Zambia's visa rules appear, on reading them, to be very complex. In practice, it's certainly best and probably essential to ask at your nearest Zambian embassy or high commission – as only they will know the latest news and how the rules are generally being interpreted. (Check www.zhcl.org.uk and www.zambiaembassy.org which are good and contain information for most nationalities.)
All visitors to Zambia need a visa, except those from Ireland or Commonwealth countries (with the exception of citizens of Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Ghana, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Gambia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea – who do need them). US citizens need visas, whilst most citizens of neighbouring southern African countries (including South Africa) do not.
Costs for visas vary for different nationalities and sometimes depend upon which high commission or embassy you apply through. Currently costs for single/multiple-entry visas from the Zambian High Commission in London are about £30/£30 for Ghanaians, £17/£17 for Nigerians, £33/£50 for Angolans, £33/£45 for British, and £16/£26 for all other nationalities. Americans require a multiple-entry visa, which costs £50.
Most can be obtained either overseas at your local Zambian diplomatic mission, or at border posts (including the international airports). They are generally valid for use up to three months from date of issue, and for a maximum stay of 90 days. You may be asked to show an onward ticket, or at least demonstrate that you can support yourself as you pass through the country (credit cards are invaluable), but this is unusual.Visas for pre-arranged holidays
Despite the above, 'bona fide tourists' who have pre-arranged trips, booked using an overseas operator in conjunction with a local Zambian operator, should be issued with a free visa (a 'fee-waiver visa' is the jargon) on arrival. Check with your tour operator, as most will send a letter with you for the immigration authorities, which should result in you being granted a free visa. (The process isn't infallible, but it generally works well.)
Similarly, if you're crossing into Zambia for the day from Zimbabwe, and have your name put on a list compiled by local Zambian tour operators at least 24 hours in advance, you'll avoid any fee at the border.Visa extensions
Visas can be extended, by personal application to the Immigration Office, Box 50300, 2nd Floor, Memaco House, Cairo Road, Lusaka; tel: 01 251725; fax: 01 252659.
You'll need two completed application forms (each with a passport photo), a valid passport and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay. If it's a business application then you'll also need an explanatory letter with some good reasons. Your application will take at least three working days to process.
In the 1980s, during KK's rule, visitors were routinely treated with suspicion – especially those with cameras. Fortunately this distrust has now vanished, and the prevailing attitude amongst both the government and the people is very welcoming. Visitors are seen as good for the country because they spend valuable foreign currency – so if you look respectable then you will not find any difficulties in entering Zambia.
Given this logic, and the conservative nature of local Zambian customs, the converse is also true. If you dress very untidily, looking as if you've no money, when entering via an overland border, then you may be questioned as to how you will be funding your trip. Dressing respectably in Zambia is not only courteous, but will also make your life easier.Zambia's diplomatic missions abroadAngola Zambian Embassy
PO Box 14396, Luanda; tel: 02 331145; fax: 02 331241Belgium Zambian Embassy
469 Av Molière, 1060 Brussels; tel: 02 343 5649; fax: 02 347 4333Botswana Zambian High Commission
Zambia House, Plot 1118, The Mall, Box 362, Gaborone; tel: 351951; fax: 353962Canada Zambian High Commission
130 Albert St, STL, 1610 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4China Zambian Embassy
Dongsijie, San-Li-Tun, Beijing; tel: 6532 1778; fax: 6532 1891Democratic Republic of Congo Zambian Embassy
54–58 Av de L'Ecole, Gombe, BP 1144, Kinshasa; tel: 243 12 23 038; fax: 243 12 123 151Egypt Zambian Embassy
25 Abdel Monein, Riad St, 10 El-Gumhuriya Muttahada Square, PO Box 253, Mohandessine, Cairo 12311; tel: 02 361 0282; fax: 02 361 0283/0833Germany Zambian Embassy
Bad Godesberg, Mittelstr 39, 5300 Bonn 2; tel: 0228 376811/813; fax: 0228 379536India Zambian High Commission
F-8/22 Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057; tel: 011 684 7681; fax: 011 614 7928Japan Zambian Embassy
10-2 Ebarn 1-Chome, Shinagwa-Ku, Tokyo 142; tel: 03 349 10 121; fax: 03 349 10 123Kenya Zambian High Commission
City Hall Annex, Box 48741, Nairobi; tel: 02 724 850/796/799; fax: 02 718 494Malawi Zambian High Commission
Box 30138, Plot 40/2 Capital Hill, Lilongwe 3; tel: 731911; fax 784349Mozambique Zambian Embassy
Av Kenneth Kaunda, 1286, Maputo; PO Box 4655; tel: 01 492 452Namibia Zambian High Commission
22 Sam Nujoma Dr (corner of Manduma Nddemufayo Rd), PO Box 22882, Windhoek; tel: 061 237610/237611; fax: 061 228162Nigeria Zambian High Commission
PO Box 6119, 18 Festival Rd, Victoria Island, Lagos; tel: 02 269 0426–7Russian Federation Zambian Embassy
Prospect Mira 52, Moscow; tel: 095 288 5001; fax: 095 975 2056South Africa Zambian High Commission
PO Box 12234, Pretoria, 1159 Ziervogel St, Arcadia, off Hamilton St, Hartfield 0028; tel: 012 326 2223; fax: 012 3262140Sweden Zambian Embassy
Engelbrektsgatan 7, Box 26013, Stockholm; tel: 08 799 9040; fax: 08 79 6850Switzerland Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN
17–19 Chemin du Champs-d'Anier, 1209 Le Petit Sacconneux, Geneva; tel: 022 788 5330–1Tanzania Zambian High Commission
Box 2525, Plots 5 and 8, Ohio St, Sokoine Dr Junction, Dar es Salaam; tel: 051 118481/2; fax: 051 12977Uganda Zambian High Commission
20 Philip Rd, Kololo, Kampala; tel: 041 233777UK Zambian High Commission
2 Palace Gate, London W8 5NG; tel: 020 7589 6655; fax: 020 7581 1353USA Zambian Embassy
2419 Massachusetts Av NW, Washington DC 20008; tel: 202 265 9717–9; fax: 202 332 0826; email: email@example.comZimbabwe Zambian High Commission
Zambia House, 48 Union Rd, Box 4698, Harare; tel: 04 790851–5; fax: 04 790856Zambia National Tourist Board officesAustralia c/o Orbitair International
Level 10, 36 Clarence St, Sydney, NSW 2000; tel: 02 9299 5300; fax: 02 9290 2665Italy c/o Relazioni Turishche
Via Mauro Macchi 42, 20124 Milan; tel: 02 6690341; fax: 02 66987381Hungary c/o CRS International
Radnoti Miklos V.40 111/16, H-1137 Budapest; tel: 01 269 5092; fax: 01 131 3960South Africa
1st Floor, Finance House, Ernest Oppenheimer Rd, Bruma Lake, Office Park, Bruma 2198. PO Box 591232, Kengray 2100, South Africa; tel: 011 622 9206/7; fax: 011 622 7424UK
2 Palace Gate, Kensington, London W8 5NG; tel: 020 7589 6343; fax: 020 7225 3221USA
237 East 52nd St, New York, NY 10022; tel: 212 308 2155; fax: 212 758 1319