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Learn About Your Destination


Republic of Zambia
Exercise normal precautions in Zambia.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise normal precautions in Zambia. 

Read the country information page for additional information about travel to Zambia.

If you decide to travel to Zambia: 


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


6 months


3 blank pages per entry for Zambia




Yellow fever, if entering from a yellow fever endemic country





Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Lusaka

Subdivision694/Stand 100 Kabulonga District
Ibex Hill Road
Lusaka, Zambia
+(260) 211-357-000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(260) 211-357-000 or +(260) 966-877-805 or +(260) 761-107-000
Fax: (+260) (0) 211-357-224

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A passport is required to enter Zambia. Passports must be valid for at least six months upon arrival and have at least three blank pages upon each entry. Travelers transiting other countries on the way to Zambia, particularly South Africa, should refer to their Country Information pages for additional blank page requirements. U.S. Passport holders do not require a visa to visit Zambia.

You must carry the original or a certified copy of your passport and immigration permit at all times. Certified copies must be obtained from the office that issued the permit. If your passport is lost or stolen, visit the Zambian Department of Immigration to obtain a replacement entry permit before attempting to depart the country.

Departure Tax/Security Charge: U.S. citizens must pay an airport departure tax in local currency. This tax is included in the cost of international flight tickets. For domestic flights, passengers pay a nominal charge in Zambian kwacha prior to entering the departure hall, only for chartered flights.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Zambia.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Zambia has few major security concerns. Visitors can avoid criminal activity by utilizing common sense measures provided below.

Political activity, especially during national and local elections, can lead to civil unrest and low-level violence. Spontaneous demonstrations occasionally occur and are often exacerbated by police action. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can quickly turn confrontational and escalate into violence. To stay safe, you should:

  • avoid large crowds, demonstrations, and political gatherings
  • follow media coverage of local events
  • be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • exercise caution when traveling throughout the country
  • avoid walking alone in the downtown areas, high-density residential compounds, public parks, and poorly lit areas—especially at night.

Crime: The most commonly reported crimes committed against Westerners in Lusaka are non-violent confrontations characterized as crimes of opportunity (theft of unattended possessions in public places or hotel rooms, confidence scams). Pickpockets operate in crowded markets and on public transportation, and visitors have reported snatch attacks of bags and smartphones on busy city streets as well as smash-and-grabs of valuables from vehicles idling in slow traffic and from parked cars. Other crimes, including thefts, violent attacks, including home invasions/robberies, and sexual assaults have occurred on many occasions. Victims are, on occasion, followed from banks, nightclubs, and ATMs and robbed at gunpoint, on the street, or upon arrival at their residence. Walking alone is not advisable in the downtown areas, high-density residential neighborhoods referred to locally as a “compound”, public parks, and other poorly illuminated areas, especially at night.

Be aware of:

  • Pick-pockets operating in crowded markets and on public transportation;
  • Snatch attacks of bags and smart phones on busy city streets;
  • “Smash and grab” of valuables from vehicles idled in traffic and from parked cars;
  • Thefts, violent attacks, home invasions/robberies; and
  • Recent incidents involving sexual assaults.

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Zambia. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:  

  • Romance/Online dating
  • Money transfers
  • Contracts with promises of large commissions
  • Work permits/job offers

Border Areas: Travelers should not drive off-road or in remote areas near the borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Angola because of the danger of undetected land mines and unexploded ordnance. If you must travel to these areas, you should drive in convoys and carry satellite telephones. Parts of the DRC border area can be plagued with unrest and/or armed criminal elements. See the Country Information pages for the DRC and Angola for additional information.

Victims of Crime:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crime to the local police at 991 or 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (260) 011-357-000 or + (260) 966-050-123.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

The legal age of marriage in Zambia is 16 for boys and girls with parental consent and 21 without consent. The law also prohibits Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) for women and girls and criminalizes rape and other sexual offenses, and courts have discretion to sentence convicted rapists to life imprisonment with hard labor. The law however does not include provisions for spousal rape. The penal code criminalizes domestic violence between spouses and among family members living in the same home. It also provides for prosecution of most crimes of gender-based violence, and penalties for conviction range from a fine to 25 years imprisonment, depending on the severity of injury and whether a weapon was used.  

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities and there are no trauma facilities in the country. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are advised to purchase medical evacuation insurance

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.  

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the U.S. Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Drugs: Possession of small quantities of an illegal substance can constitute drug trafficking in Zambia. A list of controlled substances in Zambia is included in the Local Resources section of the U.S. Embassy Lusaka's webpage. When visiting Zambia, you should consider carrying any prescribed medications in their original bottles with a doctor’s prescription.

Wild Animal Products: It is illegal to purchase tortoise shells, rhino horns, elephant ivory, or any items made out of these materials. Other wildlife products, such as hippo teeth, crocodile teeth or skins, flat skins, horns, or animal bones, should only be purchased from animal product vendors licensed with Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, which provide certification of purchase. Failure to produce a valid and legitimate certificate for these prescribed trophies can result in a five-year minimum prison sentence. Travelers must present the items and certification of purchase in person to Department of National Parks and Wildlife officials within 45 days of departure to obtain an export permit. Permits for items derived from CITES regulated species, such as hippo or crocodile, may take a number of days to obtain, may include additional fees, and may require an import permit from a destination country. Wildlife products with no export permit will be confiscated upon departure and the Government of Zambia will prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law with penalties ranging from large fines to minimum five-year prison sentences. It is illegal to export game meat in any form: dried, processed, or raw.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

 LGBTQI+ Travelers: Zambian law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity and penalties for conviction of engaging in “acts against the order of nature” are 15 years to life imprisonment. The lesser charge of “gross indecency” carries penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment.

LGBTQI+ persons in particular are at risk of societal violence due to prevailing prejudices, misperceptions of the law, lack of legal protections, and inability to access health services.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Zambia prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities, but the law is not effectively enforced. The Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities was created to promote awareness relating to the prevention of disabilities and the care of persons with disabilities; to cooperate with other government ministries in providing preventive, educational, training, employment, and rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities. Cultural attitudes toward disability vary, but in general social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Despite some improvements in largely urban areas, physical accessibility to services remains a pervasive problem across most of Zambia. The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, information, and communication/access to services/ease of movement or access. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure. Contact the US Embassy in Zambia to receive a list of providers.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.


Private medical clinics in major cities provide reasonable care, but major medical emergencies usually require medical evacuation to South Africa, Europe, or the United States. The nearest air ambulances are based in South Africa. Government hospitals and clinics are often understaffed and lack supplies. Basic medical care outside of major cities is extremely limited. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.

For emergency services in Zambia, dial 999 for General Emergency, 991 for Police and 993 for Fire.

 Ambulance services are:

  • not widely available and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
  • not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.
  • not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment.
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance overseas. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check the Dangerous Drugs Act, or consult the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority to ensure the medication is legal in Zambia.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.  Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.

HIV/AIDS: Zambia has a very high burden of HIV. Travelers are generally at low risk for getting HIV but certain practices such as having unprotected sex or sharing needles with people who are or might be infected with HIV can significantly increase the risk of HIV transmission.  For more information on what you can do before and during travel to prevent HIV infection please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

There are shortages of medicine and medical supplies throughout Zambia.

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Zambia.   

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.  

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals here under "local resources." We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Health facilities in general

  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.


  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas.  Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients.  Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.  

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy

  • If you are considering traveling to Zambia to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.

Water Quality

  • In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Adventure Travel

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Vehicle travel is extremely hazardous under normal conditions but particularly at night and in inclement weather.

When traveling in Zambia, please be aware:

  • Secondary roads are not well maintained; use major roads whenever possible.
  • Most roads do not have shoulders or sidewalks and are poorly lit.
  • Pedestrians and livestock use the roadways.
  • Passing another vehicle is dangerous given the general condition of roads.
  • Lookout for tree branches or other debris which local drivers often place behind their cars to indicate a breakdown or trouble.
  • Cars with non-functioning headlights and taillights are a common hazard.
  • Night driving is discouraged.
  • There are no emergency services for stranded or injured drivers.
  • Auto accident victims are vulnerable to theft by those pretending to be helpful.

Traffic Laws:  

  • Vehicles drive on the left side of the road.
  • Vehicles in traffic circles travel clockwise.
  • It is illegal to turn left on a red light.
  • Splashing a pedestrian as you drive through water is a traffic violation.
  • You should come to a stop and pull to the side of the road if you hear sirens indicating an emergency vehicle or official motorcade.
  • Use of seat belts is mandatory, as are helmets for motorcyclists.
  • A child's seat is not mandatory by law but is recommended.
  • It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving and the minimum fine if caught is equivalent to $60.
  • The speed limit in Lusaka is 30 mph/50 km and 60 mph/100 km outside of city limits, unless otherwise indicated.
  • If you are stopped by police and asked to pay a fine, you should obtain an official receipt or be directed to the nearest police station where you can make payment.
  • Drivers under the influence of alcohol who are involved in accidents are tested at Lusaka's University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and then taken to court.

Public Transportation: City traffic is comprised mostly of cars and privately operated minibuses; motorcycles are rare. Some relatively nice buses travel between Lusaka and Livingstone and the Copperbelt. Minibuses serve as the primary means of intra-city travel in Zambia but are often overcrowded, poorly maintained, and seldom punctual.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Zambia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of the Republic of Zambia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Fact Sheet

Please see Fact Sheet for this country/area.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Zambia. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Zambia. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: January 19, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Lusaka
Subdivision694/Stand 100 Kabulonga
Ibex Hill Road
Lusaka, Zambia
+(260) 211-357-000
+(260) 211-357-000 or +(260) 966-050-123 or +(260) 761-107-000
(+260) (0) 211-357-224

Zambia Map