Yes
    • Masks are required at all times on public transportation. Buses and vans operate at full capacity and do not always follow guidelines, so passengers should exercise extra caution when using public transportation.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

  • Those in violation of mask or other COVID-related regulations can expect fines between 2000-5000 BWP.

Consular Operations:

  • The U.S. Embassy in Gaborone is restricting the entry of guests to emergency services only.
  • American Citizen Services (passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, notary services) are being offered on a limited basis by email appointment only. Please email ConsularGaborone@state.gov with a description of the service you are requesting, proof of U.S. citizenship, and justification for an emergency appointment.
  • Routine visa services (including student visas) are not being offered at this time. If you have an emergency case, please contact ConsularGaborone@state.gov. Requests for appointments will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

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