Ask a COVID-19 Question
Last updated: [01/26/21]
*** Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.
- Botswana has confirmed over 20,600 cases of COVID-19 and 124 deaths within its borders.
- Botswana has a Level 4 Travel Advisory, and the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone strongly urges that U.S. citizens do not travel to Botswana at this time.
- Some charter flights may be available for tourists into Kasane and Maun. Please check directly with charter companies and tour companies regarding the most current schedules and 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 and will be tested at the Port of Entry if they do not meet the requirement. Please note that enforcement of regulations may not be consistent.
- South Africa will be added to the list of countries with COVID-19 travel restrictions for entry to the United States effective January 30, 2021. Please check https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html for the latest information on travel restrictions to the United States.
- South Africa closed 20 land borders for regular crossing through February 15, with exceptions for limited purposes. Please check the U.S. Embassy in South Africa’s COVID page for the latest details at https://za.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/.
- Due to restrictions and stoppages in South Africa, expect some shortages in fuel during the upcoming weeks.
- Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Botswana? Yes
- If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? No
- Antigen (rapid) tests are available at the international airports and major land border crossings. PCR tests are available for U.S. citizens at two locations: Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital and Diagnofirm Medical Laboratories, both in Gaborone.
- Teaching Hospital PCR tests are 500 BWP and results can be slower than 48-72 hours as this is the main testing facility for everyone in country and is cheaper than Diagnofirm. Diagnofirm offers PCR tests for 999 BWP which are available in less than 24 hours. Antigen test costs range from 150 to 500 BWP. All testing is paid for by the patient. The Teaching Hospital price of 500 BWP is a price limit set by the Government of Botswana and is therefore partially subsidized.
- Test results are delivered by text message/SMS. Expect delays in messaging even if the results are complete on time.
- 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.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information:
- Has the government of Botswana approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use? No
- The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
- The Government of Botswana is likely to publish any news on vaccine approvals and distribution on their website at www.gov.bw and their social media accounts found below under “Local Resources.”
- Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
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. Testing regulations are not clearly published or enforced, so expect inconsistent application of rules and sudden unexplained changes in enforcement.
- All travelers exiting Botswana are also required to present a negative PCR test valid within 72 hours of their departure from Botswana.
- 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.
- Please contact the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration, and Gender Affairs with any questions about your status in Botswana at mnig-pro@.gov.bw.
- Is a curfew in place? Yes.
- A curfew for Gaborone is in place through January 31, 2021 and bans all movement between 8pm and 4am.
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes
- Botswana is divided into 9 geographical zones (map available at www.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 www.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.
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? No
- All persons entering Botswana are required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their departure for Botswana. If they do not meet this requirement upon entry, they will be tested at the Port of Entry. With a negative test, they are not required to quarantine.
- Persons who are symptomatic upon entry or who develop COVID after entry must self-isolate for 10 days with a test in the second half of the isolation period. Close contacts of positive COVID patients will be asked to isolate for 14 days.
- 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.
- 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.
- Travel across Botswana is complicated and difficult, and healthcare options are limited. Travel to Botswana is strongly discouraged by the CDC and U.S. Department of State at this time.
- 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.
- Government of Botswana home page: www.gov.bw
- Government of Botswana Facebook page
- Government of Botswana Twitter Feed
- Government of Botswana’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard
- Other links: