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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

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

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. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating 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 security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

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.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also 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.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.



Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Latest Travel News

All citizens arriving in Zambia aboard international flights terminating at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) or Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (NLA) may be required to present a certificate demonstrating a negative COVID-19 test result dated less than four days prior to arrival. Tests must be issued by the designated and accredited laboratory in the country of origin. This temporary measure will remain in force pending a reduction in new COVID-19 cases in Zambia. Failure to present such a certificate may result in passengers being denied boarding by the airline or refused immigration clearance in Zambia.

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

Opportunistic crime remains relatively high, and citizens should ensure that houses are suitably secured, and that belongs 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
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • 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 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