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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet

Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Kiribati

Kiribati - Consular Information Sheet
September 8, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Kiribati (pronounced kir-ree-bas) is an island group in the Western Pacific Ocean, consisting of an archipelago of some 30 low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs with a total land area of 800 square kilometers. Kiribati gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Kiribati has an elected President and a legislative assembly. The capital of Kiribati is Tarawa. Kiribati includes three administrative units, sixteen atolls of the former Gilbert Islands, eight atolls of the former Line Islands (including Christmas Island and Fanning Island), and eight atolls of the former Phoenix Islands. Kiribati has few natural resources, and its economy is very small. The islands are not self-sufficient in food. Tourist facilities are not widely available.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and visa are required. Visa requirements include one application form, two photos and a fee. There is no Embassy of Kiribati in the United States. For information on entry requirements, please contact the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati, Suite 503, 850 Richards Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, telephone (808) 529-7703; fax (808)521-8304. For visa or other information, travelers may consult the Consular Section of the nearest British embassy or consulate. The British Embassy in the United States is located at 3100 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008. The telephone number is (202) 588-7800.

CRIME INFORMATION: The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, which is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 or via the Internet at http://www.access.gop.gov/su_docs.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Health facilities in the Republic of Kiribati are not comparable to U.S. health standards.

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. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. 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 provision for medical evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or 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 home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: All water should be regarded as a potential health risk. Visitors should therefore refrain from drinking any water that is not bottled, boiled or otherwise sterilized. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit should be peeled before eating.

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 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 the Kiribati 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: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Traffic moves on the left side of the road. Roads in urban Tarawa and Christmas Island, while satisfactory in some areas, are generally in need of repair. After heavy rains, some road sections experience temporary flooding. Vehicle traffic proceeds at a relatively slow rate. Drinking and driving is a common practice, especially on the weekends. Since visibility is poor with no streetlights, drivers should be careful when driving at night.

For specific information concerning Kiribati driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati, 850 Richards Street, Suite 503, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel. (808) 529-7703, fax (808) 521-8304.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the U.S. and Kiribati, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Kiribati's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.

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: The Republic of Kiribati's customs authorities strictly prohibit the importation of firearms, ammunition, explosives and indecent publications. Strict quarantine laws govern the import of any part of plants, fruits, vegetables, soil, as well as animals and animal products. Visitors are not allowed to export human remains, artifacts that are 30 or more years old, traditional fighting swords, traditional tools, dancing ornaments or suits of armor. For more information, please contact the British Embassy.

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 the U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Kiribati's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Kiribati are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: In Kiribati, the Australian dollar is the legal currency. Travelers' checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most hotels.

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/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Kiribati are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, whose consular district includes the Republic of Kiribati. U.S. citizens may also obtain updated information on travel and security within Kiribati from the Embassy. Officers of the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands, are concurrently accredited to Kiribati and make periodic visits. The U.S. Embassy does not have a street address in Majuro. The Embassy is located on the ocean-side of the island's road, near the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and Gibson's Express, "Long Island." The U.S. Embassy's mailing address is P.O. Box 1379, Majuro, MH 96960-1379. The telephone number is (692) 247-4011. The fax number is (692) 247-4012.



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