New Caledonia travel advice

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New Caledonia - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL

Avoid non-essential travel to New Caledonia due to heightened political tensions and civil unrest.

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Safety and security

Political situation and civil unrest

On May 13, 2024, ongoing demonstrations against constitutional reforms became violent in New Caledonia. Arson and looting have taken place during the riots.

There are shortages of food, medical supplies, and fuel.

A nightly curfew is in place in the capital Nouméa from 8 pm to 6 am.

During the curfew, certain bans are in place, such as:

  • unauthorized public gatherings
  • alcohol sales
  • transportation of weapons

Flights have partially resumed and the La Tontouta International Airport has reopened.

The situation remains volatile and could escalate without notice.

If you are in New Caledonia:

  • limit your movements
  • exercise caution
  • monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation
  • avoid areas where security forces are present
  • contact your transport carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel
  • follow the instructions of local authorities, including curfew orders

Crime

Petty crime is prevalent. Car theft and vehicle break-ins also occur. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

Spiked food and drinks

Drink spiking occurs. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur from time to time. Roadblocks and marches may occur on main roads at any time and with little or no notice. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also 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

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Public transportation

Buses connect all major towns and villages. There is a ferry service between Nouméa and other islands. 

Adventure activities

Safety standards for adventure activities, such as diving, may not be up to international standards. If engaging in adventure activities:

  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • ensure the company, operator or guide you are using is properly certified
  • inspect equipment to make sure it is in proper working condition and use all available safety equipment, such as harnesses, life jackets or helmets

Water activities

Swimming

In certain areas, like Nouméa, sharks pose a risk to swimmers. To reduce the risk of deadly shark attacks, local authorities have set up temporary supervised swimming areas.

  • Follow the instructions and warnings of lifeguards
  • Respect the flag warning system, which provides notice of water conditions and safety risks on beaches
  • Follow the directives of local authorities

Road safety

All main roads on Grande Terre are paved. Intoxicated and unlicensed drivers pose a hazard on the roads. Cars are often poorly maintained and uninsured. Poor lighting, wandering livestock and pedestrians on the road pose a hazard at night on secondary roads.

Incidents of road blockages, carjacking and objects being thrown at vehicles, while not frequent, do occur and can be very dangerous.

Air travel

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

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and 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 French authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives 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 at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave New Caledonia.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

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 foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Residence visa: required
Work visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required

Other requirements

Customs officials may ask you for:

  • proof of accommodation covering the duration of your stay
  • sufficient funds to cover your whole stay
  • a return or onward ticket

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

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

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

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 required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

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.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

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.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a 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 is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • 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.
Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are generally good on the main island, but limited on the other islands. Due to the difficult terrain in certain areas, emergency response can be limited. You may need medical evacuation in case of illness or injury.

There is only one hyperbaric (decompression) chamber located in Nouméa. It could be far from your chosen diving location. Keep this in mind when choosing diving destinations.

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.

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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.

Transfer of Sentenced Persons

Canada and France are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in France or a French territory to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and French authorities.

Drugs

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

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Dual citizenship

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.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and France.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in New Caledonia, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the New Caledonian court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in New Caledonia to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

Useful links

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

While French law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, public displays of affection might offend local sensitivities.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Driving

You should carry an international driving permit. If you reside in New Caledonia, you may be able to exchange your Canadian licence for a local permit.

Dress and behaviour

To avoid offending local sensitivities:

  • dress conservatively outside of tourist areas
  • behave discreetly
  • respect religious and social traditions

Money

The currency is the Comptoirs français du Pacifique franc or the CFP franc (XPF).

ATMs and credit card facilities are widely available in Nouméa. If travelling to remote areas, bring a sufficient supply of cash.

On arrival and departure, you must declare if carrying any combination of currencies amounting to 10,000 Euro or more.

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Natural disasters and climate

Cyclone season 

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 New Caledonia 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

Useful links

Flooding

Severe rainstorms occur and can lead to flooding and landslides, which in turn can cause extensive damage to infrastructure and can also hamper the provision of essential services.

Seismic activity

New Caledonia is located in an active seismic zone. Tsunamis may occur after a strong earthquake and can travel long distances across the Pacific.

In case of an earthquake, follow the instructions of local authorities.

Wildfires

Bush and forest fires are common between September and February. In case of a major fire, stay away from the affected area. Always follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel. Monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation.

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke. It could affect you if you have a respiratory ailment.

Forest fire risk information - Météo France (in French)

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial:

  • 18 in case of fire
  • 15 for medical emergencies
  • 17 for police

Consular assistance

There is no resident Canadian government office in New Caledonia. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Consulate General of Australia to New Caledonia, in Nouméa, under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement.

Sign up to receive email updates from the Australian government on situations and events that could affect your safety while in New Caledonia.

Smartraveller - Australian travel advice

Nouméa - Consulate General of Australia
Street AddressNorwich Building, Level 2, 11 Georges Baudoux street, Artillerie, Noumea, New CaledoniaTelephone687 272 414Emailconsular.noumea@dfat.gov.auInternethttps://www.international.gc.ca/country-pays/new_caledonia-nouvelle_caledonie/noumea.aspx?lang=engFacebookCanada Down UnderTwitter@canadadownunder
Canberra - High Commission of Canada
Street AddressCommonwealth Avenue, Canberra ACT, Australia 2600Telephone(61) 2 6270 4000Fax(61) 2 6270 4060Emailcnbra@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.international.gc.ca/country-pays/australia-australie/canberra.aspx?lang=engFacebookCanada in AustraliaTwitter@canadadownunderOther social mediaCanada Down Under
Consular district

Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Guam, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Northern Marianas, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Australia, in Canberra, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

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, expressed 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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