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French Polynesia - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in French Polynesia.
Safety and security
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is rare but does occur. Ensure that personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Demonstrations occur from time to time and can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Roads are narrow. Many secondary roads are not paved.
Drivers and pedestrians should exercise caution, particularly after dark.
Safety standards for adventure activities such as diving may not be up to international standards. If engaging in adventure activities, always use available safety equipment such as harnesses, life jackets or helmets.
Information about decompression chambers
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the French authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave French Polynesia.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Professional visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return ticket or a connecting flight.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- There are no updates at this time.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Oceanic Pacific Islands. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Healthcare is good on the major islands but limited in remote or less-populated areas. Serious medical cases require evacuation to Tahiti.
There is only one hyperbaric (decompression) chamber located at French Polynesia’s general hospital (Centre Hospitalier de la Polynésie Française) in Papeete, Tahiti. When choosing your diving destination, keep in mind that Papeete could be far away.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Canada and France are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in France to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and French authorities.
You can drive for up to 1 year with a valid Canadian driver’s licence. If your licence is not written in French, it must be accompanied by an official translation or an international driving permit. After 1 year, foreign drivers must obtain a French Polynesian driver’s licence.
It is illegal to drive with an alcohol blood level equal to or greater than 0.5. Offenders face immediate suspension of their driver’s licence and prison sentences.
More about the International Driving Permit
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in France.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of France, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
French law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in French Polynesian society outside the main tourist islands of Tahiti, Mo’orea and Bora Bora.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
The currency in French Polynesia is the CFP (Comptoirs français du Pacifique) franc (XPF).
Currency can be exchanged at the airport in Tahiti and at major banks. Most credit cards are widely accepted in Tahiti and at major hotels on the other islands. There are ATMs available. Outside of the busiest tourist islands and major hotels, cash in local currency or local cheques may be the only form of payment accepted.
Natural disasters and climate
French Polynesia is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes. Tsunamis may occur after a strong earthquake and can travel long distances across the Pacific.
Tsunami alerts - Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
Cyclones usually occur from November to April.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to French Polynesia during the cyclone season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 17
- medical assistance: 15
- firefighters: 18
There is no Canadian government office in French Polynesia. You can obtain consular assistance from the Australian Consulate-General in Nouméa, New Caledonia.
Register with the Australian government to receive email updates on situations and events that could affect your safety while in French Polynesia.
Nouméa - Consulate General of Australia
Wellington - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Wellington, New Zealand, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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