Living in Malawi
Advice for British people living in Malawi, including information on health, employment, benefits, driving licences and more.
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Malawi, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.
You are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling to Malawi. Medical standards are different in quality to the UK and you will have to pay for any treatment that you receive.
There are private medical facilities, which are good but are also expensive. Local government hospitals are usually crowded and sometimes have basic medicine shortages. See our travel advice for further information.
All private schools in Malawi teach in English and there are a number of good private schools offering the British Curriculum. Private schools are quite expensive compared to other countries. The standards are not the same in comparison to the UK.
Education standards in the local private schools are good. These schools require students to wear school uniform.
Employment and recognised qualifications
British nationals with a valid work permit can stay in Malawi. For those living outside of Malawi and intending to find employment in Malawi, information regarding permits should be sought at the nearest Malawian Embassy before travel or alternatively you can visit the Malawian Immigration website for further advice.
You will need a visa to visit Malawi. You can get a visa on arrival in Malawi but it is always wise to check with your nearest Malawian High Commission / Embassy. Visitors are usually granted a 30-Day tourist visa free upon arrival but you should check that the number of days given at the port of entry covers your intended period of stay. You can apply to have this period renewed and extended if required for up to 90days. Visit the Malawian Immigration website for further information.
Malawi does not recognise dual nationality.
Driving licences and vehicles
Non-Malawians are allowed to drive in Malawian using their foreign licences for up to 12 months. If you intend to drive beyond this period allow sufficient time to apply for a Malawian driving licence from the Malawi Road traffic Authority
There are many banks in Malawi - local, British owned and foreign owned. International credit cards are not yet widely accepted in Malawi.
Requirements for opening a personal account vary.
Information on taxation laws and procedures can be found on the Malawi Revenue Authority website.
For information on trade in Malawi please visit the Malawi Government website.
Sponsoring family members
Family members of a British National would need the relevant visa to live in Malawi. This visa is dependent on the immigration status of the British sponsor. Information on visas can be found on the Malawian Immigration website.
Social ethics and traditions
Malawians are friendly to visitors. English is the official language and is widely spoken.
Conservative attitudes towards homosexuality prevail in Malawi. There are laws against indecency, which effectively makes homosexuality illegal in Malawi.
Dress code in most towns is conservative.
For more information on Malawi please visit the Malawi Immigration website.
At the end of your stay in Malawi, you should check that your visa/resident permit is valid or you will be liable to pay a fine please check the Malawi Immigration website for further information.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the High Commission by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British High Commission will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.
Published: 26 June 2015
Part of: Africa
Related guides: Notarial and documentary services guide for Malawi