U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
Consular Information Sheet
This information is current as of today,
August 15, 2006COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Kiribati (pronounced kir-ree-bas) is an island group in the Western Pacific Ocean. It consists of an archipelago of some 33 low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs, with a total land area of 800 square kilometers. Kiribati gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Kiribati has an elected President and a legislative assembly. The capital city of Kiribati is Tarawa. Kiribati has few natural resources, and its economy is very small. Tourist facilities are not widely available. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Kiribati for additional information.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport with a minimum of six months validity until expiration date and a visa are required. Kiribati strictly enforces its immigration/visa requirements. Westerners, including American citizens, have been detained for visa violations. For information on entry requirements, please contact the Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati, 95 Nakolo Place, Rm. 265, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819, tel. (808) 834-6775, fax (808) 834-7604, or via e-mail [email protected] See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Kiribati and other countries.
Find more information about Entry and Exit Requirements pertaining to dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction. Please refer to our Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.
CRIME: Although the crime rate in Kiribati is low, visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed.
See our information on Victims of Crime.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Health care facilities in Kiribati are adequate for routine medical care, but extremely limited in availability and quality. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization or evacuation to the United States or elsewhere may cost thousands of dollars. All water should be regarded as a potential health risk. Visitors should therefore refrain from drinking any water that is not bottled, boiled or otherwise sterilized. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit should be peeled before it is eaten.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad
to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please
see our information on medical insurance overseas.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Kiribati is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic moves on the left side of the road in Kiribati. Roads in urban Tarawa and Christmas Island, while satisfactory in some areas, are generally in need of repair. After heavy rains, some road sections experience temporary flooding. Vehicle traffic proceeds at a relatively slow rate. Drinking and driving is a common practice, especially on the weekends. Since visibility is poor with no streetlights, drivers should be careful when driving at night. For specific information concerning Kiribati drivers’ permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati in Honolulu, HI.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Kiribati, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has not assessed Kiribati’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may visit the FAA’s web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Kiribati’s customs authorities strictly prohibit the importation of firearms, ammunition, explosives and indecent publications. Strict quarantine laws govern the import of any part of plants, fruits or vegetables, as well as soil, animals and animal products. Visitors are not allowed to export human remains, artifacts that are 30 or more years old, traditional fighting swords, traditional tools, dancing ornaments or suits of armor. For more information, please contact the Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati in Honolulu, HI.
The Australian dollar is the legal currency in Kiribati. Traveler’s checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most hotels.
Kiribati is located in an area of high seismic and tropical cyclone activity. Strong winds are common, especially during the rainy season from November to April. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under the U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Kiribati’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Kiribati are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: There is no U.S. Embassy in Kiribati. Americans living or traveling to Kiribati are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, or through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain up-to-date information on travel and security within Kiribati. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street in the capital city of Suva; telephone (679) 331-4‑466; fax (679) 330-2‑267. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy’s home page at http://www.amembassy-fiji.gov/.
* * *
This replaces the consular information sheet dated February 1 , 2006 , with no significant changes.