Entry and residence
Since October 1, 2015, German citizens (and all Schengen citizens) have generally required a visa to enter Malawi. A residence permit of up to three months with a single entry will be charged US $ 75, for multiple entries within six months it will be charged US $ 150 and within 12 months it will be charged with US $ 250. A transit visa that is valid for up to seven days costs $ 50. Since mid-November 2016, German nationals have been receiving visas on a regular basis upon entry at the airports in Lilongwe and Blantyre. An electronic visa has also been possible since November 1, 2019 can be requested online. After filling out the form and uploading the documents including passport photo, the visa fee is paid electronically by credit card. After checking, you will receive a confirmation that must be presented upon entry. The visa can still be applied for in advance at the Malawian embassy in Berlin. It currently costs EUR 90 for a single entry. For multiple entries, EUR 200 (6 months) or EUR 270 (12 months) are required. The transit visa costs EUR 65. The visa costs can vary. In any case, it is advisable to call the embassy. Children are also required to have a visa and pay the same amount as adults. The Malawi embassy in Berlin provides information as to whether, according to the current status, a visa for non-German nationals living in Germany must be applied for there before the start of the journey or whether it is available upon entry. To purchase a visa upon entry, it is highly recommended that you have the US $ 75 visa fee with you in appropriate denominations in cash as there is no pre-entry currency exchange facility at Lilongwe and Blantyre International Airports. Payment by card is only possible at the airports. However, this sometimes leads to technical problems. Have the visa fees with you in US dollars, is also strongly advised for entry by land. Currently, no visas for multiple entries are issued when entering by land. A residence permit for 30 days is usually only issued upon entry, which can then be extended twice by 30 days at the Immigration Department in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu for a fee of K 5,000.
As a result of the corona pandemic there are significant limitations on the visa process. Current information is available by telephone from the Malawi Embassy in Berlin. From September 1, 2020, the international airports Lilongwe and Blantyre will be reopened to a limited extent to passenger air traffic. COVID19 test and quarantine requirements apply to incoming travelers from all over the world.
The passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry and have enough space for the visas.
According to militarynous, the background to the introduction of the visa requirement is that citizens of the states that require visas from Malawians are also subject to the visa requirement in the course of reciprocity. This should certainly also increase foreign exchange income. Most African countries require visas. The current entry requirements can be obtained from the Foreign Office or the Malawi Embassy in Berlin. The Immigration Department provides a wealth of information on entry, residence and work permits (including forms to download).
Travel, transportation and traffic
The Traveling around the country is, at least away from the big cities, not always without problems. The state airline Air Malawi operated the Lilongwe-Blantyre routes and back every day. There were also sporadic flights to Club Makokola at the southern end of Lake Malawi. At the end of December 2012, the company went into orderly bankruptcy and later ceased operations. In February 2014, the company was re-established with the participation of Ethiopian Airlines under the name Malawian Airlines. This began its flight operations initially on the Lilongwe-Blantyre route and since February 17, 2014 also in regional operations.
Relatively comfortable and safe long-distance buses (Coachline) operate between the cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. Otherwise there are a number of other, almost exclusively private, bus companies, minibuses and – but only in the cities – a few taxis.
For reasons of security and time, it is advisable to rent your own vehicle, even if you only have to do in the city.
Anyone who wants to register a motor vehicle in Malawi or have a driver’s license rewritten (a theory driving test and an eye test is mandatory) often needs a lot of patience, calmness and strong nerves. The responsible authority is the traffic authority, which has branches in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu. It is advisable to hand over the registration or re-registration of the vehicle to a local employee.
In Malawi there is left-hand traffic. The major overland roads on the north-south axis as well as to the tea plantations in Thyolo and Mulanje and the roads from Lilongwe to Salima and to Mchinji (border with Zambia) are paved and in good condition. After dark (approx. 6 p.m.) it is strongly advised to avoid cross-country journeys for safety reasons. For reasons of traffic safety, you should also avoid cycling. The traffic police are eager to issue penalty mandates. The (auto) insurance market is deregulated and invites you to compare prices. It is advisable to take out comprehensive insurance and agree to a higher sum insured, although personal injury is not rated as highly as in Germany.
The best travel time is from May to October. During the rainy season (late November to early April) flooding is possible in many areas. You can get up-to-date information about the weather in Malawi. The country offers a number of tourist attractions that are well worth a visit.
A good introduction to the country is offered by the Malawi Tourism Authority, which not only provides a brief overview of the country and its people, but also tourist destinations, hotels and accommodation as well as safari offers. Unfortunately the page is not updated regularly. The latest status can be found at Lonely Planet. The Hupe-Verlag also has interesting travel information. Travel tips and short reports can be found at Abendsonne Afrika.