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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for New Caledonia

New Caledonia - Consular Information Sheet
April 10, 2000

DESCRIPTION: New Caledonia is a French overseas territory, consisting of the large island of New Caledonia and several smaller island groups, located in the South Pacific near Australia. New Caledonia's moderately-developed economy is based on mining. Tourist facilities are concentrated on the island of New Caledonia, but are also available in some of the smaller island groups. The French Government Tourism Office, which has a wide range of information available to travelers, can be contacted by telephone at (212) 838-7800. Travelers may also visit the web site of the New Caledonia Tourism Office at http://www.newcaledonia.org.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Visas are not required for stays of up to one month. For more information about entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of France at 4101 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 944-6000. This is particularly true for those persons planning to enter by sea.

CRIME INFORMATION: The crime rate in New Caledonia is low; however, petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching 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 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 or 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: Medical treatment on the main island is generally good, but is more limited on the remote outer islands. The Centre Hospitalier Territorial in Nouméa provides emergency and outpatient services, as does the smaller Centre Hospitalier Territorial in Koumac on the other side of the main island. Medical services in the remainder of the country are limited. Patients with more serious illnesses are often referred to Nouméa or to Australia for treatment. In a case involving medical treatment, the Australian visa authorities will require a referral from a local doctor, proof of acceptance by an Australian doctor, and proof of the patient's ability to pay for the medical treatment. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. 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. Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provisions for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital of 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.

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 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 New Caledonia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Urban Areas Only

Roads are generally well maintained except in remote areas. Animals and unwary pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous. To obtain information on the rental and operation of motor vehicles in New Caledonia, contact the New Caledonia Tourism Office at http://www.newcaledonia.org/ and go to the e-mail address provided for specific inquiries.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: Civil aviation operations in New Caledonia fall under the jurisdiction of French authorities. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of France’s civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of France’s air carrier operations. 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 DOD at (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from New Caledonia of items such as agricultural products. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of France in Washington or one of France’s consulates in the United States 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 for similar offenses in the United States. Persons violating New Caledonia’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Criminal penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect 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. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to request that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji be notified.

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: There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in New Caledonia. U.S. citizens living in or visiting New Caledonia are encouraged to register in person or via telephone with the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, whose consular district includes the French overseas territory of New Caledonia. Given the distance between Fiji and New Caledonia, the U.S. Embassy's ability to provide on-the-spot services is limited. The U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street, Suva, Fiji; telephone (679) 314-466; fax (679) 300-081. Updated information on travel and security in New Caledonia is available from the U.S. Embassy in Suva or via the U.S. Embassy home page at http://www.amembassy-fiji.gov.

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