Asia and Oceania

East Timor Flag of East Timor

Still current at: 10 June 2008
Updated: 16 May 2008


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Visa section.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • We advise against all but essential travel to East Timor, because of the uncertain security situation.  On 11 February 2008, President Ramos-Horta was seriously injured following an armed attack on his home in East Timor.  In Ermera district there is a State of Siege and a curfew between 2200 and 0600.  If you become aware of any nearby military activity you should leave the area immediately.  See the Political Situation section of this advice for more details.

  • There is no British representation in East Timor.  All enquiries should be made to the British Embassy in Jakarta.  If you decide to travel to East Timor, you should ensure that you are content with your own and your family's security arrangements and keep yourself up to date with developments, including by regularly monitoring this travel advice.  You should also ensure that your travel documents are up to date and readily available in case you need to leave the country at short notice.

  • You should avoid demonstrations and large crowds as violence can break out without warning, anywhere and at any time. Since August 2006, there have been several incidences of civil unrest in the capital Dili, and in Viqueque, Baucau and Metinaro.  Most recently, on 4 October 2007 there was an explosion in Dili, adjacent to the Australian Embassy; there were no reported deaths or injuries.

  • You should also restrict your movements and avoid the areas surrounding IDP (internally displaced persons) camps, government buildings (including the Palacio da Cinzas and Palacio do Governno) and the vicinity of the Nicolau Lobato International airport in Comoro, including the airport road.  You should also refrain from going outside after dark.

  • There is an underlying threat from terrorism.  Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • Tropical cyclones sometimes occur in East Timor.

  • 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 an underlying threat from terrorism in East Timor.  Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.  In neighbouring Indonesia, Westerners were killed and injured following the terrorist attacks in Bali (October 2002 and October 2005) and Jakarta (August 2003 and September 2004).  For further information see Terrorism Abroad.

The main air routes to Dili are via Bali (this normally involves an overnight stay) and Darwin.  Due to the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks in Indonesia you are recommended to consult the FCO travel advice for Indonesia before planning to travel via Bali.  You should reconfirm bookings in advance of departure from East Timor.

Political Situation

East Timor Country Profile

We advise against all but essential travel to East Timor.
 
On 11 February 2008 President Ramos-Horta was seriously injured following an armed attack on his home in East Timor.  Military operations have commenced to apprehend those responsible for the attacks.  You should monitor the situation and exercise caution; if you become aware of any nearby military activity you should leave the area immediately.  If you are inside and become aware of military operations in your immediate area you should take cover away from windows.  You should keep yourself informed of developments, including by regularly checking this travel advice.
 
On 6 August 2007 the President announced the formation of the new government in East Timor.  This led to outbreaks of violence around the capital, Dili and in the eastern districts of Baucau and Viqueque.  On 23 August 2007, during fighting involving up to 300 armed people in Metinaro, a number of houses were set on fire.  On 4 October 2007, there was an explosion in Dili, outside Australian Defence Co-operation House, adjacent to the Australian Embassy.  There were no reports of any deaths or injuries.
 
Outbreaks of violence in February and March 2007 resulted in some fatalities.  There were also incidents of looting and attacks on vehicles.  There is the potential for foreigners to get caught up in this violence.
 
You should avoid any demonstrations and large crowds, as these have the potential to deteriorate quickly and turn violent.  You should also keep yourself informed of developments, including by regularly checking this advice and ensure that you are content with your own and your family's security arrangements. You should restrict your movements and avoid the areas surrounding IDP (internally displaced persons) camps, government buildings (including the Palacio da Cinzas and Palacio do Governno) and the vicinity of Nicolau Lobato International airport inComoro, including the airport road.  You should also refrain from going outside after dark.
 
Should you choose to travel to East Timor, information on the prevailing security situation can be obtained from the United Nations Police (UNPOL) emergency and security information numbers on 112. There is also a Security Information Co-ordination Centre within the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT). The centre can be contacted on 67 extension 5454. Both centres are open 24 hours a day.

Crime

There have been a small number of personal attacks in Dili during both the hours of daylight and darkness, including on foreigners.  You are advised to remain vigilant at all times and to avoid displaying expensive items of jewellery or large sums of money.
 
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.

Local Travel

Accommodation and transport for independent travellers are extremely limited, particularly outside the capital, Dili.

You should refrain from going outside after dark, and avoid travelling alone.
 
You should be particularly vigilant if travelling to border areas, as there remains the potential for trouble there.

Road Travel

Drivers must hold a current driving licence valid for the class of vehicle they plan to drive.  Third Party motor vehicle insurance is not available.
 
Drivers should take extra care on the roads, especially when it is wet.  Travel in convoy whenever possible.  Main routes are often single-track mountain roads, which can deteriorate rapidly and become impassable, particularly during the rainy season (December-April).  Road quality even in Dili is poor and there is little street lighting.  You should avoid walking on the road at night where possible.
 
For further information see Driving Abroad.

Sea Travel

There have been incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in neighbouring waters.  Mariners are advised to be vigilant; reduce opportunities for theft; establish secure areas onboard; and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.
 
For more general information see River and Sea Safety.

Local laws and customs

You should not become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for breaking the law can be severe.
 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Entry requirements

Visas
 
A tourist visa can normally be issued on arrival to the holder of a valid British passport, provided entry into East Timor is regarded by the local authorities as being for a legitimate purpose.  The fee is US$30.  This visa is valid for a single entry and a stay of 30 days.  Note that if you plan to travel overland (rather than by the ferry) to the exclave of Oe-cussi you will need two further $30 tourist visas as well as the US$40 double-entry full page transit visa for Indonesia.  Extensions cost US$35 for each subsequent period of 30 days, but you can only extend twice (i.e. a maximum stay of 90 days).  Fines for overstay start at $70 for one to 30 days, rising to $270 for 91 days or more.  Ther is a departure tax of US$10.
 
For information on other types of visa see the Immigraton Department of Timor-Leste or contact tmorgan@iom.int.

Passport validity

You should ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum period of six months.  Entry to East Timor may be refused to visitors with less than six months validity.

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.

Health

Medical services in East Timor are severely limited.  There are no dental or optical services.

Malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are common throughout East Timor.  There is usually an increase in dengue cases during the rainy season, which runs from November to April.  

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 East Timor 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
 
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

There have been no reported cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in East Timor during the current series of outbreaks. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed cases elsewhere in the region.
 
You should read this advice in conjunction with Avian and Pandemic Influenza, which gives more detailed advice and information

Natural Disasters

East Timor is located in an earthquake zone and major earthquakes can occur at any time.  The last significant earthquake occurred in 2005.

General

Insurance
 
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, including cover for medical evacuation by air ambulance particularly if you plan to engage in adventure sports.  In the event of a medical emergency in East Timor, evacuation to Australia is likely to be the only option for treatment.  See Travel Insurance for more details.
 
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is how we can help.
 
Consular Services

The British Embassy in Dili closed on 13 October 2006.  Consular services for British nationals are now provided by the British Embassy in Jakarta (please see contact details below).
 
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.
 
Travel Documents

You should ensure that your travel documents are up-to-date and available, in case you need to leave at short notice.

We strongly advise you to keep a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport, to avoid any complications.

Money

You are strongly advised to bring either US dollars in cash or travellers cheques, as the US dollar is the currency in use in East Timor.

The limited banking system in East Timor will not exchange Pounds Sterling cash or sterling travellers cheques.  The same often applies to the Euro currency.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

British Consulate General, Jakarta, Indonesia

Address:

Deutsche Bank Building, 19th Floor
80 Jalan Imam Bonjol
Jakarta 10310

Telephone:

(62) (21) 3190 1314 (Consular Section)
(62) (21) 390 7484 (Visa Section)

Fax:

(62) (21) 316 0858

Email: Consulate.Jakarta@fco.gov.uk (Consular)

Email: Visa.Jakarta@fco.gov.uk

Office hours:

GMT: Mon-Thurs 0045 - 0900 & Fri 0045 - 0545
Local: Mon-Thurs 0745 - 1600 & Fri 0745 - 1245

Visa public telephone enquiries:
Local: Mon – Thurs - 0830 – 0930
GMT: Mon - Thurs - 0130 – 0230