Botswana is a land-locked country situated in southern Africa, bordering Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia. In an attempt to diversify the economy through tourism, Botswana focuses on the conservation and the development of its extensive nature preserves. Botswana is the world’s third-biggest diamond producer, behind Russia and Canada. Botswana’s economy has been diversifying, largely because of foreign investment attracted by low taxes, political stability, and an educated workforce.

Facts about the Botswana:

  • Country name: Botswana
  • Capital: Gaborone
  • Population: 2.021 million (2013 census)
  • Language: English & Tswana
  • Dialling code: +267
  • Currency: Pula


Tourist visas in Botswana are issued upon arrival to visa exempt passport holders and are valid for a period of up to 90 days. Visa restricted passport holders need to apply for their tourist visa at the relevant Botswana mission in their country of origin or residence.

The issuance of tourist visas at the Botswanan mission in Cape Town and Johannesburg take on average 14 working days to process.

A Business visa for Botswana does not allow for work activities to be conducted. Attending conferences, seminars, training and meetings are the only form of activity allowed on this visa. The applicant can choose between a single or multiple entry visa which is valid for up to 90 days and can be extended.

Previously business visas were only issued for up to 90 days per year, this has now practically been changed. It is important to note that frequent business travel may result in the applicant being denied at the border or immigration control at the airport due to not obtaining a work permit. One should be cautious when setting frequent business trips.

Business visas are issued at the port of entry for visa exempt passport holders and can be applied for at the relevant Botswana mission if the applicant is visa restricted.

Botswana, unlike other African countries only have two types of work permits, Namely, Short Term Work and Long Term Work.
In the past, super short term work permits were issued for emergency work travels but have since been abolished in practice. It is however case dependent and one can attempt this route with good motivation. The super short term work permit is issued for a maximum of 14 days and cannot be renewed.
Short term work permits are issued to applicants who wish to conduct work in Botswana for a period not exceeding 3 months consecutively. The permit allows for multiple entries and is extendable once, but for emergency purposes only.

Long term work permits allow the applicant to work in Botswana for up to 2 years consecutively and are often issued to applicants with a local employer. Long term work permits are extendable up to 10 years. A points system is used to grade the application. It focuses on the applicant’s skills, qualifications as well as the employer’s motivation to employ a foreign national as opposed to a local Botswana citizen. If the applicant scores more than 60% the application could be deemed successful.

Work authorization is issued by the Ministry of Labour. Work permits under 3 months do not require local residence. However, if the applicant will be working in Botswana for a period longer than 3 months he/she needs to apply for a residence permit which enables the applicant to legally reside in Botswana. Residence permits are issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and are valid in accordance with the validity of the applicants work permit.
If the applicant is no longer working in Botswana, his residence permit automatically lapses.
All work permit applications are applied for in country. The application for the work permit will be submitted by our local provider on behalf of the applicant. After approval of the Ministry of Labour, the application for the residence permit must be submitted once the applicant is in country as the biometrics of the applicant will be done at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It is important to ensure that the work permit application is started as early as possible as requirements and procedures are likely to change at times and can affect the applicant’s work start date.

Application for work permits must be done and obtained prior to arriving in Botswana. Some of the requirements are:
Certified copies of your passport which must be valid for at least 6 months, your CV, highest degree/education certificate, passport photographs, Police Clearance Certificate, Medical Report, employment contract, motivational letter from the employer, operating/business license and company registration documents as well as an advertisement in the local newspaper.

More and more we are noticing the need for a ‘Transfer of skills plan’ to accompany long term work permits all over Africa, for Botswana this is the same. A transfer of skills plan is one of the more important requirements for a long term work permit application as transferring skills to a local citizen has become imperative. A local understudy in the same field and profession as the applicant is required as well as a detailed skills plan upon submission of the application.

Yes, work permits can be extended in country. For short term work permits, the applicant is advised to apply at least 2 weeks before expiry, for long term, at least 3 months before the expiry of the permit.

As in some other countries in Africa, Botswana differentiates between work and residence for foreigners. Residence permits allow the applicants to legally reside in Botswana whilst working. If you are in the country for long term work or exceeding a period of 3 months you are legally required to obtain a residence permit.

Residence permits are obtained at the Ministry of Home Affairs once the applicant is in Botswana and are valid for the validity of the main applicant’s work permit. Upon expiry of the work permit, the residence permit also expires.

Dependents to a work permit holder are allowed to accompany their spouse or parent whilst they are working in Botswana. Dependents would apply for a Residence Permit. This permit does not authorize the spouse to conduct any work and if this is required, he/she has to apply for work in his/her own right. Life-partners and homosexual marriages are not recognized in Botswana; therefore, spousal dependents are only for heterosexuals.

Residence permits will be issued for the same validity as the main applicants work permit. Upon expiry of the main applicants work permit the dependents residence permit will also expire.

Dependents who will be attending school, including Kindergarten will be allowed to do so on a residence permit.

Once the student reaches tertiary level education, he/she needs to apply for a study permit.

We provide a full range of immigration services for Botswana. With our professional and trusted network of partners, we have the pulse on policy issues and the practical reality, which governs immigration rules & regulations.

We will first do a consultation, on which visa or permit would be the right one for you. We advise on the required documentation and compile the complete application on your behalf. We will help you save time gathering the required documents to finalize your application.

There is great advantage in having a reliable local representative who will submit the application in Botswana, and also collect the resulting documents for you.