COVID-19 Information

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COVID-19 Information

Last updated:   January 14, 2022

***  Effective December 6, 2021, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one calendar day of travel.  Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.  Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

Exemptions will be considered on an extremely limited basis. Please contact your nearest embassy or consulate to apply for an exemption. Please visit the CDC webpages for more information about exemptions and the requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States.

Country-Specific Information

Malawi is in its fourth wave of COVID-19. As of December 26, Malawi has reported 71,007 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 59,567 recoveries, and 2,332 deaths. As of December 26, there are 8,876 active cases nationwide.

Daily updates of the COVID-19 data can be found at this link.

As test positivity rates range from 20-30% and vaccinations rates remain below 5%, the consular section is prioritizing the health of its staff and applicants by limiting appointments and implementing strict COVID mitigation measures in waiting rooms and interviews. Arriving travelers unable to show an electronic vaccination certificate at point of entry shall be expected to access COVID-19 vaccines for free at the point of entry before being allowed to enter or re-enter Malawi. Travelers unable to produce a valid immunization certificate and who refuse to access the vaccines offered at the point of entry will be required to undergo institutional quarantine for 10 days at their cost. At this time, we do not have further information on the cost or location of the institutional quarantine. Travelers will not have a choice in where they are placed.

Travelers without the required valid negative PCR COVID-19 test will be subjected to a Rapid Antigen Test on site before being admitted to Malawi without exception and at the traveler’s expense. Anyone with a positive Rapid Antigen Test will be subjected to a PCR test at the traveler’s expense, then conveyed to the District Health System where they will be managed according to standard national protocols. You may not present a letter from a medical provider stating you have recovered from COVID.

The Malawi Ministry of Health has collaborated with the African Union and Africa CDC to implement an online system to authenticate and verify traveler’s COVID-19 certificates called the Trusted Travel (TT) platform. Children under age 1 are exempt from testing requirements. Travelers are expected to present a COVID certificate with an alphanumeric TT travel code upon arrival or prior to departure. The Ministry of Health has created a Traveler’s Manual for using the TT platform.

Businesses, shops, and restaurants can operate within the hours prescribed in their respective licenses but may not stay open later than 10:00 p.m. All gatherings indoors are restricted to 100 people and all gatherings outdoors are restricted to 250 people.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are either PCR or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Malawi? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within one calendar day?   Test results are not reliably available within one calendar day.

Below are the main laboratories and hospitals providing COVID-19 PCR tests.  Before visiting one of these health centers for travel COVID-19 testing, confirm that the results will be accepted by your airline of choice.

  • Mzuzu Central Hospital in Mzuzu
  • Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe
  • Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre
  • Zomba Central Hospital Laboratory in Zomba
  • National Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM), CHSU Campus

 All tests require a fee.  The average cost for a COVID-19 PCR test is approximately 40,000 MWK for Malawian citizens and 80,000 MWK for foreign nationals.  This link guides travelers to recommended testing sites for travelers, including contact details for focal points.

Laboratories offering rapid COVID-19 testing:

If an airline, connecting city, or destination requires a rapid COVID-19 test, there are two locations in Lilongwe that should be able to accommodate this request.  Before visiting one of these health centers for travel COVID-19 testing, confirm that the results will be accepted by your airline of choice.

  1. CMED (in the ABC complex)
  • Open Monday- Friday 0800 to 1700.  CMED is closed on public holidays.
  • Testing is located in a tent outside of the clinic in the parking lot.
  • CMED tests sick patients and travelers in the same location.
  • Results while you wait in about 15 minutes.
  1. Partners in Hope
  • Open Monday- Friday 0800-1200 and 1300-1600
  • Testing is located in tents to the RIGHT of the main building. Check in at the check-in desk inside and pay.
  • There is one tent for well people and one tent for sick people.
  • If same day results are needed, request this in advance.  Partners in Hope often calls with the results the next day, but it may be possible to receive the results within 15 minutes after giving the explanation of travel.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

  • Has the government of Malawi approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use?  Yes
  • Are vaccines available in Malawi for U.S. citizens to receive? Yes 
  • Which vaccines are available in Malawi? AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer COVID-19.
  • Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.
  • The U.S. government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

Entry and Exit Requirements

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes
  • Visit the Malawi Immigration website for more information: https://www.immigration.gov.mw/
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes; All arriving and departing passengers via air shall be required to produce a negative SARS COV-2 PCR test certificate obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival in or departure from Malawi in addition to any requirements of transiting or final destination countries.  Please see above for more information. Children under age 1 are exempt from testing requirements
  • All arriving passengers must also show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Any passenger without proof will be given the opportunity to have a free vaccine onsite.  If a passenger refuses the vaccine, they’ll be required to undergo institutional quarantine for 10 days at their expense.  At this time, the location and cost are unknown. Children ages 11 and under are exempt from vaccination requirements.
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry?  Visitors are subject to health screen procedures at airports and other ports of entry.  Authorities often take temperatures and visitors may be required to walk through sanitation chambers where a non-toxic disinfectant is sprayed on the visitor and their carry-on luggage.
  • For information regarding visa extensions for residents and/or tourists, visit https://www.immigration.gov.mw

Movement Restrictions

  • Is a curfew in place?
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No

Quarantine Information 

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? No. Unless they are unvaccinated and refuse the complimentary vaccine offered at the port of entry.  These visitors will be required to stay in institutional quarantine for 10 days at their expense.  At this time, the location and cost remain unknown. Visitors are not allowed to choose their quarantine location.  If a U.S. citizen tests positive for COVID-19, the government of Malawi recommends self-quarantine for 10 days before re-testing for COVID-19.

Transportation Options

Are commercial flights operating? Yes

Is public transportation operating? Yes

Public transportation options are limited and include privately owned minibuses, motorbike taxis, and bicycle taxis.  Minibuses are expected to limit passengers and require mask usage and social distancing.

Consular Operations

  • What ACS services are being offered?  Full ACS services are being offered in limited numbers for the safety of applicants and staff.
  • What visa services are being offered? Only emergency, humanitarian, and diplomatic visa services are being offered at this time due to the high positivity rates of COVID-19 in country.

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