MaldivesOfficial Name: Republic of Maldives
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Visitor visa available at the airport for stays up to 30 days
Required for yellow fever if arriving from an infected area
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
210 Galle Road,
Telephone: +(94) (11) 249-8500
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(94) (11) 249-8888
Fax: +(94) (11) 249-8590
Republic of Maldives consists of 1,190 islands (approximately 200 are inhabited) in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka. It is a presidential-parliamentary democracy and has a population of approximately 340,000, with more than 100,000 people residing in the capital city of Malé, and an estimated 110,000 to 120,000 foreign workers. Beautiful atolls, inhabited by over 1,100 species of fish and other sea life, attract about a million visitors each year. Tourism facilities are well developed on the resort islands. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Maldives for additional information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A valid passport, along with an onward/return ticket and sufficient funds, is required for entry. A no-cost visitor visa valid for 30 days is issued upon arrival.
The Department of Immigration and Emigration routinely approves requests for extension of stays up to 90 days for travelers who present evidence of sufficient funds and who stay in a resort or hotel or present a letter from a local sponsor. Anyone staying more than 60 days without proper authorization faces heavy fines and deportation.
Travelers need a yellow fever immunization if they are arriving from an infected area. Visit the Republic of the Maldives, Department of Immigration and Emigration for the most current visa information.
Arrival by private boat: Travelers arriving by private yacht or boat are granted no-cost visas, usually valid until the expected date of departure. Vessels anchoring in atolls other than Malé must have prior clearance through agents in Malé. Maldivian customs, police, and/or representatives of Maldivian immigration will meet all vessels regardless of where they anchor. Vessels arriving with a dog on board will be permitted anchorage, but the dog will not be allowed off the vessel. Any firearms or ammunition on board will be held for bond until the vessel’s departure.
Specific inquiries should be addressed to Maldives High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at No. 25, Melbourne Avenue, Colombo 4, telephone (94) (11) 2587827 / 5516302 / 5516303, or the Maldives Mission to the United Nations in New York, telephone (212) 599-6195.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Maldives.
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. For a list of prohibited items from entry into the Republic of Maldives, visit the Maldives Customs Service website for the most current information.
Safety and Security
Maldives has a history of political protests; recently, demonstrations over Israeli military action in Gaza have taken place in the capital Malé, and Maldivian police evacuated several tourists to safety from Thulusdhoo island. Gangs of young men frequently stage spontaneous protests throughout Malé, often at night. Some of these protests have involved use of anti-western rhetoric. There are no reports of unrest or demonstrations on the resort islands or at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.
Travelers should not engage in political activity in Maldives. Visitors should exercise caution, particularly at night, and should steer clear of demonstrations and spontaneous gatherings. Those who encounter demonstrations or large crowds should avoid confrontation, remain calm, and depart the area quickly. While traveling in Maldives, travelers should refer to news sources, check the U.S. Embassy Colombo website for possible security updates, and remain aware of their surroundings at all times.
U.S. Embassy employees are not resident in Maldives. This will constrain the Embassy’s ability to provide services to U.S. citizens in an emergency.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Maldives has a moderate crime rate, although crime on the resort islands is rare. Theft of valuables left unattended on beaches or in hotels does occur. Drug use is on the rise among young Maldivians and the penalty for drug use is severe. The capital city of Malé also saw a spate of gang violence in August 2014, with several attacks involving the use of edged weapons.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Maldives is 119. Note: This number is only for the police, not emergency medical services.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Maldives, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. When transiting Maldives, travelers should ensure their luggage does not contain prohibited or restricted items, which include weapons, ammunition, alcohol, pornography, and religious material offensive to Islam, among other items. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law, for example, if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Maldives, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Religious Laws: Public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. Religious gatherings such as Bible study groups are prohibited; however, a family unit may practice its religion, including Bible readings, within its residence. It is against the law to invite or encourage Maldivian citizens to attend these gatherings. Offenders may face jail sentences, expulsion, and/or fines.
Although Maldivian law prohibits importing “idols for religious worship,” tourists traveling to the resort islands are generally allowed to bring in items and texts used for personal religious observances.
Currency: Credit cards are increasingly accepted outside large hotels and resorts; cash payment in dollars is accepted at most retail shops and restaurants and by taxi drivers.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Maldives], you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Maldives, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. The Maldivian constitution provides for the rights and freedom from discrimination of persons with disabilities, and parliament passed a Disability Act in 2010. The new law requires public places such as supermarkets and parks to have facilities that will enable access for people with disabilities. Despite the law, most public places do not yet have access for the disabled, and implementation of the law may take some time.
There is no 911 equivalent for medical emergencies in Maldives; 119 is for the police only, and the Coast Guard responds to 191 calls for maritime emergencies. A patient would have to call an individual hospital for ambulance services. The quality of medical care in such instances may be uncertain, as most ambulances are ill equipped.
Maldives has limited medical facilities. There are two hospitals in Malé: the government-owned Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and the privately owned Abduarahman Don Kaleyfan Hospital (ADK). ADK accepts some insurance plans, but IGMH does not. The hospitals perform limited general and orthopedic surgery, but Maldives has no trauma units and a small number of ICU beds. Persons needing treatments not offered in Maldives require evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility, such as in Singapore.
Five recompression chambers are available in Maldives. The largest and longest operating recompression chamber is on Bandos Island (15 minutes by speedboat from Malé). The others are located on Cinnamon Alidhoo Resort, Villingili Resort in Addu, Kuramathi Resort, and Kandholhudhoo Islands.
You can find information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Maldives, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Maldives is provided for general reference only, and may vary by location or circumstance.
Only a few of the islands are large enough to support automobiles. Most transportation in Maldives is by boat or seaplane (air taxi). Maldives has good safety standards for land, sea, and air travel. Roads in Malé and on the airport island are brick and generally well-maintained. Dirt roads on resort islands are well-kept by the resorts. Transportation in Malé is either by foot, by bus, or by readily available taxis that charge a fixed fee for any single journey. Transportation between the airport and Malé, as well as to nearby resort islands, is by motorized water taxi and speedboat. Trans Maldivian and Maldivian Air Taxi provide charter seaplane service to outlying islands during daylight hours. Maldivian and Fly Me run fixed wing domestic service to some of the atolls with land runways during night hours as well. Many resorts stop boat transfers between the airport and the resort island before sunset. Visitors to distant resorts arriving in the country at night can expect to stay overnight at a hotel in Malé or at the airport hotel and should confirm transfer arrangements in advance.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the Official Travel Guide of the Maldives and national authority responsible for road safety.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Maldives, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Maldives’ 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.