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By No owner — last modified Jan 11, 2019 01:50 PM

 Madagascar - Formalities

Clearance

Officials in Madagascar, apart from being slow and not always reliable, are normally not a problem. However, you may well be asked to make an unofficial payment - see the fees section on dealing with payment requests.

PRE-ARRIVAL

It is now possible to obtain an visa online. See Immigration for more details.

ARRIVAL FORMALITIES

On approach, fly the 'Q' flag. Do not bother to call via VHF as the officials usually do not have working radios.

Before commencing clearance you may need to find a photocopy shop (to get copies of ship's papers and your previous port exit zarpe) and an ATM for cash.

General process:

Officials do not come to the yacht and it is necessary to visit the relevant offices:

  • Police/Immigration (in many ports the Police will act as Immigration): Here you get your passports stamped and the officer will want one copy of your ship's registration papers. The officer may hold your passports for a short while and return them with the entry visa attached.
  • Customs: The officer will ask for two copies of your exit papers from your last port. One copy will be stamped and handed back to you and the other copy is retained by Customs. There will be a fee for this service, ask for a receipt for the payment. This stamped zarpe is the only paperwork you will receive from Customs to say you have entered the country legally. In some ports Customs may want you to fill out a crew list/boat information form.
  • Note: In some ports the Police may take the exit zarpe from your last port.
  • Port Captain/Coastguard (Marine Malagasy): The officer will look at your passport and ship's paper and complete a Formularaire De Visite form which you have to sign. You will  need to give the date of entry in and exit from Malagasy territorial waters, planned point of departure and itinerary. Pay the officer for his services and get a receipt upon request. No paperwork given.
  • Health: In some ports an inspection is required.

Speaking French may be an advantage. However, some officials do know a little English.

CLEARING OUT

Domestic Clearance:

It is necessary to both clear in and out at each port visited.

On leaving a port; ensure that you have an outward Clearance document and also a "Permis de Circulation."

International Clearance:

First go to the Port Captain's office to complete a Maritime Clearance Form/Bon De Partance ou Passeport. After you make payment the form is stamped and you are issued a payment receipt.

Next visit the Police/Immigration office to get your passports stamped for exiting the country. You will need to provide a crew list to be stamped (2 copies). Immigration retain one copy and you must return to the Port Captain's office with the other stamped crew list.

No agent is required.

Last updated:  January 2019

Immigration

Passports must be valid for 6 months beyond your departure date.

Immigration Procedure:
In many ports the Police will act as Immigration. Here you get your passports stamped and the officer will want one copy of your ship's registration papers. The officer may hold your passports for a short while and return them with the entry visa attached.

Visas:
It is no longer possible to get a free 30 day visa on arrival. Visas for stays of up to 90 days can be purchased on arrival (see Fees below) or obtained online via the new eVisa system.

Go to: http://www.evisamada.gov.mg/en_US/

Other Visa Information:
After 90 days no visa extensions are possible. You will have to check out and do a run to Mayotte (or elsewhere). On return it is possible to reset the clock.

For those sailing to Madagascar from neighbouring countries and wanting to stay longer than 90 days, a visa in advance is required.

The most convenient places to obtain a visa from a Malagasy Embassy are the Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion or Tanzania. (Consulates are not authorized to issue long-term tourist visas).

See a list of Madagascar Embassies at the Madagascar Consulate Website.

Last updated:  January 2019

Madagascar Embassy
90 B Tait Street, Colbyn, Pretoria 002 , P.O. BOX 11722, Queenswood 0121, Pretoria, South Africa
Tel:+(27) 123 42 09 83 Fax:+(27) 123 42 09 95

Customs

Firearms must be declared and may be impounded for the duration of the stay.

Foreign fruit and vegetables will need to be declared.

Non-residents may take up to one kilogram of precious and semi-precious stones out of the country provided proper receipts are produced.

You may only take 100 grams of vanilla out of the country.

Last updated November 2017.

Health

Update October 2017: There is currently an outbreak of pneumonic and bubonic plague in Madagascar. See the CDC website for more information.

Update August 2016: An outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in Reunion and Rodrigues has resulted in strict food import restrictions. See this Noonsite report
Any meat or dairy products may be destroyed.

If coming from continental Africa, yellow fever and cholera vaccination certificates will be required.

Immunisation against typhoid and poliomyelitis is often recommended.

Malaria risk, predominantly in the malignant falciparum form, exists all year throughout the country and is highest in coastal areas. Resistance to chloroquine has been reported. The recommended prophylaxis is mefloquine.

All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated and should be boiled before its use in any form.

Hepatitis A, B, and E are endemic and precautions are advised.

It must also be noted that Madagascar has the highest number of cases of bubonic plague in the world (500 annually) including some fatalities.

Last updated October 2017.

Documents

If visiting another port in Madagascar, ensure that you have a "Permis de Circulation" as well as an outward clearance document.

Fees

Immigration Visas:
30 days: 115,000 Ar (~US$37)
31 - 60 days: 135,000 Ar (~US$45)
61 - 90 days: 175,000 Ar (~US$55)

Customs: 60,000 Ar (~US$17)

Coast Guard: 60,000 Ar

Departure:
There may be a charge of
35,000 Ar (~US$10) for your exit papers (Maritime Clearance). Ask for a receipt.

Bribes are sometimes a part of life in Madagascar. For advice on how to deal with other requests for payment see this Noonsite report.

Last updated:  January 2019

Restrictions

Military and police establishments must not be photographed.

There are random police vehicle checkpoints throughout Madagascar, so all visitors should carry photo identification in the event of police questioning. These check points are routine in nature, and should not result in vehicle and/or person searches as long as valid identification is shown.

Walking at night, whether alone or in a group is not considered safe in urban areas, including in tourist areas.

It is now possible to get authorisation to visit the Glorieuses Islands, which are administered by France as part of the îles Eparses (Scattered Islands).

Last updated November 2017.

Local Customs

In some parts of Madagascar, aspects of daily life are regulated by taboos, known as fady. These vary from one region to another. Fady can range from forbidden foods to restrictions in clothing. Some areas subject to fady may be forbidden to foreigners, but these are mainly in remote parts of the country. If you intend to visit remote areas, seek advice first.

Pets

Pets must have fully updated vaccines and an official record must be shown on arrival. Even with all arrangements made, pets may not be allowed to land.

domander
domander says:
Sep 27, 2018 02:34 PM

The 30 day visa into Madagascar is no longer free. As far as we can tell we were treated fairly in all of our dealings with the officials when we cleared into Ambodifotatra.

First we went to the police station who act as Immigration. The 30 day visa cost 115,000 Ariary each person. We paid this to the officer plus 40,000 for a taxi. He took the passports, and one copy of our two copies of the exit zarpe (clearance) from Réunion. We went back at the time he suggested the next day and he returned the passports with the visas attached. I don't know where the copy of the Réunion exit paper went... he said it is no longer required.

We still DID have to go to Îsle Madame (the fishing harbour) to see the Customs office. This is well within walking distance for this old geezer. It is in the first building you come across, like an abandoned hotel. The office is in the west wing, access from the north, outside. There we filled in a crew list/boat info sheet of paper and paid 60,000. We asked him if it was really necessary to visit the Coast Guard office just 20 metres away to the west and while considering it finally said we should.

There at the Coast Guard we paid another 60,000 and filled out another vessel and crew info sheet.

That is what is required to check in when asking for a 30 day visa. I'll come back to post again when we check out domestically on Monday to tell you what we did.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 22, 2015 01:49 PM

The Madagascar relay station for the Peri-Peri net has now closed. Although no longer resident in Madagascar, Ex-Net Controllers Des and Nell Cason of SY Gambit are happy to offer advice to cruisers visiting the country. They have sailed this area extensively and welcome the opportunity to stay involved in the well being of fellow sailors. Contact them by E-mail at sygambit(at)gmail(dot)com

Paul Rae
Paul Rae says:
Aug 21, 2014 05:57 AM

Just a word of caution, we are in Deigo Suarez, Madagascar in the commercial port anchorage and had an intruder on our boat around 0200. He was trying to steal our portable generator. He had a knife and was able cut the lines securing it, before he was scared off the boat. He had a friend waiting for him in a small dugout outrigger. He also stole lines off the boat. So please be very careful here.

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