U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
Consular Information Sheet
This information is current as of today, Fri May 14 11:18:02 2004.
March 2, 2004
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Vanuatu consists of 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.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and an onward/return ticket are required. Visas are not required for stays up to 30 days. For further information on entry requirements, particularly those planning to enter by sailing vessel, please contact the Vanuatu Mission to the United Nations at 42 Broadway, Suite 1200 - 18, New York, NY 10004, tel. (212) 425-9600, fax (212) 422-3427. The National Tourism Office of Vanuatu can be contacted at P.O. Box 209, Port Vila, Vanuatu, tel. (678) 22515/22685/22813, fax (678) 23889, e-mail: email@example.com
Travelers who plan to transit or visit Australia are advised to obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or visa for Australia before leaving the United States. The ETA is available to eligible U.S. citizens at time of ticket purchase through travel agents and airlines. More information about the ETA and Australian entry requirements may be obtained from the Australian Embassy at 1601 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, tel. (202) 797-3000, or via the Australian Embassy home page on the Internet at www.austemb.org
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Civil disorder is rare; however, U.S. citizens are advised to avoid public demonstrations and/or political rallies if and when they occur.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov
where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.
CRIME: Although violent crime is rare in Vanuatu, petty theft does occur. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy, which is located in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. If you are the victim of a crime while in Vanuatu, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to 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.
U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov
, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are limited. The nearest reliable medical treatment is in Australia or New Zealand. There is a hyperbaric recompression chamber in Luganville, on Espiritu Santo Island ; however, diving-related injuries may require medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand. Malaria is prevalent in some areas. 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.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at www.cdc.gov
. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en
. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith
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 it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good to Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Not available
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 paved roads, which have a 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 unpaved or dirt tracks. Drivers on all roads should give way to traffic coming from the right. Travelers must take care when driving off main roads to avoid trespassing on communal land.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html
. For specific information concerning Vanuatu driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the National Tourism Office of Vanuatu or the Vanuatu Mission to the United Nations.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the United States and Vanuatu, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Vanuatu 's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Vanuatu customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation of items such as firearms, sexually explicit material and certain prescription medications. It is advisable to contact the Vanuatu Mission to the United Nations for specific information regarding customs requirements.
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 laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Vanuatu are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Vanuatu is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sudden tidal movements, tropical storms and cyclones. The Pacific cyclone season lasts from November through March. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at www.fema.gov
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. Federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Vanuatu. Americans living in or visiting Vanuatu are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and obtain updated information on travel and security within Vanuatu. The U.S. Embassy is located on Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea. This address should be used for courier deliveries. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1492, Port Moresby, NCD 121, Papua New Guinea ; tel. (675)321-1455; fax (675) 321-1593; e-mail ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated April 21, 2003, to update sections on Safety and Security and Other Health Issues.
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