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If you’re travelling to Zambia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact


General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA. Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Further information about current requirements for entry to Ireland is available on the Irish Government website and the HSE website.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government. The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Where to go for further travel information:


Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Latest Travel News

All citizens arriving in Zambia are required to present a certificate demonstrating a negative COVID-19 test result dated less than 14 days prior to arrival. Tests must be issued by the designated and accredited laboratory in the country of origin. Failure to present such a certificate may result in passengers being denied boarding by the airline or refused immigration clearance in Zambia. There is no requirement for visitors to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, however all returning residents must do so.

As of 20 October, travellers leaving Zambia are required to obtain a medical certificate confirming they have had a negative test for COVID-19 in Zambia within the previous 14 days.

Zambia has experienced incidences of civil unrest in recent months. Irish citizens should avoid political demonstrations or gatherings, and avoid poorer “compound” neighbourhoods after dark.

Opportunistic crime remains relatively high, and citizens should ensure that houses are suitably secured, and that belongings are not left visible inside cars in public carparks.

There have been a number of reports of bank cards being skimmed for fraud at ATMs. Please take extra precaution using bank machines, in particular, check for signs of tampering before using. The airport is considered a particularly vulnerable location. Irish citizens may consider carrying some foreign currency in the case that their debit card is cancelled by the bank.

Irish citizens are advised to avoid any political rallies, demonstrations or large gatherings. If you are in an area where you believe your safety is threatened, leave immediately. Keep yourself informed by monitoring local media.

Emergency Assistance

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Zambia before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Zambia by dialling 999.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide.


Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

Avoid any political rallies, demonstrations or large gatherings. There are occasional student demonstrations at the University of Zambia on the Great East Road (which is the main road to the airport). Keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.


Although the threat from terrorism in Zambia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.


There is a risk of landmines near Zambia’s borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, and on the Angolan side of the Zambia-Angola border. Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact or tour operator before travelling to affected regions.


Pick pocketing and general theft is common particularly at some restaurants and internet cafes near the bus and train stations in Lusaka and Livingstone. Always take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Only use reputable banks or bureaux de change to exchange money or use ATMs as counterfeit notes are in circulation
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible. Avoid walking after dark particularly in downtown areas
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations
  • Be aware a high proportion of the civil population is armed

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Zambia, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Lusaka if you need help.

We advise all Irish citizens resident in Zambia to continue to take the usual precautions at their homes, in vehicles and when walking in public. Please remain vigilant and contact the Police or the Embassy if you have any concerns.

Prescription Medication

There have been reports of tourists being detained for possession of prescription medication, without the doctor prescription. If you require medication and will travel with sufficient supply for your stay, be sure to retain and carry the appropriate documentation.

Road Safety

Road accidents are the major cause of fatalities in Zambia. Driving in urban areas during the day is relatively safe, but driving at night outside of main towns should be avoided where possible. Hazards include poor-standard of driving generally, poorly maintained vehicles, poor road conditions, pedestrians walking on the road without reflective clothing, stray animals and tired, distracted or drunk drivers.

Extra care is advised during the rainy season (November to April) as roads and bridges can be washed away.

Caution should be exercised if considering the use of public transport, the safety standards of the vehicle and driving may be lead to unnecessary risk, especially on long journeys. Public transport in urban areas can be severely overcrowded.

 If you are driving, be vigilant, keep vehicle doors locked and windows closed, and be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are driving after dark.

 Security risks increase when it is dark, especially in city centres.  Keep valuables and originals of important documents in safe places.

 If you wish to exchange money, use reputable banks, bureaux de change or ATMs.

Practical advice:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • There are occasional incidents of armed robberies and vehicle hijackings. Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you're stopped at traffic lights
  • Do not leave valuables visible when parking your car
  • It is an offence to use a mobile phone while driving

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Public transport

Minibuses in urban areas are usually severely overcrowded and badly driven.

Wild animals

Wild animals including poisonous snakes are a constant threat to travellers and residents in Zambia. Always follow local regulations and follow your safari rangers’ instructions.

Adventure sports

There are many adventure sport operators in Victoria Falls and serious accidents and deaths occasionally occur. Check that your travel insurance will cover you in the event of death or injury to yourself or a third party.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Prescription Medication

There have been reports of tourists being detained for possession of prescription medication, without the doctor prescription. If you require medication and will travel with sufficient supply for your stay, be sure to retain and carry the appropriate documentation.

Illegal drugs

The possession, smuggling and/or use of narcotics, including marijuana, is strictly prohibited in Zambia and can result in severe punishments. Possession of even small quantities may result in sentences up to five years in prisons where conditions are very poor.


Possessing pornography is illegal in Zambia.


Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia and can result in long prison sentences. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.


Be careful of photographing sites deemed sensitive by the authorities, such as power stations, army barracks, government buildings, river junctions and airports. It is better to err on the side of caution and not take the photographs.

National Parks

Visitors to Zambia’s National Parks should be aware of recent arrests of visitors who removed items from the park such as, for example, a piece of animal bone.  Please respect local laws and do not remove any items from national parks.



Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Zambia are poor, especially in rural areas.  Even basic drugs and clean needles may not be available. Take particular care if travelling with children. 


Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you travel. We can’t advise you on vaccinations, but you can get information about vaccinations from your local GP or an International Health and Travel Centre.


Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and for any unexpected delays.

You may wish to also bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication. When you arrive, customs officials may ask to see prescriptions for medications brought into the country.


Malaria is a threat in Zambia. Before travelling, ask your doctor about suitable anti-malarial medication. And after arrival, take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.

Cholera and dysentery

Cholera and dysentery are common, especially during the rainy season (November – April).  You should only drink bottled or boiled water and avoid ice in drinks. Avoid food from street vendors. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Zambia you should seek immediate medical attention.

Rabies and TB

These are common in Zambia.


HIV and AIDS are prevalent in Zambia, with current rates estimated at 13.5% of the adult population. If you’re engaging in activities that expose you to possible HIV infection, make sure you take adequate precautions. If you suspect that you have been exposed, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry and exit requirements related to COVID-19

Irish citizens entering Zambia are be required to present a certificate demonstrating a negative COVID-19 test result dated less than 14 days prior to arrival. Tests must be issued by the designated and accredited laboratory in the country of origin. Failure to present such a certificate may result in passengers being denied boarding by the airline or refused immigration clearance in Zambia.

There is no requirement for visitors to self-isolate for 14 days on arrivals, however all returning residents must do so.

All travellers wishing to leave Zambia are required to have a medical certificate stating that they have tested negatively for COVID-19 in Zambia in the previous 14 days. To obtain this certificate, travellers must take their negative test result to either UTH Hospital, the Zambia National Health Public Institute, the District Health Office or the Public Health Office and pay a 200 Kwacha fee. COVID-19 tests must have been carried out in Zambia. Holders of tests taken outside Zambia are not exempt from this requirement, even if the test was taken within the previous 14 days.

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens visiting Zambia for less than 90 days do not need a visa in advance, but can obtain a visa-on-arrival subject to the discretion of the local Immigration Officer. Holders of an Irish passport are exempt from the requirement to pay the visa fee.

Visitors are usually allowed to remain in the country for the period that corresponds with their air ticket information when they arrive at the port of entry. Please ensure you check the validity of the visa you are given while still at the Visa Counter. Mistakes can be costly and difficult to rectify afterwards.

Visas may be extended at the discretion of the immigration department up to a maximum of 90 days. Don’t overstay your visa as you risk a court appearance, imprisonment, fine and/or deportation.


It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Zambia and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

The Zambian constitution does not recognise dual nationality.

If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re abroad, we can help.

What we can do:

  • Issue you a replacement passport that will let you finish your trip, or;
  • Issue you with an emergency travel document to get you home.

We’ll do our best to help you as quickly as possible but this can take some time. Your location and circumstances may limit the help we can give you.

You should contact the Irish Embassy in Lusaka to find out what you need to do to apply for a passport. They will also be able to advise you on the fees which apply.


If you want to bring in specialist/professional video recording equipment you must apply for press accreditation to film in Zambia. Temporary clearance must be obtained for camera equipment from the Zambia News and Information Department. It is prudent to advise the Embassy of your arrival and departure dates with a minimum of three weeks’ notice prior to the date of arrival. If you don’t have the proper documentation and clearance, you may have your equipment confiscated when you arrive.


December to April is hot and wet with torrential downpours in the afternoon. May to August is dry and fairly cool. September to November is dry but progressively hotter.

Additional care is advised if driving during the rainy season (November to April) as roads and bridges can be washed away.


Since the beginning of 2013, the Zambian currency was rebased using a rate of 1,000 old Kwacha = 1 new Kwacha.  From 1 July 2013 the old Kwacha is not recognised as legal tender. Check that you get the correct change when paying for goods or services because both the old and new notes use the symbol ‘K’ and some of the new notes use the same colour scheme as the old ones.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Outside of office hours, emergency contacts can call the Embassy at +260-211-291234, +260-211-292288

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at +353-1-408-2000

Embassy of Ireland
6663 Katima Mulilo Road
PO Box 34923

Tel: + 260 211 290650
Fax: + 260 211 290482

Monday to Thursday 08:00-16:30; Friday 08:00-12:30

Contact us