Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Travel

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Learn About Your Destination

Eswatini (Swaziland)

Eswatini
Kingdom of Eswatini
Exercise increased caution in Eswatini due to crime and civil unrest.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in Eswatini due to crime and civil unrest.

Country Summary: Crime is common in Eswatini and sporadic armed robberies and carjackings do occur. Local police may lack the resources to deal effectively with criminal incidents.

Demonstrations and protests occur sporadically in Eswatini. U.S. citizens are reminded to avoid all gatherings, even peaceful ones, that could turn violent with little or no warning. 

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Eswatini.

If you decide to travel to Eswatini:

  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Eswatini.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


2 pages per entry

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


No, if staying 30 days or less

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever, if entering from a yellow fever country

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Mbabane

Corner of MR103 and Cultural Centre Drive PO Box D202
The Gables H106, Eswatini
Telephone:
268 2417 9000
Emergency after-hours telephone: 268-7602-8414
Fax: 268-2416-3344
Email: ConsularMbabane@state.gov

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A passport is required. Visas are not required for travelers staying less than 30 days. Travelers visiting Eswatini generally enter through South Africa.

Please note: Travelers to/through South Africa should have at least two unstamped visa pages in their passports upon each entry into the country. Visitors who do not have two blank visa pages risk being denied entry and returned to the United States at their own expense. Also, South Africa requires additional documentation for children traveling to or transiting the country. See the Embassy of South Africa’s webpage for detailed information. If arriving to Eswatini from a yellow fever country, you must have proof of a yellow fever vaccination.

Contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Eswatini at 1712 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009; phone (202) 234-5002, for the most current visa information

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Eswatini.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: While there are no specified concerns of terrorism for Eswatini, in general, terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists have increasingly used less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as: 

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.) 
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists 
  • Places of worship 
  • Schools 
  • Parks 
  • Shopping malls and markets 
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page

Regional Power Outages (load shedding): Eswatini’s ability to deliver power to the electrical grid may be inhibited by on-going regional load-shedding. Precautions should be taken to carry a flashlight or non-electric light source in event of a sustained loss of power.

Demonstrations: Public protests, demonstrations, and strikes occur occasionally in Eswatini, mostly in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. Armed law enforcement personnel have been known to use force to disrupt or control such events. During the course of such events, police may not distinguish between observers and protesters. You should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations.

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, so travelers should avoid areas near protests and demonstrations.
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

CRIME: Crime is the most significant threat to U.S. citizens and incidents of petty crime and violent crime are prevalent throughout Eswatini. Criminals will resort to force, including deadly force, to accomplish their goal and are not deterred by confrontations with their intended victims. Carjackings may become violent if victims do not immediately cooperate.

Take Precautions:

  • Congested, urban areas are particularly dangerous at night. Exercise caution at all times.
  • Do not to wear jewelry or carry expensive or unnecessary valuables in public.
  • Do not display cell phones and large sums of cash.
  • When using an ATM, always make sure to cover the screen as you enter your PIN, and have a plan in mind in the case that your card gets hacked.
  • Convert currency at authorized currency exchanges; never with street vendors.
  • Never store or leave items of value in your vehicle.
  • Exercise caution when using local taxis.
  • Ensure the taxi you use is from a reputable company.
  • Never enter a taxi that is occupied by anyone besides the driver.
  • Call a friend to let them know the plate number of the taxi you are using.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams. 

Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 268-2417 9000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance at 2417-9000.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. Emergency response is unreliable and subsequent appropriate medical treatment may not be available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

The Monarchy: There are special laws related to criticism of the monarchy in Eswatini. U.S. citizens should be aware of these laws and abide by them while in Eswatini.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Photography: It is illegal to photograph Eswatini's government buildings, members of the Eswatini armed forces, royal residences, and official ceremonies without prior permission from government authorities.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Travelers: While colonial-era legislation against sodomy remains in place, no penalties are specified, and there have been no arrests. The government of Eswatini denounces same-sex relationships and acts as illegal but has not prosecuted any cases. Societal discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons is prevalent, and LGBTQI+ persons generally conceal their sexual orientation and gender identity.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.     

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: No laws mandate accessibility to buildings, transportation (including air travel), information, communications, or public services. Government buildings under construction may have some improvements for persons with disabilities, including access ramps. Public transportation is not easily accessible for persons with disabilities, and the government has not provided any means of alternative accessible transport. There are no programs in place to promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Sexual assault occurs and domestic violence is prevalent in Eswatini. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Medical facilities are limited throughout Eswatini, and emergency medical response capabilities (including ambulance transport) are very limited and almost non-existent in the rural areas. The Ezulwini Private Hospital in Ezulwini is a well-equipped and operated clinic. The Mbabane Clinic in the capital is small but it is well-equipped and well-staffed for minor procedures, as is the Manzini Clinic in Matsapha. For advanced care, U.S. citizens often choose to go to South Africa where better facilities and specialists exist. Most prescription drugs are available locally or can be imported from South Africa. Travelers are advised to bring sufficient quantities of their required medications in their original bottles

For emergency services in Eswatini, dial 999

Ambulance services are:

  • not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except major cities or semi-urban areas.
  • not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.
  • not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment.
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance. 

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medications, always, carry your prescription medications in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Health facilities in general

  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions 

Pharmaceuticals  

  • If you take medication, research beforehand whether the medication is illegal in Eswatini
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.  

Water Quality

  • In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water. 

Adventure Travel 

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel

General Health Language 

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Tick bite fever
  • Malaria (in certain areas). Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.

HIV/AIDS: Eswatini has one of the highest prevalence of HIV in the world.

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Eswatini.  

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

  • The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons. It is typically at its worst in the winter (dry) season when brush fires are common. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
  • Infants, children, and teens
  • People over 65 years of age
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • People with heart disease or diabetes
  • People who work or are active outdoors 

 

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic accidents in Eswatini occur frequently and are a significant hazard. You should use extreme caution when driving, given the high rates of speed on major thoroughfares. Other hazards include poor lighting; presence of pedestrians, animals, and slower moving vehicles; aggressive driving behavior; and erratic stopping for pedestrians and animals. Exercise caution when driving at night and in fog, especially in rural areas. Rural and suburban areas are poorly lit and pose additional safety hazards, such as pedestrians and animals crossing the road. Many vehicles are poorly maintained and may lack working headlights.

Traffic Laws: Cars travel on the left in Eswatini, which requires U.S. drivers to exercise particular caution. Always carry your driver’s license as failure to do so will result in a fine. Cell phone use while driving is illegal in Eswatini.

The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) sets up periodic road blocks and uses radar to monitor speed. If you are pulled over for a moving violation you are responsible for the consequences. The REPS sets up jaywalking stings which can result in fines and temporary detention for perpetrators. It is recommended that pedestrians use the available ‘zebra crosswalks’ when crossing streets.

Public Transportation: Extreme caution is recommended if using mini-bus taxis, locally known as khumbis, which follow fixed routes and are flagged down by passengers almost everywhere in Eswatini. Many of these vehicles fail to meet minimal safety standards. Drivers frequently overload the vehicles and travel at excessive speeds. Fatal accidents involving these conveyances are very common.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Eswatini, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Eswatini's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Eswatini.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: May 24, 2021

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Mbabane
Corner of MR103 and Cultural Centre
Drive PO Box D202
The Gables H106, Eswatini
Telephone
+(268) 2417-9000
Emergency
+(268) 2417-9000
Fax
+(268) 2416-3344

Eswatini Map