Ascension Island (British Overseas Territory)
|Still current at: 05 May 2011
Updated: 24 March 2011
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the General - Getting to Ascension Island (weekly service). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in Ascension Island.
Safety and Security - TerrorismThere 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. See our terrorism abroad page.
Safety and Security - CrimeThe level of crime on Ascension Island is very low. Crimes or violence against residents or visitors are virtually unknown.
Safety and Security - Local travelThere 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. The speed limit is 20 mph in Georgetown and Two Boats Village, and when passing the US Base and either 30 or 40 mph elsewhere. 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.
Safety and Security - Political situationAscension Island Country Profile
You should be aware that drink/drive laws are strictly enforced. There is a £100 fine for dropping litter.
See our your trip page.
Entry Requirements - VisasPermission to visit Ascension Island must be obtained at least 28 days in advance from the Administrator, except in real cases of urgency. Entry Permit Applications can be downloaded from the Ascension Island Government website or requested 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, including any pre-existing conditions. Minimum cover of £1m is highly recommended as evacuation by air ambulance alone can cost this much. 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.
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 on Ascension 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. See our HIV and AIDS page.
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.
See our travel health page.
General - Insurance
Comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory for the granting of an Entry Permit and should include cover for any pre-existing conditions. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. It should cover the costs of medical treatment and medical evacuation. See our Travel Insurance page.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then see our When Things go Wrong page.
General - Registration
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.
General - Consular Assistance
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 Detachmanet handles all consular protection services. There is no facility for the issuing of replacement UK passports, or UK entry visas, on Ascension Island.
General 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 (but note that this is currently restricted to a weekly service while resurfacing of the runway at Mount Pleasant in the Falklands takes place). Information on the availability of tickets can be found on the availability of tickets can be found on the Ascension Island Flights website.
The RMS St Helena operates a twice yearly passenger service from the UK to Ascension (though this may not continue beyond 2011) and a regular service from Cape Town via St Helena. Information on sailings can be found on the RMS St Helena website: www.rms-st-helena.com
General - Money
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 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 bank, which also cashes UK cheques with proof of identify and a cheque guarantee card. There is a charge of 2% for cashing cheques.