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Vanuatu - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Vanuatu. Exercise normal security precautions.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Violent crime in Vanuatu is low, but petty crime is prevalent. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Do not visit beaches or other isolated areas alone. This is particularly important for women. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Public disturbances occur on occasion. Avoid demonstrations and closely monitor local developments.
The islands of Efate and Santo have paved roads. Roads in all other areas are unpaved or dirt tracks. The speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour.
Taxis may be hailed on the street and are metered. Minibuses are also available.
Most inter-island travel is by air or sea. Boat services between Vanuatu’s islands are often unreliable, and seaworthiness cannot be assured. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.
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
You are encouraged to register with the High Commission of Australia in Port Vila in order to receive the latest information on situations and events that could affect your safety.
Tourist facilities and services are good but limited outside Port-Vila.
Sharks are present in the waters off Vanuatu, particularly around the islands of Espiritu Santo and Malekula. Seek advice from local authorities before swimming.
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 Vanuatu 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 Vanuatu Mission 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 Vanuatu, which must be valid for at least for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country 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 visa: Not required (for stays less than 30 days)
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required to visit Vanuatu.
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.
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.
* 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.
There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
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 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 and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. 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.
- 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. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like 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 limited. Doctors and hospitals may demand immediate cash payment for health services. There is only one decompression chamber in Vanuatu, located in Port-Vila, Efate. Many of the popular diving sites are located on other islands, and it may take several hours to reach facilities in the event of an accident. Serious injuries may require medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand. Emergency evacuations may cost tens of thousands of dollars.
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.
Alcohol may not be purchased between Saturday and Monday (except in hotels or restaurants) or during elections.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Vanuatu. If local authorities consider you a Vanuatu 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 Vanuatu 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.
Always ask permission before photographing locals.
Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities, especially in areas outside beaches and hotels.
The currency is the vatu (VUV). Australian dollars are accepted at most shops, restaurants and hotels in Port-Vila. Traveller's cheques and major credit cards are accepted. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available at the ANZ and Westpac banks.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Vanuatu is located along an active volcanic line, which causes frequent earthquakes and tidal waves. Earthquakes have caused landslides and structural damage to buildings and bridges on the island of Efate in the past.
On December 8, 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the southern Solomon Islands. Aftershocks may occur. Expect power outages and communication and transportation service disruptions in affected areas. Exercise caution, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media reports.
There are several active or potentially active volcanoes in Vanuatu. Seek the advice of local authorities before venturing close to a volcano.
The rainy (or monsoon) and typhoon seasons in the South Pacific extend from November to April. These storms can result in significant loss of life, extensive damage to infrastructure and limited essential services.
During a typhoon or monsoon, hotel guests may be required to leave accommodations near the shore and move to safety centres inland. Travel to and from outer islands may be disrupted for some days.
Tropical Cyclone Pam caused extensive damage as it passed through Vanuatu in March 2015. Tourist infrastructure are being repaired and rebuilt and essential services restored. Some hotels and resorts are not yet fully operational, and accommodation options may be limited.
Consult our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.
'In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 111 / 22222
- medical assistance: 112 / 115 / 25566
- firefighters: 113 / 22333
There is no resident Canadian government office in Vanuatu. You can obtain consular assistance and further information from the High Commission of Australia in Port Vila under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement.
Port Vila - High Commission of Australia
Canberra - High Commission of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the High Commission of Australia in Port Vila and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885.
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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