COVID-19 Information

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COVID-19 Information

Last updated:  [09/17/20]

Country-Specific Information:

  • Botswana has confirmed over 2,400 cases of COVID-19 and 11 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.
  • No flights into Botswana are operating, and if you manage to enter, you should expect a minimum 14-day quarantine upon entry in a government approved facility at your own expense.  You should also expect to remain here until commercial flights resume, which may be several months or more, and to be required to shelter in place at any time due to regular and unexpected lock-downs and other restrictions.
  • 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? No
    • Visas are not currently issued upon entry and tourist entry is prohibited. Exceptions include those with Botswana citizenship or valid resident permits.
  • 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 as long as flights are unavailable and borders are closed 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.
  • U.S. citizens wishing to depart Botswana while borders are closed must apply for an exit permit from Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Wellness. Please email Mrs. OT Morapedi providing a copy of your passport bio data page and the flight details for your departure.  You will also need to provide a short formal letter of application for your permit to exit the country, which can be scanned and attached to your email.  There is no pre-approved format for the letter.  Her email is otmorapedi@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 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.

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. 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? No
  • 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: 

  • The violation of fuel restrictions in place due to fuel shortages carries a maximum fine of 2000 BWP (Botswana Pula) or maximum of one year in prison, or both.
  • 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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