Fiji - Consular Information Sheet
April 10, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Fiji is a South Pacific island nation
consisting of over 800 islands and islets, of which approximately
100 are inhabited. Fiji is a democratic republic based on the
parliamentary system with elections every five years. In May 1999,
there was a peaceful transition to the newly elected government.
Fiji has a developing economy, and tourist facilities are available.
The capital is Suva. The Fiji Visitors Bureau, which has a wide
range of information of interest to travelers, can be contacted
via the Internet at http://www.bulafiji.com.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Proof of sufficient funds, an
onward/return ticket, and a passport valid for at least three
months beyond the date of departure from Fiji are required for
entry to Fiji. A visa is not required for tourist stays up to
six months. Yachts wishing to call at the Lau group of islands
need special permission granted at the first port of entry into
Fiji. Fiji collects a departure tax, payable in local currency.
For more information about entry/exit requirements, travelers
may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji, 2233 Wisconsin
Avenue, N.W., No. 240, Washington, D.C., 20007; telephone (202)
337-8320, or the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York.
This is particularly important for travelers planning to enter
Fiji by sailing vessel.
SAFETY/SECURITY: Terrain in the Fiji islands can be hazardous.
Please consult with local guides and/or your place of lodging
before undertaking a trek. Americans are also advised to hike
with a companion and not to stray from marked or well-worn paths.
CRIME INFORMATION: Travelers should protect their valuables
and be aware that theft from hotel rooms and purse-snatching in
the cities are the most common crimes against tourists. Americans
not familiar with their environs should make inquiries of hotel
staff for any areas to avoid at night. The loss or theft abroad
of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local
police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens
may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more 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.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Health care facilities in Fiji are
barely adequate for routine medical problems. Two major hospitals,
the Lautoka Hospital in the city of Lautoka, and the Colonial
War Memorial Hospital in Suva, the capital, provide emergency
and outpatient services. Other hospitals and clinics provide only
a limited range of health services. Medical emergencies may be
referred to Australia, New Zealand or the United States. Serious
medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation
to the United States or elsewhere can cost thousands of dollars
or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas
may face extreme difficulties. Please check with your own insurance
company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including
provisions for medical evacuation. Please ascertain whether payment
will be made to the overseas hospital of doctor or whether 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's Bureau of Consular Affairs
brochure Medical Information for Americans
Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control Prevention's hotline for international travelers
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299),
and or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
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 Fiji is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Very Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Very Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Not Available
Traffic moves on the left in Fiji. While most roads in urban
areas are paved, roads outside the city frequently are not. Stray
animals, unwary pedestrians, and potholes make driving dangerous
and particularly hazardous at night.
For specific information concerning operation and rental of motor
vehicles in Fiji, please contact the Fiji Visitors Bureau at http://www.bulafiji.com.
AVIATION OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Fiji's Civil Aviation Authority
as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of Fiji Air carrier operations. For further
information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873 or visit the FAA's Internet
web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
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: Fiji's customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into Fiji
of items such as alcohol and tobacco products. It is advisable
to contact the Embassy of Fiji in Washington, D.C. at tel. (202)
337-8320 for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Pets arriving directly from the U.S. require a 3-month quarantine.
This requirement applies to pets arriving on yachts as well.
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. A person violating
Fiji's law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Fiji are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe
jail sentences and fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: 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. According to Fijian law, a criminal detainee
may be held for a maximum of 48 hours before charges are brought.
INTERPOL normally advises the U.S. Embassy of the detention or
arrest within 24 hours of the incident. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens
who are detained are encouraged to request that a consular officer
at the U.S. Embassy in Suva be notified.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Fiji is located in an area of high
seismic activity. Although the probability of a major earthquake
occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can
and will continue to happen. General information regarding disaster
preparedness is available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/crisismg.html,
and from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home
page at http://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 (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged
to register at the U.S. Embassy in Suva. The Embassy will also
be able to provide updated information on travel and security
in Fiji. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street
in the capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 314-466,
and the fax number is (679) 302-267.