Timor-Leste (East Timor)
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Latest updates: Safety and security - removal of information on parliamentary elections
TIMOR-LESTE - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Timor-Leste due to the fragile security situation and the level of crime.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Political situation and civil unrest
Although the situation has been calm since UN peacekeepers departed in 2012, political tensions remain. Violent episodes could occur with little notice, especially during significant political events, such as presidential or parliamentary elections. Be vigilant in the periods leading up to, during and following these types of events.
Military operations may take place at any time throughout the country. If you encounter a military operation:
- leave the area immediately
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- remain vigilant at all times
Demonstrations take place from time to time and are likely to occur in the vicinity of government buildings, institutions or residences as well as in the vicinity of Dili’s Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport. 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
Gang-related violence, arson, robbery and vandalism occur, especially in Dili. Gangs in Dili have attacked cars with stones and darts fired from slingshots, particularly during the early evening hours and at night.
Violence between martial arts groups occurs, despite the government banning most of their activities. Avoid armed non-government groups, including martial arts groups, throughout the country. Exercise extreme caution at bars and nightclubs, where altercations between groups may take place.
Petty crime such as mugging, car theft, pickpocketing and purse snatching also occurs. Foreigners are frequently targeted by thieves. Do not show signs of affluence and be aware of your surroundings. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Women travelling alone may be subject to forms of harassment, violence and verbal abuse. Sexual harassment and groping of women is reported regularly.
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Roads in mountain areas can be narrow and winding. Driving conditions can be hazardous during the rainy season due to flash floods. Roads are poorly maintained and lack adequate lighting, and those outside of Dili are often unpaved. Serious accidents are frequent and travelling at night should be avoided. Frequent roadblocks occur.
Avoid driving or riding motorcycles in Timor-Leste, even if you are an experienced motorcyclist, as motorcycle accidents are common.
Do not travel alone, especially after dark or in secluded areas. Avoid unnecessary local travel. Public transportation services are poor and using them is not advised.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General safety information
Facilities and services such as hotels, restaurants and public transportation are available in Dili but are very limited or non-existent elsewhere on the island. Government services are also limited.
Locals regularly find unexploded ordnance in open areas outside Dili. Be careful when trekking in rural areas and stay on well-used paths and roads.
There have been crocodile sightings on beaches in Dili and other popular destinations. Crocodile attacks have also occurred in areas across the country. Check with locals for the latest on the situation.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occurs in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
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 Timor-Leste. 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 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Timor-Leste. It must contain at least one blank page for the placement of a visa.
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.
You can obtain a visa on arrival at Dili’s international airport and the Port of Dili, based on the purpose and length of the intended stay. You must pay an entry fee of US$30 for a visit of up to 30 days.
You can apply to extend your visa past the 30-day limit at the Immigration Service in Dili. Extensions are US$35 for 30 days or US$75 for up to 60 days.
If you plan to enter by land, you need to apply in advance for a Visa Application Authorization. You can do so online or in person at an Embassy or Consulate of Timor-Leste. Once at the border, you can obtain a single or multiple entry visa valid for a stay up to 90 days, if you meet all of the requirements and pay the US$30 fee.
Carry the exact amount for the entry fee in cash. There are no currency exchange facilities at Dili’s international airport or at border crossings.
You must have a letter confirming your place of employment to obtain a work permit.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
- More about visas - Immigration Service of Timor-Leste
- Apply for a visa extension - Immigration Service of Timor-Leste
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to pay for your stay and departure from the country.
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.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
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.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
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 Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast 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 among pediatric travellers, 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 professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
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.
- 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. 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 a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
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
Medical and dental facilities are very limited outside Dili and the level of dental care is poor throughout the country. Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury. Payment up front is often required.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Foreigners are not permitted to interfere or participate in political activities. Offenders are subject to fines, detention and deportation.
Traffic drives on the left.
If you are visiting for less than three months, you may drive with a valid Canadian driver’s licence. Longer-term visitors must obtain a local driver’s licence from the Department of Transport and Communications.
All motor vehicles must be registered with the motor vehicle office.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Timor-Leste.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Timor-Leste, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
Dress and behaviour
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
Certain religious or cultural sites may require special permission to enter.
Timorese law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Homosexuality, however, is not widely accepted.
The currency in Timor-Leste is the U.S. dollar (USD). Newer dollar bills are favoured; many places will not accept bills issued prior to 2007. Be prepared to pay in cash because credit cards are not widely accepted. There are ATMs in Dili; however, they can charge high fees to dispense cash and can often be out of order.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from December to April. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Timor-Leste is located in an active seismic zone and experiences frequent earthquakes. Familiarize yourself with earthquake security measures in hotels and public and private buildings. In the event of an earthquake, pay careful attention to all official warnings of the local authorities.
Dial 115 for emergency assistance.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Timor-Leste. You can obtain consular assistance and further information from the Embassy of Australia in Dili under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement.
Dili - Embassy of Australia
Jakarta - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the the Embassy of Australia in Dili or the Embassy of Canada in Jakarta, Indonesia, 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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