See the Department of State's Fact Sheet for information on U.S.-Timor-Leste relations.
You need a passport valid for six months beyond the date of arrival in Timor-Leste. Travelers arriving by air may obtain a 30-day tourist visa-on-arrival for a fee of 30 USD.
If entering Timor-Leste by land, you will need a travel authorization letter prior to entry as visas-on-arrival are no longer available at the land border with Indonesia. You must renew this visa and pay an additional fee if you plan to stay longer than 30-days.
Please see the website of the Timor-Leste Immigration Department for the most current information on visas and extensions. Visitors traveling via air must transit Singapore, Darwin in Australia, or Bali in Indonesia en route to Timor-Leste.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste has experienced several episodes of violence since becoming independent in 2002. However, there have been no major country-wide civil disturbances since 2008, and international peacekeepers departed the country at the end of 2012.
You should exercise caution, use common sense, avoid large gatherings, remain alert with regard to your personal security, and avoid travel after dark to public places, including, but not limited to, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreational events, hotels, resorts and beaches, and other locations frequented by foreigners.
You should review U.S. Embassy security messages and maintain a high level of security awareness while moving around the country.
Timorese security forces occasionally establish official security checkpoints along roads. You may be expected to show your passport at these checkpoints. You should avoid illegal checkpoints not operated by the police or military in uniforms, which, to date, have been primarily targeted at Timorese nationals.
Pick pocketing, purse snatching, residential and automobile break-ins, and theft occur, especially in Dili. These crimes often occur in recreational areas and facilities frequented by foreigners. Victims of crime who resist may face physical violence by perpetrators.
Stone-throwing attacks on vehicles occur during periods of gang conflicts and civil unrest. Avoid travel at night or alone in unfamiliar areas. Women should avoid traveling or taking taxis alone, especially at night. Women walking or exercising alone in Dili have reported harrassment and groping incidents.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +670-7723-1328.
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. If you are suspected of criminal activity, the law provides that you may be incarcerated for up to one year pending the criminal investigation.
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.
Timor-Leste remains in a state of transition. The country faces continuing challenges that limit its law enforcement capability. Many civil and governmental institutions are still being developed with international assistance. As a result, if you encounter problems while traveling or doing business in Timor-Leste you may find it difficult to identify legal or administrative remedies.
Currency: The U.S. dollar is the official currency of Timor-Leste. Only a few establishments accept credit cards, usually requiring a substantial additional fee, and you should be prepared to settle all bills in cash. Dili has several ATM machines that accept U.S.-issued bankcards which are frequently inoperative and can charge high fees.
If you intend to travel to Australia from Timor-Leste, you should be aware that the Australian immigration authorities require an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in advance of arrival. For more information, please consult the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship's website.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There is no legal protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Timor-Leste. However, since 2009, the penal code specifies that crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation (as well as ethnicity, religion, disability, etc.) may be subject to higher penalties. Although there are some openly gay public personalities, LGBT individuals generally maintain very low profiles. An LGBT organization exists, and there have been no formal reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, due in part to limited awareness of the issue. Discrimination may be underreported due to the lack of recourse stemming from the absence of formal legal protections, and a lack of formal legal protections.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Although the Timorese Constitution guarantees the same rights to disabled citizens as it does to all other citizens, Timor-Leste does not currently have legislation that mandates access to transportation, communication, and public buildings for persons with disabilities. Currently most public places and public transportation are not accessible. Persons with disabilities will face difficulties in Timor-Leste as foot paths, rest rooms, road crossings, and tourist areas are not equipped for people with disabilities.
Women Travelers: Leste is socially conservative and you should avoid wearing revealing clothing, particularly in crowded public areas such as markets. Timor-Leste has a very high rate of domestic violence.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Limited emergency medical care is available in Dili and options for routine medical care throughout the rest of country are extremely limited. Serious medical problems require hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to Australia (the nearest point with acceptable medical care), Singapore, or the United States, and can cost thousands of dollars.
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 the government of Timor-Leste to ensure the medication is legal in Timor-Leste. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevelant:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
While in Timor-Leste, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Road Conditions and Safety: All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use right-hand drive.
Driving in Dili is especially hazardous, with large trucks and military vehicles sharing the streets with vendors, pedestrians, and livestock. Roads are often poorly maintained, and four-wheel drive may be required in some areas. Sparse or non-existent lighting and poor road conditions make driving at night hazardous. Many cars and, especially, motorcycles operate at night without lights.
During the rainy season from November to May, rain showers can severely damage cross-island roadways, making roads particularly risky. You should use caution when traveling on the cross-island roadways in the mountain areas of Aileu, Ermera, Manatuto, Ainaro, and Manufahi districts.
Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, you should contact the police. Bystanders sometimes attack the driver perceived to be responsible for a traffic accident. If you believe that there is a threat of bodily harm from people at the scene of the accident, it is advisable to drive to the nearest police station before stopping.
While vehicle insurance is required in Timor-Leste, compliance with this rule is limited and many drivers are uninsured. Most traffic accidents are settled informally between those involved.
Public Transportation: Taxis, small buses, and mini-vans provide public transportation in Dili and elsewhere. Public transportation is generally overcrowded, uncomfortable, and below international safety standards.
Public transportation operators have been known to unexpectedly drop passengers at locations other than their destination due to the operators’ fears about certain areas or hours. Disagreement about fares has occasionally led to hostilities.
Public transport is generally inadvisable and is generally unavailable after dark, although taxis are occasionally available at select locations.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Timor-Leste, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Timor-Leste’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.
For Coastal Countries:
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Timor-Leste should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select “broadcast warnings”.