Rwanda Updates COVID-19 Protocol for International Travelers

Effective immediately, all international travelers arriving in Rwanda need to quarantine at designated hotels while waiting for airport-administered PCR test results, regardless of vaccination status. Also effective immediately, all travel between Rwanda and Southern African countries has been banned; the countries subject to this ban are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These changes to Rwanda’s COVID-19 protocol come amid the Omicron variant’s spread.

All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must arrive in Rwanda with a negative COVID-19 certificate from a test performed within 72 hours prior to departure for Rwanda. The only test accepted is the SARS-CoV2 Real Time Polymerase (RT-PCR). Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDTs) are not accepted. Additionally, all travelers must take another PCR test upon arrival in Rwanda at the Kigali International Airport, even if they are fully vaccinated. Other COVID-19 safety protocols also remain in place throughout the country. 

The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa but it has already popped up in countries in Europe and Asia. According to our sister publication Travel Agent, the South Africa foreign ministry criticized the travel bans, saying, “excellent science should be applauded and not punished.”

In addition to the aforementioned efforts to mitigate any risk of increased spread due to the Omicron variant, the Rwanda Development Board has also announced that as of November 30, booster doses of the vaccine will be administered to citizens aged 50 and above as well as those with health complications. 

For more information on the COVID-19 protocol for travelers arriving in Rwanda, visit

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