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Relocating to Malawi guide for expats

Relocating to Malawi guide for expats

Living in Malawi

Malawi’s much lauded lake has drawn tourists from all over to marvel and experience the Warm Heart of Africa. Malawi still has a long way to go, however industry and commerce has been progressing quite steadily, bringing expats in, temporarily and permanently. If you’re relocating to this charming African state, here’s some useful information.


Expat Clubs

There are no expat meet up clubs as such in Malawi and most expats communicate online through websites such as ExpatWoman.com.

International Schools 

Bishop Mackenzie International School
BMIS is an IB World School offering PYP, MYP (Candidate Status) and Diploma Programmes to our students across the age range from 5 – 18 years.  They are fully accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Barron Avenue, Lilongwe, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 756 631, + 265 1 756 364
Fax: +265 1 751 374
Email: info@bmis.mw
Website: www.bmis.mw

St. Andrews International Primary School
St. Andrew’s has been a part of life in Malawi since 1938. They have been offering international education in the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. The school is truly international with children from 24 different countries and five continents. They follow the English National Curriculum with variation in some subjects, such as History and Geography.
Curriculum: British
Address: Sunnyside, Blantyre, Malawi
Tel: +265 1833 428
Fax: +265 1823 086
Email: saips@africa-online.net
Website: www.saips.mw

Hillview International Primary
The school follows the National Curriculum for England and Wales, at Key Stages 1 & 2, which prepares children for GCSE and A Level courses at High School. These qualifications are internationally accepted for entry onto Higher Education and University courses.
Curriculum: British
Address: PO Box 5809, Limbe, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 843540
Mobile: +265 881088755
Fax: +265 1 845412
Email: office@hillviewschool.mw

Local News in English

Nyasa Times
NyasaTimes Online is Malawi's award winning quality news source on the web offering breaking news and in-depth, analytical features.
Website: www.nyasatimes.com/
Malawi Voice
Malawi Voice Is an independent,credible source news from Malawi covering all sectors.
Website: www.malawivoice.com/
AllAfrica – Malawi
AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. They publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons.
Website: allafrica.com/malawi/

Country Information 

Location: Africa
Capital City: Lilongwe
Other Important Cities: Blantyre
Currency: Kwacha
Language: English
Calling Code: +265
Internet TLD: .mw
Electricity: Malawi runs on 230V 50Hz. The country uses mainly hydro power, which is produced and distributed by the state-owned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).
Address: 9 Haile Selassie Road, P. O. Box 2047, BLANTYRE, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 822 000
Fax: +265 1 822 008
Email: info@escom.mw
Website: www.escom.mw/
Emergency Numbers:
Ambulance: 998
Fire: 999
Police: 997
Country Information

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Nationals from certain territories, including North America, the EU, Australia, and certain African states may enter and stay for up to 30 days in Malawi visa free. Other nationals must apply for a visa at a Malawi embassy or consulate. The Malawi Embassy in the Washington DC has a full list of countries and their corresponding visa exemption/regulations: www.malawiembassy-dc.org/index.php?page=visa-information

Staying beyond 30 days, a residence permit is required. There are three types: temporary residence, business residence and permanent residence. A temporary residence permit allows an expat to stay for longer subject to justifiable reasons. This is the type of permit that locally employed expats will need. A business residence permit are for foreigners wishing to start up a business or investments. Minimum investment of $50,000 is required. This type of permit is valid for 5 years. The permanent residence permit can be availed any person who has resided in Malawi no less than 5 years, elderly retirees, dependents of Malawi Permanent Residents and foreign wives of Malawians. An assured income is required to qualify. Applications for any of these permits can be done at a Malawi Department of Immigration office, prior to travel. For more information please visit their site: www.immigration.gov.mw/permit.html.


Malawi’s commercial city Blantyre houses most of the expatriate community in the country. These include government officials, diplomats and NGOs. There are around 25,000 expats in the city. Blantyre is progressively developed thanks to the concentration of industrial and commercial sectors. Chileka International Airport is also located in Blantyre. There are international schools in the area which makes Blantyre a favourable option for expatriates. Hospitals and emergency services in the city are also readily available and within reach.

Aside from the expensive hotels, expats who wish to stay for an extended period will find that renting a house or an apartment a much cheaper option. 1 bedroom apartments range from $125 to $150, 3 bedrooms, most suitable for families, go for $550 to $600 depending on location and proximity to the city center.

Driving License

Expats may use their domestic license and an international driving license to drive legally in Malawi. After three months, expats holding an international license may turn in their domestic license for a local one. They are exempted from taking a course. However expats without and international license must take and pass a driving course. Applications to exchange licenses or apply for a Malawian license is done through a regional Road Traffic Department. The one in Blantyre is located in:
Address: PB 30177 Blantyre 3, Blantyre, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 870 277
Fax: +265 1 870 552


Healthcare facilities in Malawi are below standard and limited. Medications are also in short supply; personal prescriptions should be stocked before travelling to the country. Several foodborne illnesses are also prevalent. Precautionary vaccinations are recommended. Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required when coming from certain countries. It is highly advised to obtain a health insurance that can cover the cost of medical evacuation in case of severe, complex cases.

Insurance Companies
Cigna Global Health Options
Cigna provides international insurance coverage for expats. International medical evacuation is also available in cases where emergency treatment must be sought outside of the host country.
Website: www.cignaglobal.com  

Beit Cure International Hospital
The Beit CURE International Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, is a 72-bed teaching hospital that specialises in treating the orthopaedic needs of both adults and children. Its mission is to help children with physical disabilities throughout Malawi for free, regardless of ethnic background, religious affiliation or ability to pay. On top of the work with children, we also provide a full range of specialist services to paying adults which help fund the children’s operations.
Address: PO Box 31236, Blantyre 3, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 871 900, +265 1 875 015, +265 1 873 694, +265 999 505 212
Fax: +265 1 874 397
Email: malawi@cureinternational.org
Website: www.curehospital.mw/
Malamulo Hospital
Malamulo Hospital has been providing healthcare to one of the poorest districts in Malawi, Africa since 1902. It's located 65 kilometers southeast of the city of Blantyre in Thyolo District in the southern part of Malawi. The hospital serves a catchment population of 129,000 from two surrounding districts who are among the poorest in Africa, mainly due to the average income which is less than $1 per day. Malamulo is a major referral hospital for Malawi and Mozambique.
Address: Makwasa, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 470 222, +265 1 470 255
Fax: +265 1 470 231
Email: enquiries@malamulohospital.org
Website: www.malamulohospital.org/
St. Gabriel’s Hospital Namitete
The St Gabriel's Hospital was founded in 1959 by Carmelite Sisters from Luxembourg under the Dioceses of Lilongwe. Since its modest beginnings as a small bush hospital, the St Gabriel's Hospital has come a long way. Today, it is a fully operating, modern hospital responsible for the medical care of some 250,000 people, mostly from the rural areas surrounding Namitete.
Address: Namitete, Lilongwe, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 27 42 13
Fax: +265 1 27 42 63
Email: stgabriels.hospital@gmail.com
Website: stgabrielshospital.org/
Blantyre Adventist Hospital
The hospital was founded by an American couple, Dr. Elton and Dr. Rheeta Stecker in 1974, as an offspring of Malamulo Hospital to help raise revenue for Malamulo Hospital operations. Blantyre Adventist Hospital is a Type 4 institution under SDA General Conference Policy.
Address: P.O. Box 51, Blantyre, Malawi
Tel: +265 1 832913
Website: www.bah.mw/

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