Tonga - Consular Information Sheet
April 18, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Tonga is a stable constitutional
monarchy and a member of the British Commonwealth. Its agrarian
economy is developing and its tourist industry, although limited,
is growing. Tourist facilities are concentrated in and around
the main island of Tongatupu where the capital, Nuku’alofa, is
located. The Tongan Tourist Bureau, which has a wide range of
information of interest to travelers, can be contacted at http://www.vacations.tvb.gov.to.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and onward/return
ticket are required. Visas are not required for stays up to 30
days. Tonga collects a departure tax. For further information
about entry requirements, travelers, particularly those
planning to enter by sea, may wish to contact the Consulate General
of Tonga at 360 Post Street, Suite 604, San Francisco, California
94108; telephone 415-781-0365.
CRIME INFORMATION: The crime rate in Tonga is low. 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
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 Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Tonga are limited.
The cities of Nuku'alofa and Neiafu have hospitals with emergency
and outpatient facilities. Local residents and visitors with serious
medical problems are often referred to New Zealand for treatment.
Travelers may also wish to consider obtaining information regarding
entry requirements for New Zealand from the Embassy of New Zealand
in Washington, D.C., at tel. 202-328-4800. Serious medical conditions
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 provision
for medical evacuation. 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 Consular Affairs homepage
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 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 Tonga is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic moves on the left in Tonga. While roads in Nuku’alofa
are paved, most other roads are not. Animals and unwary pedestrians
walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: None available
For referral to further information concerning the rental and
operation of motor vehicles in Tonga, contact the Consulate General
of Tonga in San Francisco.
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 Tonga, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Tonga’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 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: Tonga’s customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Tonga of items such as firearms, explosives, motor vehicles,
eggs, and certain types of alcohol. It is advisable to contact
the Consulate General of Tonga in San Francisco 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
Tongan law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
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. U.S. citizens who are detained are encouraged
to request that a consular officer from 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 other U.S. diplomatic or consular post in Tonga. Assistance
for U.S. citizens in Tonga is provided by the U.S. Embassy in
Fiji, which is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji’s capital city
of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 314-466; the fax number
is (679) 314-466. Americans may register with the U.S. Embassy
in Suva, Fiji and obtain up-to-date information on travel and
security in Tonga from the Embassy. Information may also be obtained
by visiting the Embassy’s home page at http://www.amembassy-fiji.gov.