Botswana-UPenn Partnership

Pre-Departure Checklist for Penn/CHOP Facutly and Staff Visitors

This checklist is primarily for Penn/CHOP faculty and staff who are travelling to Botswana on business.

To be completed prior to your arrival in Botswana:

Check your passport

Make sure your passport is valid and does not expire for at least six months following your intended return. It also should have at least three blank pages - this is only required if you are travelling via South Africa. 

Make travel arrangements

Book your flights to/from Botswana. If you requested airport transfer and/or accommodations at Pilane Court, confirm with Liza Rissik (

NEW! Travel Requirements for Botswana – Permit Waiver

This is a new requirement for all visitors working in Botswana. You must be prepared to apply for a permit waiver. The application includes two documents: a notarized copy of your passport photo page and a letter of invitation. Take the following steps at least 60 days before you arrive in Botswana in order to start the process:

  1. Email your confirmed flight itinerary to Liza Rissik (, copying Amy Gastinger (
  2. Amy will write your letter of invitation. She uses your flight itinerary to draft the letter, so make sure to inform her of any changes in your travel. The letter will be ready for you when you arrive in Botswana.  
  3. Get a notarized copy of your passport.
  4. Scan and email the notarized copy to Emmanuel (
  5. Bring the notarized copy with you to Botswana.

When you arrive in Botswana:

  1. Check BUSINESS on the immigration form when you arrive at the airport in Gaborone.
  2. Once in country, Emmanuel will need to take your passport to the Immigration Authority along with the notarized copy and the invitation letter to finalize your permit waiver. This will occur your first full business day in Botswana (typically Monday) when you arrive at the BUP office. Emmanuel will return your passport to you the same day (typically within an hour or two).
Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC)

No physician can work in Botswana without registering first with the BHPC. Please have the following documents prepared prior to your departure from the US if you will be practicing medicine while in Botswana:

  • 4 x  passport photos
  • 1 x notarized copy of passport photo page
  • 2 x letters of recommendation from doctors/supervisors you work with (letters to be original, no digital copies allowed by BHPC, dated no older than six months)
  • 1 x notarized copy of your medical degree/diploma
  • 1 x notarized copy of your state medical license/registration
  • 1 x CV
  • Copy of offer letter (provided in Botswana)
  • Cover letter of application form (provided in Botswana)
  • Application fee (P30 ≈ $3)

Any questions about this process should be sent to Liza Rissik BUP Global Health Administrator (


You should be immunized against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid (IM or oral).  If you plan to travel to Chobe Game Reserve in Kasane, the Okavango, or any other place up north while in Botswana, you will need to bring malaria prophylaxis. Gaborone is free of malaria.

Register with MY TRIPS

Registering your Penn-affiliated trip keeps you connected to Penn resources in the event of an emergency and pre-authorizes your medical insurance coverage.  Go to: to register your trip and access Penn’s Medical Care and Evacuation Insurance.

Print ISOS Insurance Card

International SOS provides Penn travelers with worldwide health care and emergency assistance services 24 hours a day. All Penn employees and students are covered when traveling for business. Once you have registered with My Trips, you will automatically be registered with ISOS and can access the insurance card with member information. Please print and bring a copy with you.

Attend BUP Orientation

If this is your first time in Botswana or you have not been in awhile, you should attend a BUP Orientation. On the questionnaire if you requested to attend an orientation, Amy Gastinger ( will reach out to arrange this. If you did not request this on the questionnaire, but would like to attend, contact Amy.

Read the BUP Handbook

This handbook is full of valuable information on how to prepare for your experience in Botswana. From cultural guidance to language tips and packing lists, we highly recommend that you read this handbook. If you have not received it, email Amy Gastinger (