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MALDIVES - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Maldives. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the prevalence of petty crime and the possibility of civil unrest.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a Travel Health Notice for the Global Update: Zika virus infection recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to the Maldives. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Populated areas may experience gang-related violence. Exercise caution and remain vigilant
Petty crime is prevalent. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times, especially on the beach.
Political and religious demonstrations occur, and may turn violent. Local media, political parties, and non-governmental organizations have been targets of violence.
Political demonstrations have been occurring in Male following the arrest of a former political leader on February 22, 2015, and are likely to continue. Exercise particular caution in Male, especially at night. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities. If you are planning to travel to possible affected areas, contact your airline or tour operator to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel.
Only a few islands have facilities for automobiles. Most transportation is by boat or seaplane. Motorized water taxis (dhonis) provide transportation between the airport, Male, and nearby resort islands.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Tourist facilities are well developed on resort islands, but are limited elsewhere.
Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. Several diving injuries have occurred, including one death, apparently as a result of poor equipment and poor monitoring of safety standards by local dive operators.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Maldivian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit the Maldives, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Tourist visas are issued upon arrival and are valid for 30 days. Extension of a tourist visa is possible for a total stay of no more than 90 days.
Tourist visa: Required (issued upon arrival)
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required to enter the Maldives.
Travellers taking international flights must pay a departure tax of US$25.
Express permission from the Maldivian authorities is required to visit non-resort islands.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Travellers to countries in South Asia should speak to a health care provider about getting vaccinated.
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 provider.
- 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 South Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- 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.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, Zika virus and malaria.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- 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.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at 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. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- 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, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Southern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited. There are only two hospitals on Male and they can provide adequate service for routine medical problems. In the event of a major accident or illness, medical evacuation is often necessary. Medical transport is very expensive and payment up front is often required. Inquire about the medical services available at your resort prior to booking.
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 are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict and can include life imprisonment.
It is illegal to import alcohol, firearms, drugs and pornography. Alcohol is available on resort islands.
It is also illegal to import non-Islamic religious materials or to promote religions other than Islam.
The laws of the Maldives prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
LGBT travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to the Maldives. See Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travel for more information.
Traffic drives on the left.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
Dress conservatively, especially outside major cities and coastal resorts, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the Maldives. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Maldivian citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Maldivian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the rufiyaa (MVR). Major credit cards are accepted at resorts and hotels. U.S. dollars can be exchanged at the airport, banks and hotels. Automatic banking machines (ABMs) in Male accept certain foreign bank cards. Credit cards should be used with caution due to the potential for fraud and other criminal activity. Leave copies of your card numbers with a family member or friend in Canada in case of emergency.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The Maldives are located in an active seismic zone and may be prone to earthquakes and tsunamis.
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from November to April in the northeast, and May to October in the southwest. Flooding can occur. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 119
- medical assistance: 102
- firefighters: 118
There is no resident Canadian government office in the Maldives. The High Commission of Canada in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has consular responsibility for the Maldives.
Colombo - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Colombo 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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