International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)
International Health Regulations (IHR) allow countries to require arriving travelers1 to provide proof of vaccination against certain diseases. The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), also referred to as the “yellow card,” is the official, internationally recognized document that travelers use to document proof of vaccination for diseases included under the IHR.
Currently, vaccination against yellow fever, and in some instances, polio, must be documented using the ICVP. Travelers should check CDC’s webpage for their destination to learn if vaccination is required before entry.
There are currently no requirements to use the ICVP to document vaccination(s) against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Yellow Fever Vaccine
Some countries require all travelers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before entering the country. Other countries require proof of vaccination from travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever virus exposure; for people visiting multiple countries, the order of travel may be important. Travelers should check CDC’s webpage for their destination to learn if yellow fever vaccination is required or recommended before entry.
Yellow fever vaccination (travel) clinics administer yellow fever vaccine and issue ICVPs to vaccine recipients. The ICVP must be validated with the Uniform Stamp of the center where the vaccine was given. CDC does not issue ICVPs.
ICVPs are valid beginning 10 days after the date of vaccination. Travelers who do not provide a valid ICVP may be denied entry, quarantined, or asked to get revaccinated at the point of entry to a country.
Travelers who received the yellow fever vaccination after December 15, 2007, must provide proof of vaccination on the new ICVP. If a person received the vaccine before December 15, 2007, their original ICVP card is still valid as proof of vaccination against yellow fever.
For more information, visit the CDC Yellow Book chapter: Yellow Fever.
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)
Travelers should check CDC’s webpage for their destination to learn if polio vaccination is recommended before entry. Even previously vaccinated travelers might need a one-time booster shot before traveling to countries with a risk of infection with polio virus. Travelers visiting a country with a high risk for polio may be required to show proof of vaccination against polio on their ICVP when departing that country.
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MenACWY)
Some countries require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against meningococcal disease. Some people who received a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine might need a booster shot. It takes 7–10 days after a person has been vaccinated before they have maximum protection against the disease.
Travelers aged 2 years or older visiting Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah are required to submit proof of vaccination against meningococcal disease administered no less than 10 days and no more than 5 years (or 3 years for polysaccharide vaccine) before their arrival. This proof of vaccination can be documented on an ICVP, but can also be documented elsewhere. For more information, visit CDC’s Yellow Book chapters: Meningococcal Disease and Saudi Arabia: Hajj/Umrah Pilgrimage.
For all required vaccines
(1) Print the traveler’s name exactly as it appears on their passport.
(2), (5), (7) Enter all dates as shown: day (in numerals), month (in letters), year. In the example above, the traveler’s date of birth is correctly entered as 22 March 1960. Do not use DD/MM/YY or MM/DD/YY format.
(3) This space is reserved for the traveler’s signature.
(4) Write the name of the vaccine (yellow fever, polio, meningococcal) in this space. Other vaccinations can be listed on the other side of the ICVP card.
(5) Enter the date of vaccine administration, as shown.
(6) This space is reserved for the clinician’s handwritten signature. A signature stamp is not acceptable.
For Yellow Fever Vaccine
(4) Print “Yellow Fever” in both spaces.
(6) The clinician signing the ICVP can be the yellow fever vaccine Uniform Stamp owner, or another healthcare provider authorized by the stamp owner to administer or supervise the vaccine administration.
(7) The certificate of yellow fever vaccination is valid beginning 10 days after the date of primary vaccination. Add that date to this box along with the suggested wording “life of person vaccinated,” as shown.
(8) Imprint the Uniform Stamp of the vaccinating center in this box.
For Polio Vaccine
(4) Print “Polio” (or “Poliomyelitis”) in both spaces and the specific vaccine that the traveler received in the box.
(6) The clinician administering the polio vaccine should sign their name and indicate their professional status. If transcribing the record of a polio vaccine administered by another clinician in the past 12 months, the transcribing clinician should clearly record the administering clinician’s name and professional status and sign their own name.
(7) The certificate of polio vaccination is valid from the date of vaccination for 1 year.
For Meningococcal Vaccine
(4) Print “Meningococcal” in both spaces and the specific vaccine that the traveler received in the box.
(6) The clinician administering the meningococcal vaccine should sign their name and include their professional status. If transcribing the record of a meningococcal vaccine administered by another clinician in the past 5 years (3 years for polysaccharide vaccine), the transcribing clinician should clearly record the administering clinician’s name and professional status and sign their own name.
(7) For Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, the vaccine must have been administered between 10 days to 5 years (3 years for polysaccharide vaccine) before arrival to Saudi Arabia.
Clinicians may reissue a replacement ICVP to the traveler if they can confirm that the traveler’s vaccine information is accurate.
For All Vaccines
In addition to following all directions in the How to Fill Out an ICVP section, follow these steps to ensure certain sections of the replacement ICVP are correctly filled out
- Date: Enter the date of the original vaccination, not the date of reissuance.
- Signature and professional status of supervising clinician: The clinician who has confirmed the traveler’s information and is reissuing the ICVP should sign.
- Manufacturer and batch no. of vaccine or prophylaxis: Print manufacturer name and lot number.
- For Yellow Fever Vaccine Only: Official stamp of the administering center: The Uniform Stamp of the vaccinating center reissuing the ICVP card should appear in this box.
For international travelers with a medical contraindication to a required vaccine, it is up to the discretion of the clinician to provide them with a medical waiver. Advise the traveler that the destination country might not accept a medical waiver. Acceptance of the medical waiver is at the discretion of the destination country.
To improve the likelihood that border officials at a travelers’ destination will accept a medical waiver and approve entry, travelers should
- Obtain specific and authoritative advice from the embassy or consulate of the destination country or countries.
- Request documentation of requirements for waivers from embassies or consulates and present these, along with the completed Medical Contraindication to Vaccination section of the ICVP.
How to Fill Out an Exemption (Medical Waiver)
Complete and sign the “Medical Contraindications to Vaccination” section of the ICVP. Reasons other than medical contraindications are not acceptable for exemption from vaccination. Yellow fever vaccine providers should validate medical exemptions to yellow fever vaccine using the Uniform Stamp of the yellow fever vaccination center.
Clinicians should also provide the traveler with a signed and dated exemption letter on letterhead stationery, clearly stating the contraindications to vaccination (e.g., age, diagnosis of an immunocompromising condition, allergic reaction). For medical contraindications to yellow fever vaccine, include on the exemption letter an imprint of the Uniform Stamp used by the yellow fever vaccination center to validate the ICVP.
Yellow fever vaccine is contraindicated for people with certain underlying health conditions because of the increased risk for serious adverse events. Visit CDC’s Yellow Book chapter: Yellow Fever or the Yellow Fever Vaccine Recommendations webpage.
Do not administer IPV to people who have experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of IPV or a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine. For moderately or severely ill people, delay vaccine administration until they recover. Visit the CDC Yellow Book chapter: Polio or the Polio Vaccination webpage for more information on who should not get the polio vaccination.
MenACWY vaccines should not be administered to people who have experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of the meningococcal vaccine or a severe allergy to any part of the vaccine. Pregnant people and people who are moderately or severely ill should talk with their healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine. Visit the CDC Yellow Book chapter: Meningococcal Disease or the Meningococcal Vaccine webpage for more information on who should not get the meningococcal vaccine.
ICVPs are available for purchase from the Government Printing Office bookstore. Individual copies are not available. To order, please visit U.S. Government Bookstore or call toll-free (866) 512-1800. Packages of 25 are available for $25 for the United States and $35 for international. Delivery time for orders varies based on shipping options. To have orders mailed via a shipping service, please place your order by phone.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, sells a version of the ICVP. Please visit the WHO Bookstore. Shipping may take a week or more.