Botswana-UPenn Partnership

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

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

To be completed prior to your arrival in Botswana:

NEW COVID-19 Requirements

Current COVID-19 travel requirements stipulate that travelers to Botswana must bring their proof of vaccination (for US citizens, your CDC vaccination card) OR if unvaccinated, a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure flight time. Please stay aware of current COVID-19 related travel guidance and regulations, as these can change quickly and frequently. Please contact Charlotte Beever with any Botswana-specific COVID-19 travel questions.

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 traveling via South Africa. 

Make travel arrangements

Book your flights to/from Botswana. If you requested airport transfer and/or accommodations at Village View, confirm with Josephine Thankane.

Travel Requirements for Botswana – Permit Waiver

This is a new requirement as of 2019 for all visitors working in Botswana. You must be prepared to apply for a permit waiver. The application includes the following documents:

  • 2 notarized copies of your passport photo page
  • resume - 2 copies
  • 2 notarized copies of educational certificates (i.e. diplomas)
  • a letter of invitation - provided by BUP

Take the following steps at least 60 days before you arrive in Botswana in order to start the process:

  1. Get a notarized copy of your passport.
  2. Scan and email the notarized copy to Lindiwe Maidi (maidil@bup.org.bw) BUP's HR Coordinator.
  3. Bring the notarized copy with you to Botswana.
  4. Lindiwe Maidi (maidil@bup.org.bw), will write your permit waiver request 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.  

When you arrive in Botswana:

  1. Check BUSINESS on the immigration form when you arrive at the airport in Gaborone.
  2. Once in country, Lindiwe will need to take your passport to the Immigration Authority along with the notarized copies, resumes, 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. Lindiwe will return your passport to you the same day (typically within an hour or two).
Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC)

NEW: Please be aware that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the BHPC council is only meeting at the end of the month to approve licenses to practice medicine in Botswana so plan your travel accordingly. 

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 Josephine Thankane BUP Global Health Administrator.

Immunizations

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: https://global.upenn.edu/travel-guidance/register-your-trip 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, Charlotte Beever will reach out to arrange this. If you did not request this on the questionnaire, but would like to attend, contact Megan.

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 Charlotte Beever.