Kiribati Register Travel insurance Destinations

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Risk level(s)

Kiribati - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Kiribati.

Safety and security

Safety and security

Crime

Petty Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

Organized crime

There have been reports of organized crime in Kiribati waters. The majority of these reports are drug related. Exercise caution when travelling in Kiribati waters as officials lack the resources to respond to organized crime effectively.

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Street lighting is limited and vehicles are often poorly maintained. Some roads regularly flood after heavy rains.

 

Drivers employ dangerous driving practices and do not respect traffic laws. Drinking and driving is prevalent, particularly on weekends. Accidents are common.

  • Be extremely careful when driving at night, particularly outside of Betio due to the busier traffic and limited street lighting
  • Be aware of small motorbikes and mopeds sharing the road, as drivers typically do not follow traffic laws

Public transportation

Maritime transportation is the primary mode of transport.

Ferries

Passenger ferries go to many of the smaller islands, though they do not always operate on time. Local ferries are often overcrowded and do not always meet international safety standards. Ferry accidents occur from time to time due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

  • Be aware of the emergency exits and where to find life jackets
  • Consider bringing your own life jackets and locator beacons
  • Ensure you leave ample time for travel as timetables are not always reliable

Minibus

A private minibus service is available in the absence of taxis. It operates in Tarawa, on the main islands of the Gilbert group, and Christmas Island. These are often used for travel to and from airports. Passengers must hail minibuses.

  • Exercise caution on minibuses as they can be overcrowded
  • Drivers are often reckless and pose a threat to pedestrians

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

The main islands of the Gilbert group have airstrips and are served from Tarawa’s Bonriki International Airport. There is no scheduled service between the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands. You must transit through Fiji to travel between Tarawa and Christmas Island.

Unexploded ordnance

Exercise caution on beaches in Tarawa, particularly in the Betio and South Tarawa areas, where unexploded ordnance may have been left over from past naval warfare.

Stray Dogs

Avoid jogging or running in the street as street dogs can become aggressive and bite.

General safety information

Tourist facilities and services are limited. Internet and mobile phone services are not available on some of Kiribati’s outer islands.

Swimming

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common, particularly beyond the reef area. Several drownings occur each year.

  • Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities
  • Avoid swimming in the heavily polluted lagoon in south Tarawa

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Safe-travel guide for women

 

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

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 authorities of Kiribati. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Passport

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 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Kiribati.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

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.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: Not required for up to 30 days
Business visa: Required unless you are travelling for short term business such as a meeting, seminar, conference or workshop
Student visa: Required

Visas must be obtained before entry and take between 10 and 30 days to process.

Additional requirements

You must show an onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds.

Contact the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kiribati to the United Nations for more information on entry and exit requirements.

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kiribati to the United Nations

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Health

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

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

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

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.

Influenza

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

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

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/Water

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!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasismalaria and Zika virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Chikungunya

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
  • In this country, dengue fever may occur sporadically. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, numbers have been steeply rising again.
  • 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.  

Travel recommendations:

All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.   


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

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.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

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.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Good healthcare is limited in availability. Hospitals in South Tarawa, Betio and Tabiteuea have the capacity to perform only routine procedures. In more rural areas, health clinics and centers offer basic care.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

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

Laws & 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.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

LGBTQ2 travellers

The laws of Kiribati prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face jail sentences of up to 14 years. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kiribati.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Kiribati.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Kiribati, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

Dress and behaviour

Nudity and wearing revealing swimsuits are not socially accepted.

To avoid offending local sensitivities:

  • dress conservatively
  • behave discreetly
  • respect religious and social traditions

Driving

You can drive in Kiribati with an international driving permit or a domestic driver’s license for up to two weeks. After this period, you must acquire a Kiribati driver’s license.

Traffic drives on the left.

Car rentals are available in Tarawa.

More about the International Driving Permit

Imports

Importation of firearms, ammunition, explosives, counterfeit money and goods, knives and pornography is strictly prohibited. Strict quarantine laws govern the import of any part of plants, fruits, vegetables and soil, as well as animals and animal products.

Exports

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 armour. Contact the Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati in Honolulu for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Money

The currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). The Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited is the only bank in Kiribati. There are a limited number of ATMs. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most hotels. Western Union can be used for money transfers.

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate

Cyclones and monsoons

The rainy seasons in the South Pacific extend from November to April. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, which can hamper overland, maritime and air travel. They can also reduce the provision of essential services such as water and power.

  • Keep informed of regional weather forecasts
  • Avoid disaster areas
  • Follow the advice of local authorities

During a cyclone or monsoon, hotel guests may be required to leave accommodations near the shore and move to inland safety centres. Travel to and from outer islands may be disrupted for some days.

More about hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons

Seismic activity

Kiribati is in an active seismic zone. A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you are staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

Assistance

Assistance

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 192 or 188
  • medical assistance: 994 or +686 28100 (Tungaru Central Hospital)
  • firefighters: 193

Consular assistance

There is no resident Canadian government office in Kiribati. You can obtain consular assistance and further information in Tarawa from the Australian High Commission in Kiribati under the Canada–Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement.

Tarawa - High Commission of Australia
Street AddressBairiki, Tarawa, KiribatiTelephone686 21 184 / 686 90 184Fax686 21 904Emailahc_tarawa@dfat.gov.auInternetwww.kiribati.embassy.gov.au/twaa/home.html
Wellington - High Commission of Canada
Street AddressLevel 11, 125 The Terrace, Wellington 6011, New ZealandPostal AddressP.O. Box 8047, Wellington 6143, New ZealandTelephone+64 4 473-9577Fax+64 4 471-2082Emailwlgtn@international.gc.caInternetwww.newzealand.gc.caServicesPassport Services AvailableTwitter@CanHCNZ

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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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