Mozambique - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, etc.

Last published date: 2021-03-10

Business Customs Mozambicans consider personal relationships an essential part of doing business, and whether business is international or domestic, knowing their partners well is exceedingly important.  Newcomers to the market should expect to discuss business face-to-face.  Doing business by email or phone without first developing a business relationship is not common in Mozambique and can be challenging.  Many Mozambicans engaged in international trade take advantage of personal ties to Portugal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Middle East, Brazil, or India for their commerce.

Because of historical ties to Portugal, Mozambicans have a Southern European business culture that is less punctual and quite social.  Meetings, receptions, and even conferences commonly start late.  Patience and flexibility are essential for success in Mozambique.  Business cards are generally exchanged.

Maintaining a good reputation with government officials and local clients is important.  The business community in Maputo is small and most businesspeople know one another; competitors in one area, may be partners in another.  Many studied together at school or university.  Furthermore, the concept of family extends to close friends, including business partners, resulting in quick dissemination of information and few secrets. 

Potential investors should be cautious in selecting partners.  Questionable business practices are common, such as tax evasion and corruption.  Though accounting standards have recently been redefined to meet international standards, training remains weak and many businesses do not maintain accurate financial records, especially small and medium enterprises.  The concepts of accounting, depreciation, and asset management are not yet widely understood beyond the largest companies.

Note that Mozambican drivers use the left side of the road and use right-hand drive vehicles.

Travel Advisory

NOTE: Air travel routes may change during the COVID -19 pandemic.

Travel information from the Department of State is available on the Internet.

Johannesburg, South Africa, is the regional hub for air travel throughout Southern Africa.  Both South African Airways (SAA) and Mozambique Airlines (Linhas Aereas de Moçambique, LAM) offer 45-minute flights between Johannesburg and Maputo several times a day.  American and European airlines offer flights through Johannesburg daily.  Other international flights direct to Mozambique originate in Addis Ababa, Dar-Es-Salaam, Doha, Durban, Harare, Istanbul, Lisbon, Luanda, and Nairobi.  Domestic air travel is available on LAM and other carriers, but prices are high. 

There is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Mozambique.

Visa Requirements

A visa is required for most foreign travelers to Mozambique.  There are a few exceptions for citizens of several African nations.  Under the new visa regulations, citizens of nations that have Mozambican embassies or consulates may now also request visas upon entry for the purposes of tourism or business (a category that includes business meetings, exploratory business trips, and market research but specifically excludes paid employment of any sort).  Those seeking border visas should be prepared to provide documentation related to their place of stay, their return travel plans, and their business contacts.  Invitation letters for those visiting friends or conducting business are strongly recommended when feasible but are not required.  The new border visa is issued at the discretion of the interviewing officer, is valid for 30 days and allows two entries.  Foreigners in Mozambique without a valid visa can expect to pay up to a $100 fine for each day they are in Mozambique illegally.  The fine can be assessed upon departure or while in Mozambique.  The Government of Mozambique approved a new regulation to facilitate visas for foreign nationals intending to invest in projects in Mozambique. The measure reduced the minimum investment amount required from $50 million to $500,000 for an investment visa.

Travelers are advised to check both visa validity and length of stay permitted as they often differ.  Travelers are generally only allowed to stay for 30 days at a time.  Any visa overstay is subject to large fines.  Visas can be obtained at Mozambican embassies or consulates and cost between $100 and $290 depending upon length of validity and single or multiple entry.  For information on Mozambican visas issued in the U.S. visit Mozambican Embassy website website.

Passports of all travelers who wish to enter Mozambique must be valid for six months upon arrival and must contain at least three clean (unstamped) visa pages each time entry is sought.

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign business persons to the United States will find relevant information from the U.S. Department of State.

Currency

The Metical is the local currency of Mozambique.  The U.S. Dollar, EURO, and South African rand are commonly used for business transactions.  VISA and Master Card are accepted in all POS and ATMs; American Express is not commonly accepted.  ATMs and POS are widely available in urban areas but scarce in rural areas.  It is recommended that U.S. travelers convert some foreign cash currency into the local Metical.

Telecommunications/Electronics

The Mozambican postal service is slow and unreliable.  Federal Express, DHL, Skynet, and UPS delivery services are available.  Telephone and wireless services are reliable in major urban centers.

Mobile phone service (GSM standard) is available in all provincial capitals and many district capitals and all network operators offer 4G mobile internet services in urban areas.  Tmcel and Vodacom have roaming agreements with most South African, European, and U.S. mobile operators.

Several hotels and restaurants in cities offer internet access through their business centers, or Wi-Fi connections in their facilities.  There are also internet cafes in provincial capitals and some secondary cities.

Transportation

Basic services necessary for the business traveler are available in Maputo, Beira, and to a lesser degree in other major cities.  Outside these major urban centers, arranging for travel and accommodation is difficult.  In Maputo and other major cities with airports, rental cars with drivers are available from Avis, Hertz, Imperial, Sixt, and Europcar (National Car Rental’s international network).

Language

Portuguese is spoken in all urban areas and in many provincial capitals, though in many smaller villages only local languages are used.  English is understood by some members of the business community, as well as many senior government officials but is not widely used.

Health

Medical facilities do not meet U.S. standards and most medical providers do not speak English.  Medicines are not always available, and travelers who may be taking routine prescription medication should plan to bring a supply to cover the length of their visit.  There are both public and private medical facilities in the city of Maputo.  All health care institutions and providers require payment at the time of service and may even require payment before service is given.  While some private clinics accept credit cards, many medical facilities do not.  Doctors and hospitals outside of Maputo generally expect immediate cash payment for health services.  Outside of Maputo, available medical care ranges from very basic to non-existent.

Malaria is prevalent in Mozambique.  Travelers to Mozambique should take malaria prophylaxis.  Plasmodium falciparum, the serious and sometimes fatal strain of malaria in Mozambique, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine.  Because travelers to Mozambique are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers should take one of the following anti-malarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone), and each of these medications need to be started prior to arriving in Mozambique.  The CDC has determined that a traveler who is on an appropriate anti-malarial drug has a greatly reduced chance of contracting the disease.

Immunizations

NOTE: Given the COVID-19 Pandemic the Mozambican Government requires all incoming travelers to show a negative COVID-19 test.

All travelers should carry a World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination card with them while traveling in Africa to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.  This yellow WHO vaccination card is required for entrance to most countries in Africa for any traveler over one year of age.  While proof of yellow fever vaccination is not officially required by some African countries, the rules are not uniformly enforced.  To avoid any possibility of being refused entry due to a layover in a yellow fever country or an unplanned change of an itinerary by an airline, it is advised that all travelers over one year of age have a yellow WHO card documenting yellow fever vaccination, regardless of a country’s published policy that may state otherwise.  A record of all other vaccinations, either on the yellow card or a separate form, is recommended but is not an official document required for travel.

Other immunizations strongly recommended are 1) Hepatitis A  2) Typhoid Fever  3) Hepatitis B  4) Rabies; for prolonged stays, or those who anticipate any activity that might bring them in direct contact with wild animals; and 6) Influenza.  Travelers should ensure that their routine immunizations including Tetanus/Diphtheria (Tdap or Td), Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR), Polio (IPV), and Varicella are current.

Illness Prior to Travel: If you are sick with symptoms of influenza-like illness, you should not travel.  These symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Travel can resume after you are at least 24 hours free of fever (100F or 37.8C), or free of signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. Flights arriving in Maputo may be specifically targeted for screening.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the CDC’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (+1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site. For more information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website. Further health information for travelers is available here.

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as medical evacuation.  Please see the Department of State’s information on medical insurance overseas.

Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays

Local time is GMT +2.

Business hours are generally 8:00am to 5:00pm, while government offices function from 7:30am to 3:30pm. It is common for NGOs and Diplomatic institutions to close early on Fridays, closing times range from 11:00am to 3pm on Fridays.

National Holidays in Mozambique:

January 1               New Year’s Day

February 3             Mozambican Heroes Day

April 7                    Mozambican Woman’s Day

May 1                     Worker’s Day

June 25                  Independence Day

September 7          Lusaka Agreement Day

September 25        Revolution Day

October 4              Peace and Reconciliation Day

November 10        Maputo Day (Maputo city only)

December 25        Family Day

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

Product samples that have no commercial value may be imported without paying duties, and those with commercial value may be imported duty free for up to 12 months.  Samples used at exhibitions may be imported on a temporary basis but cannot be sold or removed from the exhibition without customs authority. Furthermore, customs officials require a guarantee of 10% of actual duty payable, and re-export of these goods must take place within 180 days after the closing of exhibitions.  However, this period may be extended up to one year. If the goods are not re-exported within the specified periods, they will be considered to have been imported for consumption, subject to normal customs formalities.