Message for U.S. Citizens: Requirement for Proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination Resulting in Denial of Entry for Travelers to Nicaragua

Message for U.S. Citizens
December 07, 2017

The U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua reminds U.S. citizens traveling to Nicaragua of the new requirement announced by the Government of Nicaragua on January 17, 2017 for travelers entering Nicaragua after travel to certain countries to present proof of yellow fever vaccination as a condition for being granted entry to Nicaragua.  The Government of Nicaragua recently increased the amount of time within which travel to affected countries triggers a vaccination requirement.

Who Must Comply with the Vaccination Requirement:  Nicaragua requires at all ports of entry International Certificates of Vaccination for yellow fever from travelers who, less than 11 days prior to their planned entry into Nicaragua, have visited countries designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as places with the potential for active transmission of yellow fever (WHO-designated countries).  The vaccination must have been given at least 10 days prior to entry to the WHO-designated country.  Travelers older than one year of age living in any of the WHO-designated countries must show an International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever administered at least 10 days before their entry to Nicaragua.  Exceptions to this vaccination requirement are listed below.

What to do if Already Present in Nicaragua:  The yellow fever vaccination requirement does not impact travelers already in Nicaragua, unless they plan to visit one of the WHO-designated countries and return to Nicaragua.  In that case, Nicaraguans older than nine months of age, alien residents or those with work permit visas who plan to travel to a WHO-designated country must receive the yellow fever vaccine at least 10 days prior to travel, and can do so free of charge, Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Conchita Palacios complex of the Ministry of Health, located at Costado Oeste Colonia Primero de Mayo in Managua.  For further information, please contact the Ministry of Health at 2264-7630, 2265-7730, or 2289-4700.

Proof of Vaccination:  All travelers impacted by this requirement must show an International Certificate of Vaccination with a signature and stamp as proof of immunization at the port of entry.  A World Health Organization (WHO) card (commonly called a “yellow card”) showing proof of immunization is often used by travelers, and can generally be acquired either from primary care providers or immunization/travel clinics.  In accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Government of Nicaragua deems a yellow fever vaccine effective for life.

WHO-Designated Countries:  The WHO-designated countries, as listed at the above link, currently include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and nearly 30 countries located on the African continent (see Table 3-22 on the CDC page for the full list).

The United States is not listed as a country with the potential for active transmission of yellow fever.

Exceptions to Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirement:  People with prior travel to WHO-designated countries will not be required to show proof of a yellow fever vaccine as long as the travel to the affected country occurred more than ten days before attempting to enter Nicaragua and the traveler does not show symptoms of yellow fever.  Symptoms of yellow fever include sudden onset of fever, chills, severe headache, back pain, general body aches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and weakness.

The International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever also will not be required for travelers who passed through a WHO-designated country in transit only (defined as making an air connection, spending less than 12 hours in the country and never leaving the airport).

In addition, the following travelers are exempt from the requirement to present the International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever, even if they have traveled to a WHO-designated country less than 11 days before their entry into Nicaragua.  These travelers will need to provide a doctor’s note attesting to medical contraindications to their vaccination (a Spanish translation of the doctor’s note is also advisable):

  • Those older than 60 years,
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women,
  • Those with medical proof of allergy to egg (as a component of the vaccine), or
  • Those with alterations in their immune system.

The CDC recommends or urges precaution against yellow fever vaccinations for pregnant women, children under 9 months of age, breastfeeding mothers, and people with certain other medical conditions.  Please refer to the CDC’s website for specific guidance.

Additional information about yellow fever is available from the CDC and the WHO.

For further information about security in Nicaragua:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Nicaragua Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua, located at Km 5 ½ C. Sur Managua, Nicaragua, at 011-505-2252-7100, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The American Citizen Services unit is also available by email during regular business hours, 7:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:15 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Friday, at Managua@state.gov.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).