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Travel Security Advice for Tonga

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tonga_mapTonga_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:  

Tonga is a South Pacific island nation consisting of 171 islands, of which 45 are inhabited. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy and a member of the British Commonwealth. Its agrarian economy is developing and its tourist industry, although limited, is growing. Tourist facilities are concentrated in and around the main island of Tongatapu where the capital, Nuku’alofa, is located. The Tongan Tourist Bureau has a wide range of information of interest to travelers. The web site is http://www.tongaholiday.com/Read the Department of State Background Notes on Tonga for additional information.

Registration:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Tonga are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State travel registration page, so that they can obtain updated information on local travel and security. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. 

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A passport and an onward/return ticket are required. Visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days. Tonga collects a departure tax. For further information about entry requirements, travelers, particularly those planning to enter by sea, may wish to contact the Consulate General of Tonga at 360 Post Street, Suite 604, San Francisco, California 94108; telephone 415-781-0365. 

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

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Threats and Safety and Security:

An organized movement for political reform exists in Tonga. Protests in November 2006 became violent, resulting in fires that destroyed much of the downtown area of Nuku’alofa. American citizens are advised to avoid large public gatherings and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations, as they could turn violent at any time. 

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs' website.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.

Crime: 

Although the crime rate in Tonga is low compared to crime rates in the U.S. and most European countries, petty crime and theft do take place. Though rare, crimes against persons occur as well. Visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Victims of Crime 

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State list of embassies and consulates). This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The Tonga equivalent numbers to the U.S. “911” emergency line are: 911, which connects to the Tonga Telecommunications emergency operators; 922, which connects directly to the police; and 933, which connects directly to the hospital. Americans requiring immediate emergency services in Tonga should call one of these emergency contact numbers. 

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Special Circumstances: Tonga’s customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Tonga of items such as firearms, explosives, motor vehicles, eggs and certain types of alcohol. It is advisable to contact the Consulate General of Tonga in San Francisco for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our Customs Information.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and proof of U.S. citizenship are readily available. U.S. citizens who are detained are encouraged to request that a consular officer from the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, be notified.

The cyclone season is November through April. The Fiji Meteorological Service maintains a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC) in Nadi serving the Southwest Pacific Region. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available at the State Department’s website, as well as from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical facilities in Tonga are extremely limited. The cities of Nuku'alofa and Neiafu have hospitals with limited emergency and outpatient facilities. Local residents and visitors with serious medical problems are often referred to New Zealand for treatment. For additional information on medical visas for New Zealand, contact the Embassy of New Zealand, 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008, (202) 328-4800 or the Consulate General in Los Angeles (310) 207-1605. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad. Important questions are whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Tonga is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

No roadside assistance is available. Traffic moves on the left in Tonga. While roads in Nuku’alofa are paved, most other roads are not. Animals and unwary pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous. For specific information concerning Tonga driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Consulate General of Tonga in San Francisco.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight :

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Tonga’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Tonga’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction

Embassy Location:

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State list of embassies and consulates.

There is no U.S. embassy or other U.S. diplomatic or consular post in Tonga. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Tonga. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji’s capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 331-4466; the fax number is (679) 330-2267. 

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Tonga dated January 27, 2009, without substantive changes.


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Tonga HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens).........

There is also a Malaria Warning for Tonga provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HERE.......

Regards

The SW Team........

 

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