Entry visa requirements for passport holders of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries travelling to Zimbabwe have been scrapped.


The change is meant to facilitate the smooth movement of business travels in the region.

This is a policy adjustment of the Zimbabwean government clearly aimed at expressing its readiness to conduct business / attracting investment.

What changes for South African business people looking to visit Zimbabwe?

Business travels and tourist trips can now be embarked upon without making any pre-arrangements. South Africans can arrive at the border and indicate that they are there to attend meetings, no additional requirements need to be met.

At IBN we commend this initiative, it is our experience that business looks for destinations which receive them with open arms. Immigration policy can give a clear signal to the outside world with regards to the openness of a country towards foreign investment / establishing partnerships. We trust this move will contribute to Zimbabwe’s growth, slowly but surely the country is moving back into ‘’the right direction’’ – an upward economic cycle.

Remarkable is that this news update from Harare comes in the same week as the surprising statements issued by the Namibian government with regards to the immigration policy drafted in Windhoek. Whilst Zimbabwe loosens the ties and opens the door for business visitors a little wider, Namibia has recently introduced a regime in which all business travelers must obtain a business visa, even to conduct the traditional business meetings, prior to traveling. It can be stated that Zimbabwe shows a willingness to attract business whereas Namibia is setting up an extra hurdle for business people (for reasons not clearly communicated but expected to be the combatting of abuse of the relatively flexible regime in place).

N.B.: A clear distinction between a business visa and authorization to work (whether in the form of a short term work permit, long term work permit or investor’s permit) must be made.

Business visas are traditionally issued to travelers aiming to prospect professional opportunities, attend seminars & networking events and engage in business meetings. In most countries in Southern Africa additional, separate authorization to work must be obtained. Only in Zambia and Mozambique one is allowed to conduct short term work whilst holding a business visa.


by Job Feenstra