Asia and Oceania

Fiji Flag of Fiji

Still current at: 10 June 2008
Updated: 09 June 2008


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Health section (prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Fiji).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • You should exercise caution when travelling in Fiji, particularly in urban areas, such as the capital, Suva. Public Emergency Regulations (State of Emergency) were lifted on 5 October 2007 but Police checkpoints remain in place at night in major centres.  See the Political Situation section of this advice for more details.

  • There remains a potential for civil unrest following the military coup.  You should avoid all military or political rallies and large gatherings of people, and avoid openly discussing political issues.  You should also keep yourself informed of developments, including by regularly checking this advice.

  • The penalty for possession of any amount of marijuana is a mandatory prison sentence.

  • There is a low threat from terrorism in Fiji.  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.

  • The main type of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Fiji in 2007 was replacing lost or stolen passports.  The majority of consular cases occur on the main island of Viti Levu.  Robberies, thefts and assaults have occurred against foreigners in Fiji.  You should take appropriate precautions.

  • Tropical cyclones can occur in Fiji from the beginning of November until the end of April.  See the Local Travel and Natural Disasters sections of this advice and Hurricanes 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

Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism in Fiji.  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 further information see Terrorism Abroad.
 
Crime

Robberies, thefts and assaults have occurred against foreigners in Fiji, particularly at night, with most of the incidents occurring in urban areas.  In late 2007 figures released by the Police showed an increase in robberies and violent home invasions carried out by large gangs. It is possible that dogs could be poisoned in order to facilitate entry to properties.  Whilst the majority of visitors enjoy a trouble-free visit, you should take personal security measures such as:
  • Store your valuables in a hotel safe where available.  Take particular care to safeguard your passport and credit/ATM cards.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash with you or openly wear expensive items of clothing or jewellery.
  • Take care when withdrawing money from ATMs, as the incidence of thefts at these outlets is reportedly on the increase.
  • When taking a taxi, use one from a reputable firm, preferably booked by phone or arranged by your hotel and avoid travelling alone in the centre of Suva or Nadi late at night.
  • Women travelling on their own should exercise caution to help ensure their personal security.
Political Situation
 
Fiji Country Profile
 
You should exercise caution when travelling in Fiji, particularly in urban areas, such as the capital Suva.  On 5 December 2006, the Fiji Military Commander dismissed the elected Prime Minister and Government of Fiji and announced that he had assumed control of the country.  The Public Emergency Regulations (State of Emergency) were lifted at midnight on 31 May 2007, but were re-invoked at midday on 6 September 2007. They were again lifted on 5 October 2007.  However, the Interim Government has said that the Regulations would be reinstated if they considered it to be necessary and Police checkpoints remain in place at night in major centres. You should remain alert to any changes in the status of the Regulations.
 
In November 2007, the military and Police detained a number of people they alleged were plotting to overthrow the Interim Government.
 
There remains a potential for civil unrest following the military coup.  You should avoid all military or political rallies and large gatherings of people, and avoid openly discussing political issues.  You should also keep yourself informed of developments, including by regularly checking this advice.
 
The airport in Suva and the international airport in Nadi remain open and commercial flights are operating as normal.
 
Local Travel 
 
On 28/29 January tropical cyclone Gene caused widespread damage and disruption to most of the Fiji Islands group. Some rural roads remain closed, or passable only with care. If you are planning to travel by road, you should seek the advice of your tour operator or the local authorities before you set out.
 
Air Travel
 
You should contact your tour operator or carrier about check-in times. Passengers are advised to arrive three hours before flights to the United States.
 
Airport Departure Tax is 30.00 Fijian Dollars, which includes Noise Tax and Airport Departure Tax.  Increasingly, this is included in the ticket price, but you may wish to check that this is so.
 
It is illegal in Fiji to be under the influence of alcohol while at an airport.  Police may detain airline travellers who are intoxicated.
 
Sea/River Travel
 
You should note there are dangerous rip tides along the reefs and river estuaries.  You are advised to wear the appropriate safety equipment before going out to the reefs or engaging in water sports and take local advice on safety at all times when engaging in adventure sports.  There have been shark attacks in some waters.
 
For more general information see River and Sea Safety
 
Road Travel
 
If you plan to hire a car, you should note that traffic discipline can be poor.  Night-time driving, particularly on the road between Nadi and Suva, is considered to be particularly hazardous the road condition has deteriorated, and animals wander or sleep on the road. Accidents are frequent.  Some organisations forbid their staff from using the road after dark.
 
The national maximum speed limit is 50 mph (80 kmph) but this is often ignored. Most road accidents are caused by reckless driving.  When using taxis, it is advisable to use one with a yellow registration plate, which denotes recent compliance with Land Transport Authority (LTA) regulations.
 
You should be aware that not all minibuses currently operating in Fiji are licensed by the LTA.  As with taxis, those with yellow number plates have been approved by the LTA.  Unlicensed minibuses will probably not be insured.
 
For further information see Driving Abroad.
 

Local laws and customs

Possession of any amount of marijuana carries a mandatory three-month prison sentence.  Prisons in Fiji have very poor facilities.

If you overstay, you may face detention followed by deportation at your own expense.

You may be invited to participate in the local ceremony of drinking kava.  You should be aware of the British Medicine Controls Agency advice on the effects that this can have on the consumer's health:  http://www.mca.gov.uk.

Fijians are by nature modest people.  Topless bathing and nudity in public is forbidden.

Gay and lesbian travellers should note that Fijian attitudes towards homosexuality are complex.  The issue is currently subject to church and public debate and there have been aggressive outbursts against homosexuality.  Whilst the 1997 Constitution provides for sexual freedom and equality, primary legislation still exists which prohibits homosexual acts, even in private.  The maximum sentence for such offences is five years.

In the outer islands, there is a lack of communication facilities generally, and coverage by the mobile phone network is patchy.  This may lead to you becoming uncontactable by family and friends.
 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You

Entry requirements

Visas
 
Visas are not required for British nationals visiting Fiji for periods up to four months.  However, if you are visiting Fiji on business you will only be allowed to stay for 14 days.  You are required to retain a portion of your arrival card for presentation to Immigration on departure.

Those entering Fiji by boat are subject to the same visa requirements as those travelling to Fiji by plane.  Yachts can only enter through Suva, Lautoka, Savusavu and Levuka.

Passport validity
 
All passports must be valid for a minimum period of six months upon arrival.

Importing meat or dairy products

No meat or dairy products may be brought into Fiji from Europe due to foot and mouth disease controls. If you have come from areas affected by the disease, you may be subject to some delay on arrival. Fiji customs x-ray all in-bound luggage at Nadi airport.

Importing or exporting currency

Visitors and residents are required to declare currency amounts in excess of FJ10,000 (£3,400 approx).

Travelling with children

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.


In the case of Fiji, no such documentation is required for visitors.  But it is required for those applying for work and/or residency permits.  For further information contact the Fiji High Commission in London

Health

Medical facilities are generally adequate for uncomplicated treatment. For more serious or complicated problems, medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand may be required.

Leptospirosis and dengue fever are common to Fiji. Outbreaks of typhoid fever can occur. You should also practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions to prevent typhoid as well as other diarrhoeal illness.
 
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 Fiji 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

Natural Disasters

Earthquakes

Fiji is in an earthquake zone and suffers from tremors time to time.  On 3 May 2006, an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale was recorded 95 miles off the coast of Tonga. Tsunami alerts were put in place for Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa and Hawaii.
 
Cyclones

The cyclone season in Fiji normally runs from November to April.  Flooding and disruption to services may occur.  You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation.  You can also access http://www.nhc.noaa.gov for updates.  Please also see the Hurricanes page of the FCO website for more detailed information about what to do if you are caught up in a cyclone.  Most hotels aer well equipped for these occasions.
 
There is a warning system in operation, though it may not always be adequate.  
 
On 28/29 January tropical cyclone Gene caused widespread damage and disruption to most of the Fiji Islands group. There were a number of fatalities and injuries.
 
For more general information see Hurricanes.
 
Flash Floods
 
Flash floods resulting in landslides and road blockages are not uncommon throughout the Fiji Islands. In periods of heavy rain, which can occur at any time of year,  you should check with your tour operator or resort before travelling, particularly by road.

General

Insurance

You should take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance covering all eventualities, including cover for medical evacuation by air ambulance, before you travel, particularly if you plan to engage in adventure sports.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.  See Travel Insurance for more details.
 
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is how we can help.

Consular assistance in Fiji

The British High Commission is located in Suva, around 200kms from the main holiday resort areas in the west.  There may thus be some delay in rendering assistance to those who encounter problems in the west, given the distance involved, time taken to reach the west from Suva and the difficulties with travel on the Suva to Nadi road after dark.

Consular 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.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.

Passport applications

The British High Commission in Suva does not issue passports, but applications for a new passport should be submitted to the High Commission for processing.  Please note that you can apply up to nine months before your current passport expires.  Any remaining period of validity will be credited to your replacement passport. You will be allowed to retain your old passport while waiting for the replacement to be processed and returned.

Urgent passport applications will be forwarded by commercial courier to the British High Commission in Wellington, and the courier cost (currently F$119) will be added to the passport fee.  Your application will be processed as quickly as possible, but you should be aware that due to the distances involved, it is likely that there will be a delay in issuing you with a full replacement British passport.  Less urgent applications will be forwarded to Wellington via the Diplomatic bag, which is routed through London, free of charge.

Where necessary the High Commission can issue an Emergency Passport or a Temporary Passport.  Emergency Passports are not machine readable, and are valid only for a single journey back to the UK using agreed transit points, or to Commonwealth countries, provided a prior arrangement exists with the authorities of the Commonwealth country concerned.  Temporary Passports are machine readable and valid for one year.
 
With effect from 26 October 2006, anyone issued with a Temporary Passport will need to obtain a visa in order to visit or transit the US.  Temporary Passports issued prior to this date will not be affected, but holders should check that their book contains sufficient validity for the duration of their stay.
 
Money
 
Most tourist hotels and many restaurants accept credit cards.  But not all ATMs accept the full range of credit cards issued overseas.  The Australian and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) and Westpac ATMs accept UK Visa and Mastercard, and UK debit cards with Maestro and/or Cirrus symbols.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

Tuvalu

Address:

Non-resident British High Commissioner
(resides in Suva, Fiji)

British High Commission
Victoria House
47 Gladstone Road
PO Box 1355
Suva
Fiji

Telephone:

(679) 3229100 (switchboard)

Fax:

(679) 322 9132

Email: ukpassportsuva@fco.gov.uk

Email: publicdiplomacysuva@fco.gov.uk

Email: projectssuva@fco.gov.uk

Email: consularsuva@fco.gov.uk

Email: pbcc@fco.gov.uk

Email: educationsuva@fco.gov.uk

Email: visasuva@fco.gov.uk

Email: managementsuva@fco.gov.uk

Email: regionalsuva@fco.gov.uk

Office hours:

GMT:
Sun-Wed: 2000-0040 / 0100-0400
Thurs: 2000-0100

Local Time:
Mon-Thurs: 0800-1240 / 1300-1600
Fri: 0800-1300

Website: http://www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/fiji