Maldives - Consular Information Sheet
February 22, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Maldives consists
of 1,200 islands southwest of Sri Lanka, off the southern tip
of India. The Maldives has a population of 270,000, of which about
70,000 reside in Male, the capital city and site of the only international
airport. Facilities for tourism are well developed on the resort
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid
passport is required. Tourist visas valid for 30 days are issued
upon arrival at no charge. Visitors must have proof of onward/return
transportation and sufficient funds. Requests for extensions of
stay up to 90 days may be approved with evidence of sufficient
funds. A fee of $10.00 must be paid upon departure. For further
information, travelers can contact the Maldivian High Commission
in Sri Lanka at No. 23, Kaviratne Place, Colombo 6, telephone
(94) (1) 586-762/500-943, or the Maldivian Mission to the U.N.
in New York, telephone (212) 599-6195.
CRIME: The Maldives has a low crime rate, but thefts of
valuables left unattended on beaches or in hotels do 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 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: The Maldives has limited medical facilities.
Some medicines are not available. The capital has two hospitals,
one private and one government owned.
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. Credit cards are accepted only at certain
clinics and at the private hospital in Male. Uninsured travelers
who require medical care may face extreme difficulties.
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
or elsewhere can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses 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: 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 by visiting the CDC's Internet home 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 the Republic of Maldives is provided for general
reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular
location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural road conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Only a few of the islands are big enough to support automobiles.
Most transportation in the Maldives is by boat or seaplane. The
Maldives has good safety standards for land, sea, and air travel.
Roads in Male and on the airport island are brick and generally
well maintained. Dirt roads on resort islands are well kept by
the resorts. Transportation on the small island on which the capital,
Male, is situated is either on foot or by readily available taxis.
Transportation between the airport and Male, as well as to nearby
resort islands, is by motorized water taxis and speedboat. Several
local companies provide seaplane and helicopter service to outlying
islands. Air taxis stop flying one hour before sunset. Visitors
to distant resorts arriving in the country at night can expect
to stay overnight at a hotel in Male or at the airport hotel and
should confirm transfer arrangements in advance.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information
concerning Maldivian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road
tax and mandatory insurance, contact the
Maldivian National Tourist Organization Office in Male via
the Internet at http://www.visitmaldives.com.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service at present, or economic authority to operate such
service, between the U.S. and the Republic of Maldives, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Maldives'
civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873 or visit the
FAA Internet home page 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 Pentagon at 1-618-229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Maldivian customs authorities prohibit
the importation of non-Islamic religious materials, including
religious statues. Personal Bibles are permitted. Pornographic
materials are banned, as are arms and ammunition, alcohol and
spirits, and live pigs. The importation of pork and pork by-products
is restricted. Dogs are not permitted, but visitors may bring
their cats. (Many hotels and resorts do not allow pets; travelers
should confirm a particular hotel's policy prior to departure.)
Offenders of customs regulations may face jail sentences, deportation
and/or heavy fines. It is advisable to contact the Maldivian Mission
to the UN in New York (See
Entry/Exit Requirements section above.) 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 those in the United States for similar offenses. Persons
violating Maldivian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking
in illegal drugs are strictly enforced in the Maldives. Convicted
offenders can expect jail sentences, deportation, and/or heavy
fines. It is illegal to bring alcohol into the Maldives. Alcoholic
beverages are legally available for retail sale to tourists on
Religious Laws: Public observance of any religion other
than Islam is prohibited. Religious gatherings such as Bible study
groups are prohibited; however, a family unit may practice its
religion, including Bible readings, within its residence. Offenders
may face jail sentences, expulsion and/or fines.
In 1998 several non-Maldivian families resident in the Maldives,
including some Americans, were expelled for allegedly engaging
in religious proselytizing. Although Maldivian law prohibits importing
"idols for religious worship," tourists going to the
resort islands are generally allowed to bring in items and texts
used for personal religious observances. Refer to the Customs
Regulations section above for other restrictions.
Currency: Credit cards are not widely accepted outside
large hotels and resorts; cash payment in dollars is accepted
at most retail shops and restaurants and by taxi drivers.
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
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: There is no U.S. Embassy
in Republic of Maldives, but the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka
is also accredited to the Maldives. The former U.S. Consular Agency
in Male closed on August 9, 1995. Americans living in or visiting
the Maldives are encouraged to register at the
Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka and to obtain
updated information on travel and security within the Republic
of Maldives. The U.S. Embassy is located at 210 Galle Road, Colombo
3, Sri Lanka. The Embassy's telephone number during normal business
hours Monday through Friday is (94) (1) 448-007. The Embassy's
after-hours and emergency telephone number is (94)(1) 447-035.
The Consular Section fax number is (94)(1) 436-943. The Internet
address is http://usembassy.state.gov/srilanka/wwwhcon.html.