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Travel Security Advice for Vanuatu

Vanuatu_National_Flag

vanuatu_mapVanuatu_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:  

Vanuatu consists of more than 80 islands in a Y-shaped archipelago, 1300 miles northeast of Sydney, Australia.  It is an independent parliamentary democracy and a member of the British Commonwealth, with a primarily agricultural economy.  Tourist facilities are limited outside the capital, Port Vila, which is located on the Island of Efate.  The  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  can be contacted at PO Box 209, Port Vila, Vanuatu, telephone (678) 22515, 22685, 22813, fax (678) 23889.  Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Vanuatu for additional information.



REGISTRATION:  

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Vanuatu are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby through the Department of State's travel registration page, in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the Embassy.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. 



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: 

A valid passport, onward/return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds are required.  Visas are not required for stays up to 30 days after which an extension of stay of up to 120 days is possible.  For further information on entry requirements, particularly for those persons planning to enter by a sailing vessel, please visit the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations website, 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B, New York, NY 10017, Telephone: (212) 661-4303; fax: (212) 422-3427, (212) 661-5544, or they may be contacted via  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Travelers who plan to transit or visit Australia must enter that country with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows eligible travelers a stay of up to three months in Australia. An ETA may be obtained for a small service fee at http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to issue ETA’s.  Travelers may obtain more information about the ETA and Australian entry requirements from the Australian Embassy at 1601 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036, tel. (202) 797-3000, or via the Australian Embassy’s web site at http://www.austemb.org/.

The Government of Vanuatu does not impose any entry restrictions for persons with the HIV/AIDS virus, as long as they include the information on the arrival form.

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



THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:  

Civil disorder is rare; however, U.S. citizens are advised to avoid public demonstrations and/or political rallies if they occur.  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 violent crime is rare in Vanuatu, the level of criminal activity has increased during the past year. Typical crimes in Vanuatu are theft, burglary and sexual harassment/assault. Tourists should take reasonable precautions to avoid exposing themselves to undue risk, especially in Luganville (Espiritu Santo island), Lakatoro (Malekula island), and Lenakel (Tanna island).  Women have sometimes been victims of sexual assault or harassment in Vanuatu; women, therefore, should not travel alone.

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 U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State's 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 may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are 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 local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Vanuatu is 112.

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 in the United States for similar offenses.  Persons violating Vanuatu’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Vanuatu are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.   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:  

Vanuatu and Australian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Vanuatu of items such as firearms, certain prescription drugs, wooden artifacts, exotic animals, food, and sexually explicit material.  Other products may be subject to quarantine.  For specific information regarding customs requirements, it is advisable to contact the  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B, New York, NY 10017, Telephone: (212) 661-4303; fax: (212) 422-3427, (212) 661-5544 as well as the Australian Embassy.

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 U.S. citizenship are readily available

Natural Disasters: 

Vanuatu is prone to sudden tidal movements, tropical storms, and cyclones.  The Pacific cyclone season lasts from November through April.  Local media and hotels will convey cyclone alerts issued by local authorities, as well as detailed weather information published by the Naval Maritime Forecast Center/Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the Météo-France in New Caledonia, and the Fiji Meteorological Service

Volcanoes/Earthquakes:

Vanuatu is situated in an active seismic zone, and is therefore prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which sometimes may be followed by tsunamis.  The risk level of Vanuatu’s many active volcanoes can change on a daily basis.  Travelers to volcanic areas can contact the Department of Geology and Mines at 22423 to obtain information about the activity of a volcano, and should also contact the Vanuatu Tourism Office prior to traveling to areas where volcanic activity may occur.  Detailed information about earthquakes is available from the National Earthquake Information Center of the United States Geological Survey at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/neic/ If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency  (FEMA) and from the Naval Oceanography portal.



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: 

Medical facilities are limited.  The nearest reliable medical treatment is in Australia or New Zealand.  There are two hyperbaric recompression chambers in Vanuatu; one is in Luganville, on Espiritu Santo Island, and the other is in Port Vila, on Efate Island.  Please note, however, that diving-related injuries may require medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand.  There is a paramedic service in Vanuatu called ProMedical, which is manned by Australian and New Zealand personnel and also handles any medical evacuations.  Serious injuries requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States or elsewhere can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for their services. 

Pharmacies in Vanuatu are found only in urban centers and at missionary clinics.  They are small and may be inadequately stocked.  Travelers should bring adequate supplies of medications for their stay in Vanuatu. 

Travelers who anticipate the possible need for medical treatment in Australia should obtain entry permission for Australia in advance.  Entry permission for Australian can be granted by the Australian High Commission in Port Vila, but it may be easier to obtain a visa or ETA prior to leaving the United States (See section above on Entry/Exit Requirements).

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

MEDICAL INSURANCE: 

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether their 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 Vanuatu is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Vehicular traffic in Vanuatu moves on the right.  Travel on highways outside of major towns can be hazardous.  Drivers and passengers are advised to wear seatbelts.  There is no country-wide road network; roads are generally in poor repair.  Because Vanuatu is a chain of islands and atolls, most long-distance travel is by air or sea.  Only the capital city of Port Vila (on Efate Island) and the town of Luganville (on Espiritu Santo Island) have consistently paved roads, which have a maximum speed limit of 50 kilometers per hour.  These paved roads can be quite narrow in spots; drivers should take care, especially at night or along unfamiliar routes.  The roads in all other areas are mostly unpaved or dirt tracks.  Drivers on all roads should give way to traffic coming from the right, and to traffic coming from the left at round-abouts.  Travelers must take care when driving off main roads to avoid trespassing on communal land.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  For specific information concerning Vanuatu driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the National Tourism Office of Vanuatu or the  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: 

As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Vanuatu, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Vanuatu’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA's 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:   

The U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea 

provides primary assistance for U.S. citizens in Vanuatu.  The Embassy is located on Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea, in Port Moresby.  The address for express/courier mail service is: U.S. Embassy, Douglas St., next to Bank of PNG, Port Moresby, NCD 121.  The mailing address is Douglas St., PO Box 1492, Port Moresby, N.C.D. 121, Papua New Guinea; the telephone number is (675) 321-1455; after hours duty officer telephone number is (675) - 689-6109; Fax (675) 321-1593.  American citizens may submit  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Vanuatu dated February 10, 2009, without substantive changes.


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

There is a Malaria Warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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)........

Regards

The SW Team........... 

 

Direct Gov Travel News and Alerts