Ahhhh the Mozambican Visa at the Border…
Is it possible? Yes. Will they give it to me? It depends. This post is about my experience getting a Mozambican Visa at the border with Swaziland. It was at the Goba border, specifically, but I imagine that other Mozambican border posts will have a similar process.
Arriving at the Mozambican Border
I was nervous about this visa. It seemed like everything I read online before arriving advised against getting a visa at the border. If anything, my couchsurfing host in Swaziland was going to Maputo later that week, and so if I had gotten stuck at the border things would have worked out.
If you’re taking public transport, the first thing you need to remember about getting a Mozambican Visa at the border is that you need to be the first one in line in the border office. This means you need to zip through the Swazi border control and run over to the Mozambican one. Why? It’s because all the local people will pass through the border really quickly and sometimes the busses (or chapas) will leave if they have to wait too long.
Check out my other Mozambique posts and tips here!
The border officials spoke good English, and it seemed like everyone working there was very curious about my passport. In fact, my passport was passed around to a bunch of guys in military outfits for what seemed like forever (ahhhh come on! Hurry up! My chapa is going to leave me here!).
The Visa Process
I had to fill out a ton of forms, but it wasn’t anything unusual for a visa. Then I was taken into a back room and seated by an enormous amount of electric equipment. The stern border guy was seated behind the monitor so I could not see his face- it was only a mess of cords and lights and fans and beep bloop bops like I was on a Star Trek set or something.
Once in a while his hand would appear holding the little camera for my visa photo. This happened around three times and so I started to worry that their system was down or that something mundane (yet so predictable) like that would prevent me from getting the visa.
His english was good but everything was said with a very stern, halfway yelling tone. LOOK AT THE CAMERA. LOOK AT THE CAMERA AGAIN. OK LOOK AT THE CAMERA. THANK YOU. [ I AM DELETING YOUR MIND NOW.]
The printer eventually spat out my visa. The photo was like a first-grader’s charmingly clueless yearbook photo.
Cost of the visa and final details
I want to note that the Mozambican officials were pretty insistent that I specify my exact date of departure. This may be an issue for backpackers who want to travel around Mozambique without a clear set of plans. It may be a good idea to have a loose plan in place just to write on the visa form. Unless you overstay your visa they won’t hold you to what you wrote.
They will ask to see tickets or details on a booking for your departure. I knew I was going to take the mystery magical ghost train to Chicualacuala, or The End of the Earth, and so I put that down saying I couldn’t get a ticket beforehand. They accepted that.
It cost 892 rand in September 2016.
THEY ALSO ACCEPTED SWAZI LLINGOWE SO USE UP ALL OF THAT when paying for your visa. In fact, they seemed to accept a combination of currencies.
All in all, getting a Mozambican visa at the border isn’t so difficult, so don’t worry!