Ascension Island (British Overseas Territory)
Still current at: 27 April 2009
Updated: 17 March 2009
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Health section (visiting divers) and the General (Money) section. The overall level of the advice has not changed.
(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
Travel advice for this country
Ascension Island is a United Kingdom Overseas Territory. There is no formal British diplomatic or consular representation in Ascension Island and the local authorities deal with all requests for consular assistance. (See the General section of this advice for more details.)
The only means of air transport to Ascension Island from the UK is with the RAF flying out of RAF Brize Norton, Oxon. Sea travel to Ascension from the UK can be arranged on the twice yearly sailing of the RMS St Helena or from Cape Town via St Helena. Visitors must be in possession of a valid Entry Permit before travelling to Ascension. These can be obtained from the Ascension Island Government, see the Entry Requirements (Visas) section of this advice.
Most visits to Ascension Island are trouble-free.
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
A good standard of medical care is available on Ascension Island but it is not free to visitors. Costs can be high and you should ensure that your insurance, which is mandatory for all visitors covers treatment costs, as well as medical evacuation if this becomes necessary. See the Health and General (Insurance) sections of this advice for more details.
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.
Safety and security
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see Terrorism Abroad
The level of crime on Ascension Island is very low. Crimes or violence against residents or visitors are virtually unknown.
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad
There is no public transport on the Island, but bus tours with a driver can be arranged. A small number of hire cars are available and the local hotel is usually able to offer transport to and from the airfield on flight days for a reasonable fee. There is a limited taxi service but this has to be pre-booked. The speed limit is 40-mph Island - wide and 20 mph in Georgetown and Two Boats Village. A speed limit of 30 mph is in force when passing the US Base. There is only one petrol/diesel station on the Island, beside "One Boat" settlement. You should also be aware that wild sheep and donkeys can congregate on the roads, especially during wet weather.
Local laws and customs
You should be aware that drink/drive laws are strictly enforced. There is a £100 fine for dropping litter.
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You
Permission to visit the Ascension Island must be obtained in advance from the Administrator by the submission of an Entry Permit Application, at least 28 days in advance except in real cases of urgency, which can be downloaded from the website: Ascension Island Government
or by e-mail to: email@example.com
. Completed forms should be returned either by e-mail or by fax to +247 6152
There is an entry permit fee of £11.00 per person (free for children under 12 years). You must have comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover the cost of any treatment and medical evacuation should it be necessary. You must also be able to produce on request evidence of a return air ticket (or other evidence of pre-paid onward travel), pre-booked accommodation and sufficient funds to cover your stay on the Island.
Visitors are prohibited from taking employment, paid or unpaid, without first obtaining permission to do so from the Administrator.
On arrival in Ascension Island you must have a passport valid for a minimum of six months.
There is a small hospital in Ascension that is available to deal with day-to-day complaints but sophisticated treatment is not available on the Island. The hospital charges visitors for both outpatient and in-patient treatment. If you need regular supplies of prescription drugs, you should ensure that you bring adequate supplies with you. A UK-qualified dentist is available on the island though as with medical treatment charges are levied.
Mosquitoes do not carry malaria but can nevertheless be a nuisance.
If you intend to participate in diving sports, please note that there is no decompression facility on Ascension, nor are there qualified rescue divers. Visiting divers are strongly recommended to dive with an experienced diver; there is a small diving club on island.
You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Ascension and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC)
and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel
or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
For more general health information see Travel Health
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling and is a requirement for the granting of an Entry Permit. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. For more general information see Travel Insurance
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is How We Can Help
Register with our LOCATE
service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency. More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here
Ascension Island is a United Kingdom Overseas Territory and is part of a legal entity with the islands of St Helena and Tristan da Cunha. The Governor of the island groups resides at Jamestown on St Helena. The Ascension Island Police Force handles all consular protection services. There is no facility for the issuing of replacement UK passports, or UK entry visas, on Ascension Island.
Getting to Ascension Island
Travel to Ascension Island is via RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. The RAF operates a limited fare paying service twice weekly from RAF Brize Norton to Ascension Island, returning northbound at similar intervals. This service can be subject to delays due to hazardous weather conditions, especially during the Southern Hemisphere winter. The flight times to Ascension from the UK is about nine hours. Information on the availability of tickets can be found on the Ascension Island Government website Ascension Island Flights
The RMS St Helena operates a twice yearly passenger service from the UK to Ascension and a regular service from St Helena. Information on sailings can be found on the RMS St Helena website: www.rms-st-helena.com
Credit cards are accepted at the local hotel by Cable & Wireless and the NAAFI shop on Travellers Hill, but otherwise are not in general use. There is one bank - the Bank of St Helena - but no cash machines (ATMs). Travellers' cheques are accepted. While the official currency is the St Helena pound, sterling bank notes are accepted in all shops and bars (but not always UK coins) and the US base will accept US Dollars, Sterling or St Helena currency. The St Helena pound is fixed at a rate of one pound Sterling. Foreign currency (including Euros) can be exchanged at the Government Cash Office (not open at weekends) and the same office will cash UK cheques with proof of identity and a cheque guarantee card. There is a charge of 1.5% for cashing cheques.
Travel advice for this country