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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Vanuatu

Vanuatu - Consular Information Sheet
April 6, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Vanuatu consists of 80 islands located in a Y-shaped archipelago, 1,300 miles northeast of Sydney, Australia. It is an independent parliamentary democracy and a member of the British Commonwealth, with a primarily agricultural economy. Tourist facilities are limited outside of the capital, Port Vila, located on the island of Efate. The Vanuatu Tourism Office can be contacted at P.O. Box 209, Port Vila, Vanuatu, telephone (678) 22685, fax (678) 23889.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and onward/return ticket are required. Visas are not required for stays up to 30 days. Travelers who anticipate the possibility of transiting or visiting Australia are advised to obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or visa for Australia before leaving the United States. The ETA is available to eligible U.S. citizens at time of ticket purchase through travel agents and airlines. For more information about entry requirements, travelers, particularly those planning to enter by sailing vessel, may consult the Vanuatu Mission to the United Nations at 42 Broadway, Room No. 1200-18, New York, NY 10004; tel (212) 425-9652, fax (212) 422-3427.

CRIME INFORMATION: Violent crime is rare in Vanuatu; however, petty theft 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 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 are limited. The nearest reliable medical facilities are in Australia or New Zealand. Medical conditions resulting from diving accidents may require medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand. A hyperbaric recompression chamber is located in Luganville on Espititu Santo Island. Malaria incidence is high in some areas of Vanuatu. 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 at http://travel.state.gov.

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 the Vanuatu 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 to Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Not available

Vanuatu is a chain of islands and atolls; travel between them is mainly conducted by plane and boat. Only the capital city of Port Vila (on Efate Island) and the town of Luganville (on Espiritu Santo Island) have paved roads, on which a speed limit of 50 kilometers per hour is enforced. These paved roads are two lanes and can be narrow in spots; care should be taken especially when driving at night or along unfamiliar routes. The roads found in all other areas are unpaved or dirt tracks. Drivers on all roads should give way to traffic coming from the right. Travelers must take care when driving off main roads to avoid trespassing on communal land. For information concerning the operation of motor vehicles in Vanuatu contact the Vanuatu Mission to the United Nations or the Vanuatu Tourism Office.

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 Vanuatu, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Vanuatu'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) 256-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Vanuatu customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Vanuatu of items such as firearms and ammunition, sexually explicit material and certain prescription medications. Other goods may be subject to quarantine or import duty. The government of Vanuatu prohibits the export of artifacts from the Second World War without prior permission. It is advisable to contact the Vanuatu Mission to the United Nations 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 do 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 the 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 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.

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Vanuatu lies in the South Pacific cyclonic trajectory, and is vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and sudden tidal movements. The Pacific Cyclone season extends from November through March. 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/EMBASSY LOCATION: There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Vanuatu. Assistance for U.S. citizens is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, which is located on Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea. This address should be used for courier service deliveries. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1492, Port Moresby, N.C.D. 121, Papua New Guinea; Tel: (675) 321-1455; fax (675) 321-1593. There is a voluntary American Warden located in Port Vila who has general information and forms (such as passport application forms). The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby can provide information on how to get in touch with the warden in Vanuatu.

Americans are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Vanuatu from the Embassy. Information can also be obtained from the homepage of the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby at http://www.altnews.com.au/usembassy.

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