Timor-Leste (East Timor)
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Latest updates: The Health tab was updated - travel health notices (Public Health Agency of Canada).
TIMOR-LESTE - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Timor-Leste. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the fragile security situation. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness, monitor the news and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Civil unrest and demonstrations
Outbreaks of civil unrest have occurred in 2006 and 2008. Although the situation is currently generally calm, political tensions remain and violent episodes could occur with little notice.
Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, and stay away from areas where they might occur. Protests can turn violent without warning and a gathering, regardless of its size, may become a target for a terrorist threat or attack. Demonstrations are likely to occur in the vicinity of government buildings, institutions or residences. Violence can occur during significant political events, such as presidential or parliamentary elections. Be particularly cautious in the periods leading up to, during and following these types of events.
Violence and demonstrations may affect transportation routes and land border crossings, as well as flights in and out of Dili’s airport. Disturbances have occurred in the vicinity of Dili’s Comoro airport, areas surrounding the camps of internally displaced persons and at food storage warehouses.
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. Avoid armed non-government groups, including martial arts groups, throughout the country.
Petty crime such as mugging, pickpocketing and purse snatching also occurs, and foreigners are frequently targeted by thieves. Do not show signs of affluence, remain vigilant and ensure that your personal belongings, passports and all other travel documents are secure.
Sexual harassment and violence against women occur. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Do not travel alone, especially after dark or in secluded areas. Avoid unnecessary local travel. Local taxis should not be used. Public transportation services do not meet international safety standards.
Driving conditions can be hazardous. Roads are poorly maintained, lack adequate lighting, and those outside of Dili are often unpaved. Serious accidents are frequent and travelling by road at night should be avoided. Frequent roadblocks occur. All motor vehicles must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Office.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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. International calls are possible only from Dili and several districts close to the capital. Internet access and mobile telephone coverage is available in Dili but is limited elsewhere. Government services are also limited.
Exercise extreme caution at bars and nightclubs as altercations between groups may occur at a variety of venues.
Unexploded ordnance is regularly found in open areas outside Dili. Be careful when trekking in rural areas.
Military operations may take place at any time throughout the country. Remain vigilant at all times. If you encounter a military operation, leave the area immediately. Follow the advice of local authorities and maintain a high level of personal security awareness.
You are encouraged to register with the Embassy of Australia in Dili in order to receive the latest information on situations and events that could affect your safety.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
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 authorities of Timor-Leste 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 Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Timor-Leste, 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.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Visas are issued upon arrival to valid passport holders, based on the purpose and length of the intended stay. An entry fee of US$30 is payable for a visit of up to 30 days. Visa extensions are US$30 for each subsequent 30-day period, to a maximum of 90 days.
You should enter Timor-Leste only through Dili. There are no currency exchange facilities at Dili airport, so carry the exact amount for the entry fee in cash. Canadian travellers who are planning to enter Timor-Leste by land need to obtain a visa prior to entry.
Work permits are issued only to those who hold a letter of authority confirming their place of employment.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
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.
A fee of US$10 is payable upon departure.
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 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.
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 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 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 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
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. 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 throughout the year in the whole 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.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
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 provider.
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 facilities are very limited outside Dili. There are no dental facilities. 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.
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. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Foreigners are not permitted to participate in political activities. Offenders are subject to fines, detention and deportation.
Traffic drives on the left.
Travellers visiting for less than three months may drive in Timor-Leste if they hold a valid driver's licence or an International Driving Permit. Longer-term visitors must obtain a local driver's licence from the Department of Transport.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Timor-Leste. If local authorities consider you a Timor-Leste citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. 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 Timor-Leste 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.
Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. Certain religious or cultural sites may require special permission to enter. Ask local authorities in advance.
The currency is the U.S. dollar (USD). Newer dollar bills are favoured; many places will not accept older bills. Credit cards are not widely accepted. There are three banks in Dili: ANZ Banking Group, Banco Nacional Ultramarino and Bank Mandiri. The ANZ Banking Group has automated banking machines that dispense U.S. dollars to those using debit cards that are Cirrus/Maestro linked. There is also a Western Union for money transfers.
Importation of certain amounts of foreign currency requires a permit, issued by the Banking and Payments Authority (BPA). Contact the BPA prior to arrival (country code: 670/ tel.: 331-3712, 331-3714, 331-7151 or 331-3718/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Timor-Leste is located in an active seismic zone.
The monsoon season extends from December to March. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides year-round, especially in remote locations. Floods and landslides can result in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and can hamper the provision of essential services. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
Consult our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.
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. 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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