Immigration. Travel. Living.

Madagascar: immigration guide

View on Madagascar

Located in Africa, with its green and lush forests, beautiful flowers, and a flowing sea, one could almost liken it to a paradise on earth. Famous for being an island with wildlife, the country is home to lots of tourists looking to experience the essence of nature in its pure form. If you are going as a tourist, a student, or a newly employed worker, there are essential things you should know before traveling. They will help you live as an ex-pat both legally and comfortably.

  • Visa Types
  • Permanent Residence
  • How to apply (to be a citizen)
  • Requirements

Visa Types

Madagascar has a broad category of visas, and each category is specifically for a purpose. The visa types and requirements are further explained in subsequent sections

Tourist Visa

This refers to a visa for tourists, granting them access to travel around the island without restrictions for 30, 60, or 90 days depending on the type of e-Visa. The fastest and easiest way of applying for a Malagasy tourist visa is online. You can apply for the electronic visa shortened as eVisa from your home or office without going to the embassy.

To apply for the tourist visa online, applicants must simply fill in a questionnaire with the required details. However, certain citizens are not eligible for the Madagascar eVisa. If you are from one of such countries, you will have to go to a Malagasy embassy or consulate in person and apply there.

Immigrant Visa

This type of visa is issued by the embassy for a maximum of 30 days. It can be used by tourists and foreign businesspersons. Due to its flexibility, it can be extended longer than 30 days before it expires. With this visa, you can apply for a long-term stay permit.

Investor Visa

As the name implies, this visa is only issued to investors looking to invest in local-based companies while in the country. You will have to apply to the embassy to obtain this visa. To apply, you must submit all required documents and show proof of your financial ability to invest in a business.

Work Visa

If you have recently gotten a job in the island country, then applying for a work visa is your best option. However, without a work permit, you cannot qualify for one. Thus it is paramount you obtain your permit before applying for the visa with your employer’s consent. With this, you can reside for as long as the job contract lasts.


Family Visa

Issued to foreigners on a visit or reunion with a family member who is a legal resident or a citizen. To apply for this, you must present all required documents such as your valid passport, your host’s bank statement, and proof of invitation to the embassy. You can extend the visa up to five years, provided you meet certain criteria.

silhouette of people riding on sail boat on sea during sunset

Student Visa

If you are a student looking to study here, this is the type of visa to apply for. However, the top requirement is that you have to be admitted into a school located in the country. To apply, you will need to submit your admission letter to the embassy along with other documents. A student visa lets you live here for a longer period than a tourist visa.

Note: There are other types of visas such as a visa for scientists, volunteers, etc. you can look them up on the immigration website.

Permanent Residence

For you to apply for a resident permit, you have to fall into any of the following categories; an investor who wants to live on the island, a student studying, an employee of a local company, or a retiree who is an ex-pat. With a resident permit, you get to stay for longer than a year and can apply for a permanent permit by extension or become a legal citizen. Applying for residency involves many steps and takes a long time to process.

How to Apply

As a foreigner, you can become a legal citizen when you reside in Madagascar for a long. However, simply living here does not confer citizenship. There are three options for an ex-pat looking to become a legal citizen with the right to live and work on the island, they are:

  • By Descent: when one of the parents is a Malagasy, and the child is born out of wedlock.
  • By Marriage: When a foreigner marries a Malagasy man, she can obtain citizenship by declaring to the state her intention of obtaining citizenship. The citizenship is issued on a two-year probation.  A Malagasy citizen, who obtains foreign citizenship after marriage, may not renounce their Malagasy citizenship unless required.
  • By Dual Citizenship: A citizen born in a foreign country but with Malagasy parents can keep both citizenships until he or she is 21 years of age. At that age, such a person has to choose the citizenship they wish to keep.


Some documents often required include:

  1. Purpose for residency
  2. Notice information
  3. Certified copy of your original passport and entry visa
  4. Criminal record from your country of origin (must be 3 months or less)
  5. Residence certificate

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