Country Guide: Malawi

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

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Updated: November 23, 2015

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Packing list
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / no express release / air waybill (AWB)
  • Original valued inventory in English, dated, and signed by the owner of the goods
  • Invoices for all electrical items less than 6 months old
  • Employment contract
  • Diplomatic exemption (diplomats)


Specific Information

  • The agent must receive documents at least 15 days prior to arrival of the shipment to allow agent time to apply for a duty exemption on the used household goods.
  • The owner of the goods must be present during the clearing process.
  • New personal effects are subject to 30% to 80% tax on declared value.
  • The diplomatic organization will apply for documents on behalf of the owner of the goods with the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs and must have copies of the OBL / AWB and packing list to initiate Customs clearance (diplomats).

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Original registration card
  • Owner of the goods’ employment contract
  • Original purchase invoice
  • OBL (no express release) / AWB


Specific Information

  • Taxes on vehicles will depend on age, power, etc. of approximately 95% to 150% cost, insurance, and freight (CIF).
  • The OBL must show chassis number, engine number, cubic capacity, year of manufacture, brand, and model.


Documents Required

  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Valid vaccination record


Specific Information

  • Current vaccinations and permission from nearest embassy are required for the importation of live animals.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Alcohol (subject to taxes)
  • New electrical, electronic Items and computers are subject to 50% to 150% tax on the declared value
  • One used computer is granted duty free
  • Firearms and ammunitions (authorization from the territorial administration required)

Prohibited Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Pornography
  • Explosive materials
  • Counterfeit items

Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.



Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook

Wikipedia Entry for Malawi

IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.