Living in Zimbabwe
Advice for British people living in Zimbabwe, including information on health, employment, benefits, driving licences and more.
Introduction This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Zimbabwe, 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 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 Zimbabwe. 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 schools in Zimabwe 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. While there are government owned schools, the standards are not the same in comparison to the UK.
Education standards in the local private schools are good. These schools are well sought after by the locals and have high waiting lists. Some local schools practise corporal punishment fashion teaching practices and all school children in primary and secondary education, except those at the international and French schools, are required to wear school uniform.
Employment and recognised qualifications
British nationals with a valid work permit can stay in Zimbabwe. For those living outside of Zimbabwe and intending to find employment in Zimbabwe, information regarding permits should be sought at the nearest Zimbabwean Embassy before travel or alternatively you can visit the Zimbabwean Immigration website for further advice.
Entry Requirements You will need a visa to visit Zimbabwe. You can get a visa from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London or on arrival in Zimbabwe. If you have not obtained a visa before travelling, bring enough cash with you in small notes to pay for your visa on arrival. Visitors are currently being given entry permission for anything up to 90 days 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. Visit the Zimbabwean Immigration website for further information.
Zimbabwe does not recognise dual nationality.
Driving licences and vehicles
Non-Zimbabweans are allowed to drive in Zimbabwe using their foreign licences for 12 months and then during these 12 months you will need to apply for an international driving licence from the Automobile Association of Zimbabwe (AAZ).
There are many banks in Zimbabwe - local, British owned and foreign owned. The US dollar is the main medium of exchange, though South African Rands are used in some parts of the country.
International credit cards are not yet widely accepted in Zimbabwe.Requirements for opening a personal account vary.
For information on banking in Zimbabwe please visit the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe website.
Information on taxation laws and procedures can be found on the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority website.
For information on trade in Zimbabwe please visit the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Sponsoring family members
Family members of a British National would need the relevant visa to live in Zimbabwe. This visa is dependent on the immigration status of the British sponsor. Information on visas can be found on the Zimbabwe Immigration website.
Social ethics and traditions
Zimbabweans are friendly to visitors. English is the official language and is widely spoken.
Conservative attitudes towards homosexuality prevail in Zimbabwe. The current regime has encouraged the intolerance. There are laws against indecency, which effectively makes homosexuality illegal in Zimbabwe.
Dress code in most towns is conservative.
For more information on Zimbabwe please visit the Zimbabwe Tourism website
At the end of your stay in Zimbabwe, you should check that your visa/resident permit is valid or you will be liable to pay a fine of US$100.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British embassy 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: 6 March 2014
Related guides: Notarial and documentary services guide for Zimbabwe