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Understanding Yellow Fever Certificate Requirements

There have been questions about whether or not travellers need Yellow Fever vaccination and certificate before arriving in Zimbabwe, Zambia or South Africa. We have put together some information to help you understand where the disease is found, and which countries require visitors to have the Yellow Fever certificate.

Where is Yellow Fever Found?

The Yellow Fever Virus (YFV) occurs in the following countries:

Africa Americas
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela

Note: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa are not considered Yellow Fever Risk Zones.

For some of these countries, YFV does not occur in all regions of the country, but it is still considered a high risk country. Therefore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that people travelling to these countries get a Yellow Fever vaccination for prevention.

What About Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa?

When you are entering Zimbabwe, Zambia or South Africa, you will only need a Yellow Fever Certificate if you have travelled or lived in any of the countries that are considered high risk area (see list above and map below). South Africa used to require visitors who had been to Zambia to provide the certificate, but since February 2015, this rule no longer applies. Read about it here.

Yellow fever countries in Africa

African countries considered as yellow fever zones

Yellow fever countries in the Americas

South American countries considered as yellow fever zones

What If I've Been in Transit in a Yellow Fever Area?

If you have been or are going to be in transit in a YFV risk area for more than 12 hours (10 hours in some countries), you will need to get a Yellow Fever certificate. For more country-specific requirements, click here.

When Else Will I Need a Yellow Fever Certificate?

The countries listed below will require a traveller to carry a Yellow Fever certificate only if they have travelled to or if they reside in any of the countries listed in the table above.

Afghanistan Gambia Niger
Albania Ghana Nigeria
Algeria Grenada North Korea
Angola Guadeloupe Oman
Anguilla Guatemala Pakistan
Antigua & Barbuda Guinea Papua New Guinea
Australia Guinea Bissau Paraguay
Bahamas Guyana Philippines
Bahrain Honduras Pitcairn Islands
Bangladesh India Reunion
Barbados Indonesia Rwanda
Belize Iran Samoa
Benin Iraq Sao Tome & Principe
Bhutan Ivory Coast Saudi Arabia
Bolivia Jamaica Senegal
Botswana Jordan Seychelles
Brunei Darussalam Kenya Sierra Leone
Burkina Faso Kazakhstan Singapore
Burma Kosovo Solomon Islands
Burundi Kyrgyzstan Somalia
Cambodia Laos South Africa
Cameroon Lebanon Sri Lanka
Cape Verde Lesotho St Helen
Central African Republic Liberia St Lucia
Chad Libya St Martin
China Madagascar St Vincent & The Grenadines
Congo Malawi Sudan
Costa Rica Malaysia Suriname
Curacao Maldives Swaziland
Djibouti Mali Syria
Dominica Malta Tanzania
DRC Martinique Thailand
Easter Island Mauritania Timor-Lest
Ecuador Mauritius Togo
Egypt Mayotte Trinidad & Tobago
El Salvador Mexico Tunisia
Equatorial Guinea Montserrat Uganda
Eritrea Mozambique Vietnam
Ethiopia Namibia Yemen
Fiji Nauru Zambia
French Guyana Nepal Zimbabwe
French Polynesia Netherlands Antilles
Gabon New Caledonia  

Generally, it is advisable to get vaccinated and obtain a valid Yellow Fever certificate at least 10 days before your travel if you are visiting or passing through a country where YFV occurs. The certificate is valid for a lifetime. To learn about prevention of other mosquito-related diseases, visit our malaria page.

How Long is a Yellow Fever Certificate Valid?

The vaccination and certificate are now valid for a lifetime (as of July 2016). Booster doses and new vaccination certificates used to be recommended every 10 years for people who continued to be at risk of the infection, but this is no longer necessary in most cases.


Generally, yellow fever vaccinations may be given to children from the age of 1 year.

Yellow Fever is a viral disease which occurs in most the tropical regions of Africa and the Americas. It is transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes which thrive in these regions. To find out more about Yellow Fever, visit the World Health Organisation’s page here.

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Last checked: 10 November 2022

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