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Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

Fairfax, Virginia
Level Contributor
149 posts
80 reviews
Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

We’re going from IAD to GRU on UA, 9 hour layover in GRU, then depart for South Africa on South African Air.

We made the reservation with United and used miles to book our flights. We have 1 locater number.

UA will issue a boarding pass to us for the IAD to GRU segment.

It’s my understanding that we will have to wait until we arrive at GRU to get our SAA boarding pass.

From the GRU airport map, it looks like both UA and SAA are in terminal 3.

Upon arrival at GRU, assume that we’ll have to clear immigration, then collect our luggage, go through customs.

Assume we then proceed with our luggage to the SAA to collect our boarding pass.

To do this, will we have to leave the international terminal at any time?

Forgive me if I seem ignorant, but this is my first trip to Africa so I have some questions & concerns when it comes to the Yellow Fever Vaccine.

My concern is that we have a 9 hour layover at GRU.

Yellow Fever Vaccine is required for entry into South Africa if the transit time in Brazil is 12 hours or greater.

Do you think it’s necessary for me to get a Yellow Fever Vaccine even though I won’t be leaving the GRU airport?

We depart 1 week from now and Yellow Fever Vaccine isn’t readily available.

I’m over 60 years old.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

6 replies to this topic
Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
7 019 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

I would contact SAA... it is their check-in/gate agents at GRU that will decide whether or not you have the required docs to board a plane to South Africa (since you mention that you will have to check-in at their counter at GRU for the flight there),.

you could also see if you are eligible to get an exemption certificate issued in USA given age and very short transit time at GRU... see the U.S. CDC page about that (scroll down to Medical Waivers):

https:/…2849

both United and SAA are located at Terminal 3 at GRU so you dont have to leave that terminal at any time:

https:/…cias-aereas

Edited: 15 May 2018, 20:43
Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
7 019 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

something else... UA and SAA are both Star Alliance members, and, as such, they are usually able to issue boarding passes and check your luggage all the way to final destination at first airport (IAD in your case)...

did you contact UA and get different info in your case?

Belo Horizonte, MG
Level Contributor
573 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

Better to check with UA first. In my experience miles tickets often have different rules - for example non-confirmed seats. If that were the case here (standby in GRU) OP may really need that YF certificate for peace of mind.

Also, I don’t think they go through immigration at GRU and technically never enter Brazil when staying in terminal 3? If they *did* go through immigration they would need a visa for Brazil.

Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
7 019 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

ggg...

if they need to check in again at SAA counter at GRU for flight to South Africa, then they have to go thru immigration, pick up luggage, go thru customs... then go to SAA counter for check in and drop luggage, security, immigration again,,, and finally get to gate,,,

that is why I mentioned contacting UA to see if they would get all boarding passes at IAD and luggage checked thru to final destination... in that case, then it would be the scenario you described: just staying in the intl transit area at T3 and never enter Brazil...

Edited: 15 May 2018, 23:44
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
1 post
186 reviews
5. Re: Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

Could you please share your experience? I have booked a flight for my parents in April to fly ORD-GRU-JNB on United and South African and they will experience just what you did!

Fairfax, Virginia
Level Contributor
149 posts
80 reviews
6. Re: Yellow Fever Vaccine for 9 hr transit at GRU to So Africa?

We stayed in Sao Paulo's Star Alliance lounge for the layover, which was in the same terminal where we arrived from the US and departed for South Africa. Since we never left that specific terminal, there was no need for a Yellow Fever Vaccine for entry into South Africa. Our passport was not stamped in Sao Paulo because we were only transitting the airport. If the passport had been stamped in GRU then a Yellow Fever vaccine would have been necessary. We found the process to be easy and I worried for nothing. What was nice was when we exited the UA flight we followed transit signs and eventually (about 3-5 minute walk), there was a person from South African air directing people bound for SA to NOT go through passport control and advised how to reach the Star Alliance Lounge. As they exit their UA flight, follow signs for transit, & have them look for a SA person. Just make sure not to go through passport control and do not get passport stamped. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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