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 The history of Immigration Services in Tanzania is a three- fold account, dating back from the pre-independence period, the post independence period and the period after the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964.


Immigration services

During this era, Immigration services were rendered for the interest of colonial masters. Some of the laws were not applicable to Africans. Under German domination, Tanganyika had no coded laws to regulate Immigration issues. It was in 1924 during the British era, when various pieces of legislations were enacted to regulate matters pertaining to Immigration. The first Immigration legislation was known as Immigration Ordinance (cap 37) of 1924. This Ordinance was replaced by (The Emergency Laws Transitional Provisions) Ordinance of 1946.

The Emergency Laws Transitional Provisions Ordinance 1946 was repealed and replaced by the Immigration Control Ordinance, 1948. This law had some changes inter-alia, the exclusion of the Somali from African race. In all legislations and their subsequent amendments, powers to appoint the head of the department were vested in the Governor, who was the head of the Tanganyika Territory, representing the British Monarchy. The Immigration Control Ordinance of 1948 was later replaced by the Immigration ordinance 1958, the same being replaced by the Immigration (Exemption and Amendment) and Alien’s Ordinance 1961. Citizenship matters were governed by the British Nationality Act 1948, which regulated Citizenship in British colonies.


Immigration services

After the attainment of independence, Tanganyika adopted the existing British laws and regulations. Immigration services were determined by the Immigration Ordinance 1961. In 1963, the Parliament of Tanganyika enacted the Immigration Act No. 41 of 1963. This was made to regulate immigration matters within an independent Tanganyika and remained in force until its repeal and replacement by the 1972 legislation.


After independence, Citizenship issues were regulated under the Citizenship Act No.3 1961. Unlike the mainland, Zanzibar used The Zanzibar Nationality Decree of 1952. These laws were amended in 1964 to accommodate citizenship issues in the newly born United Republic of Tanzania.


After the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964 and the unification of these two sister countries, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, issues of Citizenship were partly unified by amending Citizenship Act No. 3 1961, and passing the Zanzibar Decree No. 5 of 1964, Immigration matters continued to be regulated by two laws Emigration Control Decree of Zanzibar 1964 and Immigration Act 1963, which was repealed by the Tanzania Immigration Act 1972. In spite of the union, Immigration and Citizenship laws were not harmonized until 1995, with the coming in to force of the Immigration Act No. 7 of 1995 and the Tanzania Citizenship No. 6 of 1995 and their subsequent Regulations. 

  • Functions of the Immigration department
  1. To ensure National security is highly observed and maintained.
  2. To facilitate entry, exit and stay of all Immigrants and/or Emigrants with a view to promoting Investments and Tourism for National Socio-economic Development.
  3. To facilitate exit and entry of Citizens traveling abroad for both private and public affairs.
  4. To conduct patrols and apprehend the undesirables for expulsion or other possible legal measures.
  5. To issue citizenship and other Immigration documents to Immigrants like Investors, Tourists, Experts, Missionaries, Students, Researchers and Others