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Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Travel

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Learn About Your Destination

Maldives

Maldives
Republic of Maldives
Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism.

Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism.

Country Summary: Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.   

If you decide to travel to Maldives:

  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Maldives.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist plan for emergency situations.
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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid Must be valid for six months from expected date of departure from Maldives.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Visitor visa available at the airport for stays up to 30 days

VACCINATIONS:

Required for entry if arriving from or transmitting through a yellow fever endemic country (see below)

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Colombo

210 Galle Road,
Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
Telephone: +(94) (11) 202-8500
Fax: +(94) (11) 202-8590
MaldivesACS@state.gov
U.S. Embassy Maldives

 

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Maldives for information on U.S.-Maldives relations.

Entry, Exit and 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. A Traveler Health Declaration (THD) must be filled in and submitted by all travelers travelling to and from Maldives, within 96 hours prior to their travel. You may submit the form electronically.

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/hotel or present a letter from a local sponsor. Anyone staying more than 60 days without proper authorization faces heavy fines and deportation.

Yellow fever vaccine is required for individuals above nine months of age who are traveling to Sri Lanka from a country designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to have a risk of yellow fever transmission, including transit wait time of more than 12 hours in an airport located in such a country. For more information, please refer to WHO.

Visit the Republic of Maldives, Department of Immigration and Emigration for the most current visa information.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Maldives.

Find Information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Crime: Maldives has a low crime rate and crime on resort islands is rare. Valuables may be stolen when left unattended on beaches or in hotels. The penalty for drug use or possession is severe.

Demonstrations may take place in response to political or economic issues, but primarily take place in Malé or other larger cities and are unlikely to be noticed by tourists.

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

 
International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and FBI pages for information.

Technology Usage Abroad: Mobiles devices are vulnerable to compromise, theft, and physical damage anywhere in the world. Best practices prior to traveling abroad are keeping all software (operating system and apps) updated, and use virtual private network and encrypted voice over IP (VoIP) applications if possible. Make sure that all VPN/VoIP are reputable, and U.S. based. Do not connect to unknown open Wi-Fi.

GPS Navigation Apps are helpful in getting U.S. citizens around in a foreign country. Prior to using the GPS app make sure you research the route to make sure it is safe. GPS navigation apps may give you the shortest route without safety consideration.

Be cautious of using dating apps/online dating websites abroad as U.S. citizens can be targeted by scammers. Make sure to inform your friends and family of your whereabouts, meet at a well-known public location, and do not consume suspicious food or drinks. Avoid traveling alone to bars or nightclubs.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Colombo for assistance.

Report crimes to the local police at 119 and contact the U.S. Embassy in Colombo at +94-11-202-8500. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care;
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police;
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent;
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion;
  • 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; and
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur at all tourist facilities. 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.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

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.

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.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

LGBTQI+ Travelers:  The law prohibits same-sex sexual conduct. Under the penal code, the punishment for conviction includes up to eight years’ imprisonment and 100 lashes. None of the legal provisions prohibiting discrimination covers discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and the law does not recognize LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, and their families. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: 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.

Travelers: If you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, you should call the police immediately and follow up with a call to the U.S. Embassy in Colombo (+94-11-202-8500). We can sometimes connect you with a non-governmental organization in the Maldives that may be able to provide assistance. 

If you are victimized overseas, you may be entitled to receive compensation for counseling and/or other services such as relocation back to the United States. For further information, visit the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime committed in the Maldives.

See our tips for Women Travelers

Health

For Ambulance services in the Maldives, dial 102.

Ambulance services are not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except Malé/Hulhumalé. Available ambulances are not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment. Some inter-island sea ambulance service is available via the Maldivian Navy but does not serve the entire country.

We highly recommend that all travelers review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers’ Health webpage and general Traveler Advice for Maldives.

  • Select your destination in the Travelers’ Health webpage.
    • Review all sub-sections including the Travel Health Notices, Vaccines and Medicines, Non-Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Stay Healthy and Safe, Healthy Travel Packing List, and After Your Trip.
  • Review the Traveler Advice webpage that provide advice on medical considerations including:
    • Reasons for Travel (for example: Adventure Travel, Spring Break Travel)
    • Travelers with Special Considerations (for example: Allergies, Long-Term Travelers and Expatriates)
    • and General Tips (for example: Traveling with Medications, Travel Vaccines)

The Department of State, U.S. embassies and U.S. consulates do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

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. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

The Department of State strongly recommends supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Medical Facilities: There are three large hospitals in the Malé area: ADK Hospital, Tree Top Hospital, and the government-run IGMH. Medical facilities outside Malé are limited. Hospitals and doctors typically require payment “up front” prior to service or admission. The availability of medical supplies is uneven and many common medications used in the United States are not available in Maldives; therefore, travelers should always carry any prescription medications with them.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommended vaccines that are specific to this region include Japanese encephalitis and typhoid (and rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis only if exposure to bats is anticipated).

Pharmaceuticals: Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments. Please visit U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Maldives Ministry of Health to ensure the medication is legal in Maldives.

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassy and Consulates.

Water Quality: You should use ONLY boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, and for beverages.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Traffic Safety, Road and Aviation 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. 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, though congested. 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 is by vehicle or by a public ferry. Travel to nearby resort islands is usually by motorized water taxi and speedboat or seaplane. Trans Maldivian and Maldivian Air Taxi provide charter seaplane service to outlying islands during daylight hours. Maldivian, Manta Air, and Villa Air 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 after 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. 

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of the Official Travel Guide of 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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to the Republic of Maldives 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.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

 

Last Updated: April 2, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Colombo
210 Galle Road
Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
Telephone
+(94) (11) 202-8500
Emergency
+(94)(11) 202-8500
Fax
+(94) (11) 249-8590

Maldives Map