A move to Zimbabwe is a move to one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Zimbabwe is a country of smiles where expats are welcome, and when you travel on a Kombi (public transportation, similar to a bus), you can hear everyone chatting, offering advice to foreigners and saying hello.
Zimbabwe’s population numbered over 14 million in 2013. Whilst the average Zimbabwean household is Christian (85%) with many attending church on a regular basis, the country has many other cultures with different ceremonies and beliefs, including the largest ethnic group, Shona.
Officially known as the Republic of Zimbabwe, this is a country with no coastline, bordered by South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, and Mozambique, between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers. The capital city is Harare, which is home to the country’s main cricket ground and most well-known football team, Dynamos F.C.
Whilst English is the main spoken language, particularly used in schools and at courts in the main cities, the Sindelbele, Shona, and Bantu languages are also readily used, along with a variety of other minority languages.
Those moving to Zimbabwe can expect some rainfall in winter months, with rains typically arriving in December and lasting through until March. By April, the rain dissipates and the land begins to dry out. In June and through to August, the weather is typically warm and sunny with blue-skies, but with cooler evenings, so expats should remember warmer clothes may be needed. Come autumn, temperatures can rise and by October can get very hot, with lakes and rivers running dry.
For most expatriates entering Zimbabwe, a visa is required. When it comes to entry requirements, there are three categories: Category A for those who do not need a visa to enter the country; Category B for those who may obtain a visa upon arrival; and Category C for those who must obtain a visa before travel.
Category A —Nationals of Zimbabwe, some foreign nationals resident in Zimbabwe, and nationals of, at the time of writing 42, specific countries that do not need a visa to enter Zimbabwe.
Category B — Nationals of many EU countries, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and other countries can be given visas on their arrival at the airport and can enter after paying their visa fee. The payable amount depends on one’s nationality and the type of visa (e.g. single vs. multiple entries), but typically starts at around 30–50 USD.
Category C — Nationals of many non-EU countries, India, Pakistan and other countries have to make an application prior to traveling, either through the nearest immigration office, the Zimbabwe Foreign Mission or the Local Foreign Affairs Ministry. There is also the option of applying for a Zimbabwe visa online. Visa fees for Category C nationals are typically somewhat higher and starting at around 65 USD.
For expatriates who are going to Zimbabwe for short-term business purposes — as you are not allowed to look for employment or conduct any kind of business on a tourist visa — a 30-day business visa is similarly available. Note that you will need additional documentation for your application, though.
The same is true for expatriates who are looking to work in Zimbabwe, for example as journalists or highly skilled professionals. Their future employer will have to apply for a Temporary Employment Permit, this also includes an application for a Residence Permit.