COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Tuvalu is a South Pacific island nation consisting of four reef islands and five atolls. A self-governing member of the British Commonwealth, Tuvalu has a parliamentary system of government. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Tuvalu for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Tuvalu, please take the time to tell our Embassy in Fiji, which covers U.S. citizens in Tuvalu, about your trip. If you use our service, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here is the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Tuvalu. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Tuvalu.
U.S. Embassy Suva
158 Princes Road,Suva, Fiji
Emergency after-hours telephone: (679) 772-8049
Facsimile: (679) 330-2267
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passportwith 6 months validity, onward/return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds for your stay in Tuvalu are required.
Visitor permits valid for up to three months are issued upon arrival. For further information about entry requirements, travelers
may wish to contact the Tuvalu Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, Suite 400 D, 800 2nd Avenue, New York, New York 10017, telephone: (212) 490-0534, facsimile: (212) 808-4975.
Travelers may also contact the Chief Immigration Officer (acting), Department of Immigration, Private Mail Bag, Vaiaku, Funafuti,
Tuvalu, Telephone: ( 688) 20240. These requirements are particularly enforced for individuals planning to enter by sea. Tuvalu’s
customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Tuvalu of items such
as agricultural products. Visit the Tuvalu Permanent Mission to the United Nations website for the most current visa information and customs restrictions.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Tuvalu.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: U.S. citizens in Tuvalu requiring immediate emergency assistance should call the 24-hour police command center in Tuvalu at (688) 20726.
Stay up to date by:
CRIME: Tuvalu has a low crime rate. However, visitors should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any suspicious incidents to local police authorities.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Tuvalu is 911 and the 24-hour police command center number in Tuvalu is : (688) 20726.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Tuvalu, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In Tuvalu, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. It is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Tuvalu, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy in Fiji, as soon as you are arrested or detained.
Accessibility: Tuvalu prohibits discrimination on the basis of physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disability. Supplementary state services to address the special needs of persons with disabilities are very limited. There are no mandated building accessibility provisions for persons with disabilities. The one multi-story government building has elevators, but they were recently found to be not operational. There were no elevators in other multi-story buildings. The Fusi Alofa Association (Tuvalu National Disabled Persons Organization) and the Tuvalu Red Cross are useful points of contact for additional accessibility questions. The Community Affairs Department in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development is responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.
Currency: In Tuvalu, the Australian dollar is the legal currency. The Tuvalu National Bank accepts traveler’s checks and most major currencies, including US dollars. Travelers should be prepared to pay cash for hotel bills and all other services since credit card services are not available. There are no ATMs on Tuvalu, so it may not be possible to withdraw cash from overseas bank accounts.
Citizenship Documents: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times so they can readily provide proof of identity and U.S. citizenship if questioned by local officials.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical and dental care are very limited in Tuvalu, including in Funafuti, the capital. Serious medical problems are referred to health professionals and hospitals in Guam or Hawaii. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions, on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Tuvalu, road conditions differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Tuvalu is provided for general reference only and may not be completely accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic moves on the left in Tuvalu. The main roads on Funafuti are paved, but other roads on other islands are generally unpaved. Animals and unwary pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous. For specific information concerning Tuvalu driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Tuvalu Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Tuvalu, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Tuvalu’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.Back to Top
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Tuvalu dated January 13, 2012 with no substantive changes.