Road Conditions and Safety: Travel can be hazardous. Always use your seatbelt. Roads are generally narrow and in poor repair. Only the capital city of Port Vila and the town of Luganville have consistently paved roads, which have a maximum speed limit of 30 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour). On all roads, give way to traffic coming from the right, and to traffic coming from the left at round-abouts. To avoid trespassing, seek permission from local landowners before accessing non-public areas, including beaches. Some landowners may charge a fee for access.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Vanuatu, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Vanuatu?s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Vanuatu should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts which may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings website.
Public hospital and medical facilities in Vanuatu are limited. There are private medical facilities in Port Vila.
Costs for treatment, including for pharmaceuticals, can be expensive. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for their services.
In the event of a serious illness or accident (including diving-related injuries), you would need a medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities, usually Australia or New Zealand .
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 (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
Malaria occurs throughout the year in most areas of Vanuatu. Outbreaks of dengue fever also occur. You should boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhea.
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.
Customs: Vanuatu customs authorities may enforce strict regulations on importing or exporting items such as firearms, certain prescription drugs, wooden artifacts, exotic animals, food items, and sexually explicit material. Other products may be subject to quarantine. For specific information regarding customs requirements, contact the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations, 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B, New York, NY 10017, Telephone: (212) 661-4303; fax: (212) 422-3427, (212) 661-5544.
Natural Disasters: The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) has consistently ranked Vanuatu number one on the World Risk Index for its many different types of natural disasters and its difficulties in recovering from them. Visitors need to be aware of disasters which can occur at any time.
Cyclones: Cyclones can occur suddenly in Vanuatu. Cyclone season usually lasts from November to April, and severe flooding, landslides, and disruptions to services may occur. Local media and hotels will convey cyclone alerts issued by local authorities.
Volcanoes/Earthquakes: Vanuatu is subject to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis. If you plan to visit volcanic areas, contact the Department of Geology and Mines at (677) 22423 or the Vanuatu Tourism Office at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to traveling to areas where volcanic activity may occur. Detailed information about earthquakes is available from the National Earthquake Information Center of the United States Geological Survey. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities. Visit the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards page to obtain current climate advisories, including volcano activity levels All of Ambae Island and parts of Ambrym Island have been evacuated due to high and on-going volcanic activity. Avoid areas being evacuated.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State?s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Vanuatu. However, there are no known incidents of the prosecution, targeting, or harassment of consenting adults. Vanuatu is a conservative country, and we recommend that you avoid public displays of affection. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and the Vanuatu Human Rights Report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There is no law specifically prohibiting discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities. There are no special programs to assist persons with disabilities and no legislation mandating access to buildings, information, and communications. In practice, most buildings in Vanuatu are not accessible to persons with disabilities, and disabled persons often rely on assistance from friends and family.
Recreational Diving: Diving in Vanuatu has the potential to be dangerous. We suggest the following tips for visitors who plan to dive while in Vanuatu:
- Verify that your dive operator is currently certified through one of the international diving associations (PADI, NAUI, BSAC, CMAS, etc.).
- Ensure that rental equipment is in good working condition, with up-to-date inspection stamps.
- Make sure your equipment fits properly.
- Postpone or cancel diving activity if any equipment is faulty.
- Try to remain in pairs or in a group that includes a dive guide.
- Determine your level of training before engaging in deep water or wreck dives.
- Confirm that dive operators have adequate onsite emergency equipment and diver-recall systems.
- Know that the nearest hyperbaric chamber might be hours away, or require a plane flight. There is one hyperbaric facility in Port Vila, Vanuatu, far from some of the more remote dive sites. Due to the high costs for decompression services and associated emergency transportation, divers are strongly advised to obtain adequate medical evacuation and diver?s insurance.
- Please report any unsafe conditions or diving practices to either the certifying diving association or the local authorities.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers
Safety and Security
Public Safety: Civil disorder in Vanuatu is rare; however, you should avoid public demonstrations and/or political rallies if they occur.
Crime: Although violent crime is rare in Vanuatu, there is a risk that you could be a victim of theft, burglary, sexual harassment, or sexual assault. Take reasonable precautions to avoid exposing yourself to undue risk, especially in tourist areas. Women should avoid going out alone at night or to isolated locations. The Embassy has also received some reports of ATM or credit card number theft after a card was used in Vanuatu. Although this does not appear to be widespread, travelers are advised to monitor their accounts after using their ATM or credit cards in Vanuatu for any unauthorized activity.
Victims of Crime: The local equivalent to the ?911? emergency line in Port Vila is 111 for police, 112 for the public ambulance, 113 for fire, and 115 for private medical ambulance and emergency health services. 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 (travel to Port Moresby, PNG or Suva, Fiji may be required, as the Embassy maintains no permanent presence in the country)
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. 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 need a valid passport, onward ticket, and proof of sufficient funds in order to enter Vanuatu. Tourist visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, you may apply for a standard residence permit or for an extension of stay for up to 120 days at the Immigration Office. You should do so before your initial 30 day period expires. Please contact the Principal Immigration Officer, Immigration Department, at Private Mail Bag 9092, Port Vila, Telephone: 678-22354.
For further information on entry requirements, particularly if you are planning to enter on a private sailing vessel, please visit the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations website, 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B, New York, NY 10017, Telephone: (212) 661-4303; fax: (212) 422-3427, (212) 661-5544. They may also be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Vanuatu.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Vanuatu for information on U.S. ? Vanuatu?s relations.