Every few years, the Federal Government of Nigeria changes the policy of obtaining yellow fever certificates in the country. In the last six years, I’ve owned two yellow card certificates and I am about to get the third one. Two cards in six years don’t seem like that many but when you consider that these cards should last a minimum of 10 years, you realize that it is one too many.
I remember when I got my first card – you know, we always remember our firsts. She was so young and full of sunshine and hope; excited to see the world, excited to experience the menace of Nigerian immigration officers and the condescension of immigration officers abroad.
Sadly, she never got to experience any of these things. Barely two weeks after I had her, the Government had not only declared that she was invalid but had also declared that the vaccines could no longer be given in private hospitals. So, I had to get another card.
That short fan fiction brings us back to the reason for this post. It’s 2019 and Nigerian travellers are required to get a new (e)yellow card. But before I get into details of the process of obtaining one, I’ll like to elaborate more on this card and its importance.
What Exactly is a Yellow Card and Why is it Important?
Yellow (fever) cards or certificates are needed to show proof that you have received a vaccination against the disease. The vaccines are administered in order to prevent an outbreak and to protect travellers that may be exposed to infection in areas where the disease is prevalent.
Countries with Risk of Yellow Fever Transmission
AFRICA – Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.
AMERICAS – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela
There is no treatment or cure for the disease at this time. However, you can prevent infection by preventing against mosquito bites and getting vaccinated.
How and Where to Get the New Yellow Card Certificate in Nigeria (2020)
The steps below details the process of getting the new card;
- Start your online application by logging on to the yellow card Nigeria portal: https://yellowcardnigeria.com/
- Click on the ‘Register’
- Fill in your personal information
- Click “Pay Now” and generate a receipt
- Make a payment of ₦2,000 on the same page (or go to the bank with the RRR code provided) and print the payment confirmation
- Go to the Port Health office with the printed documents and a copy of your passport biodata page
- A vaccine will be administered after your payment has been confirmed.
You would not need to take the vaccine again if you have done so before and it is still valid. When I went to get my second yellow card, I mentioned that I had already been vaccinated, so I wasn’t given another one. I just paid for the card.
Where is the Port Health Office in Lagos Located?
The Port Health office in Lagos is located at Airport Rd, Mafoluku Oshodi, Lagos, right by the toll-gate on your way to the International airport. Look out for a yellow coloured building to your left (before the toll) if you’re coming from Ikeja.
Countries that Require Yellow Fever Vaccination (and Cards) for Entry (2018)
As a rule, my yellow card accompanies my international passport everywhere it goes to. That being said, there are some countries who don’t need proof of vaccination. You can find a list of countries who do here.
From April 1st, 2019, all old yellow cards will become invalid. Personally, I think this would be a source of ruckus and more extortion, especially at the land borders. I can imagine the officials telling you that there is a different charge for ‘new entries.’ It would be a miracle if travels went smoothly after this change.
- If you have taken the vaccine in the past, you don’t need to take it again. Simply go to the Port Health office with the old card and you would be fine.
- Children below 10 years have been immunized at 9 months. There’s no need to take another vaccine or bring them at all.
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers are exempted from taking the vaccine
- Adults above 60 years are also exempted from taking the vaccine
- If you have registered on the website, you will be provided with a RRR code. You can use that code to pay at any bank or through your bank’s mobile/internet banking app.
- Apart from the Port Health office at Ikeja, you can get the vaccine and yellow card at Tincan Island Sea Port, Apapa Sea Port, Idiroko border, Seme border and all Federal Secretariats.
Edit #2: Update March 2020
- Emirates Airlines now requires all international travellers flying from and into Nigeria to have a yellow card certificate
- Read the Nigerian CDC Site FAQ to find out if you are exempted from taking the vaccine
I’d like to hear your thoughts… Have you travelled recently with the new yellow card? Was it easy getting and traveling with one?