Asia and Oceania

Kiribati Flag of Kiribati

Still current at: 10 June 2008
Updated: 08 May 2008

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

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • There is no British consular representation in Kiribati.  Routine consular services for British nationals on the island of Tarawa (the Gilbert Islands) are provided by the Australian High Commission in Tarawa.  The British High Commission in Fiji is responsible for non-routine consular matters and matters on all other islands of Kiribati.  See the General (Representation) section of this advice for more details.

  • Swimming in south Tarawa Lagoon is not advisable due to pollution; extreme caution is recommended on ocean-side reefs.

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

  • Tropical cyclones are common in Kiribati from the beginning of November until the end of April.  See the Natural Disasters section of this advice and Hurrianes  for more details. 

  • Only a handful of British nationals visit Kiribati each year and we are not aware of any British nationals who required consular assistance in Kiribati in 2007.  However, you should be aware that petty theft can occur and you should take care with personal possessions; while women travelling on their own should exercise caution, particularly at night.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before leaving UK.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for 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.  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
 
Incidents of petty theft occur.  Women travelling on their own should exercise caution to ensure their safety.
 
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.
 
Political Situation

Kiribati Country Profile
 
Local Travel
 
Road Travel
 
You may hire a motorcar using a full, clean UK driving licence.  Intending residents should present their UK licence through their employer to obtain a Kiribati driving licence.
 
Road conditions are poor on Tarawa, but driving standards are reasonable. Minibuses can be dangerously overloaded at times.  Exercise caution and do not board if you think this is the case. There are regular services  on Tarawa until about 2100 hours.
 
For further information see Driving Abroad.
 
Inter-Island Travel
 
It is not always possible to travel direct from one part of Kiribati to another.  For example, if you need to get to Kiritimati (Line Islands) from Tarawa (Gilbert Islands) you have to fly via Nadi, Fiji.
 
Swimming
 
You should not swim in the lagoon in south Tarawa as it is highly polluted.  You should also exercise extreme caution when swimming in the sea around Kiribati, as there are very strong rip tides along coast and reef areas.  Suitable safety equipment should be worn at all times during boating trips.  Squalls can occur at very short notice.  A number of people have drowned in recent years.

Local laws and customs

Possession or trafficking in narcotics is a serious offence under the Kiribati penal code and prison sentences may be heavy.
 
Homosexual relations are illegal.
 
Local laws forbid nudity and revealing swimming costumes.
 
Kiribati operates a strict quarantine regime for the import of food, plants and animal (including fish) products, carriage of which should be declared by visitors on arrival.  Further information on restricted or prohibited imports can be obtained from :-
 
Biosecurity Services
SPC-Plant Protection Service
Private Mail Bag
Suva, Fiji Islands.
Tel: (679) 3370 733
Fax: (679) 3370 021
Email:  pps@spc.int
Website:  http://www.spc.int/pps/
 
On departure, (prior to any transit of Australia or New Zealand) you should be aware that some local handicrafts (including straw products and shells) may be subject to strict Australian/NZ import regulations.  Phyto-sanitary Certificates should be obtained when items are purchased in Kiribati.  Items should be declared but may nevertheless be confiscated by the Authorities concerned.
 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Entry requirements

Visas
 
Tourist/visitor entry visas are not required from British passport holders provided you hold a return/onward ticket and sufficient funds for the intended visit.  As a UK passport holder you will normally be granted a one month stay which can be extended, on application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration in Bairiki, for additional one month periods for a maximum three additional months, provided your passport remains valid.  British passport holders arriving for employment must obtain a visa in advance by arrangement with the prospective employer.

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.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration, PO Box 68,Bairiki, Tarawa, Kiribati. Telephone:+686 21342, Fax: +686 21466.

Health

Medical facilities at the general hospital in Tarawa are modest and elsewhere generally consist of island clinics staffed by nurse practitioners.  Pharmaceuticals and prescription medicines are not generally available and all requirements for existing medical conditions should be brought with you.

Dengue fever is common to Kiribati.

You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.  You should also avoid eating local shellfish or lagoon fish on Tarawa.  If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Kiribati you should seek immediate medical attention.

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 Kiribati 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 Heath 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
 
Tropical cyclones are common in Kiribati from the beginning of November until the end of April.  You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

Kiribati is currently experiencing a severe drought. There is only a limited supply of water and restrictions are now in place.

General

Insurance
 
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before leaving UK.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake, including cover for medical evacuation by air ambulance particularly if you plan to engage in adventure sports.  See Travel Insurance.
 
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is how we can help.
 
Representation
 
There is no British consular representation in Kiribati.  Routine consular services for British nationals on the island of Tarawa are provided by the Australian High Commission in Tarawa (see contact details).  The British High Commission in Fiji is responsible for non-routine consular matters and matters on all other islands of Kiribati.
 
We advise all British nationals residing in, or visiting, countries overseas to register so that they can be contacted easily in an emergency.
 
If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the Australian High Commission in Tarawa on arrival.
 
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.
 
British passports

If you require a new passport, application forms can be downloaded from the Internet.  To avoid unnecessary delays, you are advised to contact the British High Commission in Suva (Fiji) before submitting your completed passport application form to the British High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand (please see the New Zealand Travel Advice for contact details).  Where possible, you are advised to apply at least two months before your passport is due to expire.  You will be allowed to retain your old passport whilst waiting for the replacement to be issued and returned.

In the event of a lost or stolen passport the Kiribati authorities will allow your departure on the strength of a ‘to whom it may concern’ letter.  You will also need to present a report confirming that you have informed the local police of the loss of your passport.  A ‘to whom it may concern’ letter can only be issued once enquiries have been completed to verify the passport holder’s identity, a process that may take several days.  Such a letter would only allow you to travel as far as Australia, where you will then need to apply for a replacement passport.
 
Once in Australia, the British High Commission will be able to issue a replacement passport within two to three weeks.  If you need to travel more urgently, a limited validity passport can be issued to enable you to continue your journey.  There will be an additional fee for any passport service performed outside normal consular office opening hours.
 
We strongly advise you to keep a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport to avoid any complications.
 
Address: Australian High Commission
Bairiki
Tarawa
Kiribati
 
Telephone:  (686) 21 184
 
Facsimile:  (686) 21 904
 
Postal address
PO Box 77
Bairiki, Tarawa
 
Office hours: GMT
2000 - 0430
 
Local time:
0800-1630

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