Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in French Polynesia are different than in the United States. While most major roads are paved, many secondary roads are not. In urban areas, traffic is brisk and vehicles and pedestrians jockey for space on narrow streets. Tourists should exercise caution when driving, particularly at night. While extensive sections of the road circumnavigating the island of Tahiti have streetlights, many side streets do not.
Tourists who rent bicycles or mopeds should take extra precautions to avoid collisions, even on roads with little traffic. At night, beware of bicycles operating without proper lights.
Traffic Laws: Crosswalks are marked, and the law requires that motor vehicles stop for pedestrians; however, this law is not always followed in practice. Driving while intoxicated is illegal. Use of a mobile phone while driving is also illegal.
Public Transportation: Maintain control of your personal belongings on public transportation such as buses and ferries. Be aware of the possibility of pickpocketing.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of French Polynesia?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of French Polynesia?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to French Polynesia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
Medical treatment is generally good on the major islands, but is limited in more remote or less populated areas. In less populated areas where there are no hospitals, medical assistance can be found at a Dispensaire, a French government-run free clinic. Patients with emergencies or serious illnesses are often referred to facilities on Tahiti for treatment. In emergencies, evacuation by air to Papeete may be required. For medical emergencies in French Polynesia, dial 15 for an ambulance.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of French Polynesia to ensure the medication is legal in French Polynesia. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers should consider being vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid, which can be transmitted through contaminated food and water.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in French Polynesia.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in French Polynesia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from what you find in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical or mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of other state services. The French Polynesian government generally enforces these provisions effectively.
French Polynesia subscribes to laws that require disability accommodations, and many new buildings with public or community space are accessible. Many existing buildings as well as transportation systems do not yet meet these requirements. Accessibility is a requirement, however, for new construction.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Public Safety: Protests and strikes periodically occur and can sometimes be violent. Messages regarding possible social unrest, and natural disasters are posted on the embassy?s website.
Crime: Although French Polynesia has a low crime rate, petty crime, such as pick pocketing and purse snatching, does occur. You should secure your valuables at all times and remain particularly vigilant at night. Make sure you lock your doors and secure your windows.
Please ensure that items you purchase in French Polynesia are not pirated or counterfeit. Purchasing or owning these items may have legal consequences in French Polynesia or the United States.
Victims of Crime:
- U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should contact the U.S. Embassy.
- Report crimes to the local police at 17 (emergencies) and contact the U.S. Consular Agency at +689 4042-6535.
- Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
- support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
U.S. citizens do not need a visa if entering on a regular tourist passport and staying no more than 90 days every six months. If the purpose of the trip is not tourism (work, scientific research, etc.), then you may be required to obtain a visa before arrival in French Polynesia. If traveling as a tourist, you must be in possession of a return ticket.
For further information about entry requirements, particularly if entering by sea, contact the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the French Embassy at 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007, telephone 202-944-6200, fax 202-944-6212, or visit the Embassy of France’s web site.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of French Polynesia.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on France for information on U.S. ? France relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
Centre Tamanu Iti, 1er etage
Telephone: +(689) 4042-6535
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy duty officer in Suva, Fiji: +(679) 772-8049
Fax: +(689) 4050-8096