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Vanuatu - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Vanuatu.
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.
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 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.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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.
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 Vanuatu. 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 of expected departure from Vanuatu.
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.
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
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Chikungunya: advice for travellers - March 19, 2018
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.
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.
- 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.
* 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 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.
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 mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- 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 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 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 citizen of Vanuatu, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
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
There are several active or potentially active volcanoes in Vanuatu. In the event of an eruption, volcanic ash clouds could significantly disrupt air traffic in the region. The Vanuatu Meteorology & Geo-Hazards Department lists active volcanoes and associated alert levels. If you are travelling near a volcano, check for the latest activity and alerts and always follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Latest volcanic alert levels – Meteorology & Geo-Hazards Department of Vanuatu
Monsoon and cyclone seasons
The rainy (or monsoon) and cyclone 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 cyclone 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.
Vanuatu is located in an active seismic zone, 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.
'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 consular assistance, call the High Commission of Australia in Port Vila 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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