International Travel

English

Country Information

Tonga

Tonga
Tonga
Exercise normal precautions in Tonga.

Exercise Normal Precautions in Tonga

Read the Safety and Security section on the Country Information page.

If you decide to travel to Tonga:

Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with minor edits.

... [READ MORE]

Embassy Message

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays up to 31 days

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


Tongan Pa’anga (TOP) $10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Maximum remittance of TOP $10,000 via bank/financial institution. Approval required for higher amounts

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Suva, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu

158 Princes Rd, Tamavua
Suva, Fiji Islands
Telephone:
+(679) 331-4466
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(679) 772-8049
Fax: +(679) 330-2267

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Tonga for information on United States - Tonga relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

To enter Tonga, you need:

  • A passport with at least six months’ validity, and
  • an onward/return ticket.
  • Visas are required for stays over 31 days.

For further information about entry requirements, particularly if you plan to enter by sea, you may wish to contact the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations located at 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022, telephone +1-917-369-1024 and +1-917-369-1025.  Tonga also has a Consulate General of Tonga at 1350 Bayshore Highway Suite 610, Burlingame, California 940140; telephone +1-650-685-1001; fax: +1-650-685-1003.

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

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

 

Safety and Security

Public Safety:  Alerts regarding demonstrations and strikes, explosive device/suspicious packages, and weather-related events are posted on the embassy’s website

Crime:  Although Tonga has a low crime rate, house break-ins and property theft do occur. Though rare, sexual assaults against foreigners have occurred, including on public beaches. You should avoid going out alone at night or to isolated locations.  You should not be complacent regarding your personal safety or the protection of your valuables.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

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

Report crimes to the local police at 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(679) 331-4466, or after hours at (679) 772-8049.

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
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Tonga Police work with various NGOs such as the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) Tonga (telephone: 0800444) to provide shelter and counseling for abused women, girls, and boys who are under the age of 14.  The Women and Children Crisis Center also has partner organizations, including the Tonga Life Line (operated by the Free Wesleyan Church), the Salvation Army, the Police Domestic Violence Unit, Ministry of Health, Tonga National Youth Congress, Ma’a Fanine mo e Famili, and Tonga Leiti Association.  All offer counseling and rehabilitation programs.

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

For further information:

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.

 

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.

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.

Customs:  Tonga’s customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Tonga of items such as firearms, explosives, motor vehicles, eggs, and certain types of alcohol.  It is advisable to contact the Tongan Embassy in New York or the Consulate General of Tonga in Burlingame, CA for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Cyclone Season:  The official cyclone season is November through April. The Fiji Meteorological Service maintains a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC) in Nadi serving the Southwest Pacific Region. The Tonga Meteorological Society is another good source for information in Tonga and they have a warning service to track weather events.  General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the Department of State 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:  Under Tongan law, “sodomy with another person” is a crime, with a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. There are no legally mandated provisions for services for persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities.  There also are no programs to ensure access to communications and information for persons with disabilities.  The Tonga Red Cross Society operates a school for children with disabilities and conducts occasional home visits.  There is no specific government agency responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.

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

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

 

Health

For emergency services in Tonga dial 911.

Ambulance services are:

  • not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas.
  • not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment.
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

We 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.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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

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

Special Circumstances:

Health facilities in general:

  • Vaiola Hospital, a private “referral” hospital is in Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, with a 24/7 emergency department, and with medical and surgical capabilities to respond to emergencies of differing levels, and is able to stabilize patients if needed to medevac overseas.  All essential drugs are available according to the essential drug list, and if specific drugs are not available, there may be other alternative of the same brand available from six nearby private pharmacies.

  • The islands of Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua have hospitals.  The hospital in Eua offers very limited medical services compared to that of Vava’u and Ha’apai.

  • Local residents with serious medical/surgical problems beyond capabilities available in Tonga are often referred to New Zealand for treatment.  For additional information on medical visas for New Zealand, contact the Embassy of New Zealand, 37 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 20008, (202) 328-4800 or the New Zealand Consulate General in Los Angeles (310) 207-1605.

  • Medical services offered from Tonga Government/public hospitals are free of charge for all Tongans/naturalized Tongans, but varying fees are charged to non-Tongans or tourists at all health care facilities, public or private.  Cash payment or by electronic debit (EFTPOS) are preferred means.

  • No hyperbaric chamber is available to treat diving-related injuries in Tonga. Medical evacuation to the nearest chamber is expensive. Travelers should consider travel insurance.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery

Pharmaceuticals

  • If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Ministry of Health to ensure the medication is legal and available in Tonga.  Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 
  • 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 limited 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.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States.  Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States.  Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States.  Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.

Water Quality

  • In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested.  Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Adventure Travel

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

General Health Language

The following diseases are prevalent

  • Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.  Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Tonga. 

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Road conditions vary throughout the country.  A driver must look out for changes in traffic, road and weather conditions, and reduce speed accordingly.  The information below concerning Tonga is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

  • No roadside assistance is available.
  • Traffic moves on the left in Tonga.
  • While primary roads in Nuku’alofa are paved, most other roads are not.
  • Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous.
  • There are no stop lights in the country; drivers are required to stop at all roundabouts and allow vehicles on the right side to proceed.
  • For specific information concerning Tonga driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Consulate General of Tonga in San Francisco.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Traffic Laws:

  • Contact local authorities if you are involved in a road accident.
  • Bicycles must be registered with the Police Office before being used on public roads.

Public Transportation:  Buses and taxis are the only public transport available in Tonga.

Fua’amotu International Airport:  Note that no international or domestic flights are scheduled on Sundays.  Flight schedules change frequently and are subject to change, sometimes with only a few hours’ notice.

Visit the website of Tonga’s Ministry of Infrastructure for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Tonga, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Tonga’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 additional travel information

Last Updated: November 7, 2018

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Suva, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu
158 Princes Rd, Tamavua
Suva, Fiji Islands
Telephone
+(679) 331-4466
Emergency
+(679) 772-8049
Fax
+(679) 330-2267

Tonga Map