Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Kiribati International Travel Information
158 Princes Rd, Tamavua
Suva, Fiji Islands
Telephone: +(679) 331-4466
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(679) 772-8049
Fax: +(679) 330-2267
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Kiribati for additional information on U.S.- Kiribati relations.
To enter Kiribati, you need:
For additional immigration and visa information, please contact the Consulate of Kiribati or the Kiribati National Tourism Office. For information on long-term visit or residency requirements, please contact the Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati, 95 Nakolo Place, Rm. 265, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819, tel. (808) 834-7603, fax (808) 834-7604.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Kiribati.
Public Safety: Messages regarding demonstrations and strikes, explosive device/suspicious packages, and weather-related events are posted on the embassy’s website.
Crime: The crime rate in Kiribati is low; however, you should still not be complacent regarding your personal safety or protecting your valuables.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(679) 772-8049. You can also reach individual emergency services by directly dialing 992 for police, 993 for fire, and 994 for ambulance.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
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: Kiribati’s customs authorities strictly prohibit the importation of firearms, ammunition, explosives, counterfeit money and goods, knives, and indecent publications or pornography. Strict quarantine laws govern the import of any part of plants, fruits, or vegetables, as well as soil, animals, and animal products. Visitors are not allowed to export human remains, artifacts that are 30 or more years old, traditional fighting swords, traditional tools, dancing ornaments, or suits of armor. For more information, please contact the Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati in Honolulu at (808) 834-7603 or via e-mail.
Currency: The Australian dollar is the legal currency in Kiribati. Traveler’s checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most hotels.
Natural Disasters: Kiribati is located in an area of high seismic activity. Undersea earthquakes in the South Pacific region can also generate destructive tsunamis. The Government of Kiribati has only limited capability for notifying residents and visitors in the event of a tsunami. If you notice seismic activity and/or unusual tidal activity, you should take immediate precautions, such as seeking higher ground or refuge on an upper floor in a sturdy building, Strong winds are common, especially during the cyclone season from November to April. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available at the State Department’s website, as well as from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual conduct between men is illegal, with a maximum penalty of five to 14 years’ imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offense. However, the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any reports of prosecutions directed at gay, bisexual, or transgender persons under these provisions for sexual activity between consenting adults.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Accessibility of buildings, and communications and information for persons with disabilities is not mandated. There are no special accommodations for persons with disabilities.
Women Travelers: Spousal abuse and other forms of domestic violence against women are common in Kiribati. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Health care throughout Kiribati, including Tarawa, is substandard. Travelers may encounter shortages of routine medications and supplies. Hospital accommodations are inadequate throughout the country, and advanced technology is lacking. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization or evacuation to the United States or elsewhere may cost thousands of dollars.
Kiribati has no funeral homes with embalming or cremation services.
You should regard all water as a potential health risk. You should not drink any water that is not bottled, boiled, or otherwise sterilized. You should cook vegetables and peel fruit before eating it.
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.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with Kiribati Customs and MFA to ensure the medication is legal in Kiribati. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic moves on the left side of the road in Kiribati. While satisfactory is some areas, roads in urban Tarawa and Christmas Island generally need repair. The main sealed roads are on South Tarawa and Kirimati, and the unsealed roads are distributed among 20 islands. Much of the major island atolls, including that of North Tarawa, are actually closely connected islets. Unsealed roads in North Tarawa and on outer islands are mostly not connected by bridges, making transit between islets possible only during low tide.
Road safety is a major concern with a growing incidence of road accidents due to increased traffic, the age and condition of vehicles, and dangerous driving. Many local residents use small motorbikes and mopeds for transport; motorists should be aware of these smaller vehicles sharing the road. After heavy rains and high tides, some road sections temporarily flood. Traffic proceeds at a relatively slow rate. Drinking and driving is commonplace, especially on the weekends. Since visibility is poor, with no streetlights, driving long distances at night is not recommended, particularly outside of Betio. For specific information concerning Kiribati drivers’ permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati in Honolulu, Hawaii at (808) 834-7603 or KiribatiConsul@aol.com.
Traffic Laws: The traffic speed has been reduced in places to 20 km/h or less as a result of road damage, and driving conditions are hazardous, particularly after rain. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Kiribati. Mobile phone use while driving is illegal. Drivers and passengers are required to use seat belts.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Kiribati, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Kiribati’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 Kiribati 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. While Kiribati is an island nation dependent on maritime transportation, vessel conditions and inspection regimens can be less than ideal. Be aware of boat and ferry exits, and life jacket placement. Also, travel schedules and timetables can vary from advertised, with cancellations not uncommon; build liberal extra timing into other- and outer-island transport.