COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is composed of over 600 islands and atolls spanning one million square miles of the western Pacific Ocean. The FSM isa federation of four semi-autonomous states (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap), each of which retains considerable autonomy overdomestic affairs, including state civil and criminal justice systems. The federal capital is located at Palikir, on the island of Pohnpei, close to Pohnpei’s largest town, Kolonia. The FSM is a constitutional democracy. The United States extends security guarantees and economic assistance to the FSM under the Compact of Free Association. Under the Compact, FSM citizens may enter the U.S. to study and work without visas. Read the Department of State's Background Notes on Micronesia for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit the FSM, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll, 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.
U.S. Embassy Kolonia
1286 U.S. Embassy Place, Pohnpei (near the movie theater)
P.O. Box 1286, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 96941
Telephone: (691) 320-2187
Duty Officer: (691) 920-2369
Facsimile: (691) 320-2186
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Visit the Embassy of the FSM website for the most current information. You will need a U.S. passport, a completed FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record (FSM Form 5004), and a completed FSM Customs Form in order to enter the FSM. Your passport must be valid for at least 120 days after you enter into the FSM. Your air carrier will distribute the FSM Immigration Arrival and Departure Record and Customs Form before you arrive into FSM. There is no limit to the length of time U.S. citizens can remain in the FSM. All states except Yap have a departure fee that you must pay when you leave each island. The fees are $10 for Pohnpei and Kosrae and $20 for Chuuk. Please make sure you have cash available as credit cards are not accepted and ATM machines are not available at any of the airports. Also note that a health certificate may be required if you are arriving from an area experiencing an epidemic. The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the FSM.
For more information about FSM entry requirements, you may consult the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia at 1725 N Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20038, (202) 223-4383. The FSM also has consulates in Honolulu and Guam.
Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
U.S. Embassy Kolonia accepts passport applications if you are living in or traveling in the FSM; however, U.S. passports are printed in the United States. The time between submitting an application and receiving a new passport is approximately two weeks, but can often be longer. The Embassy can print limited validity passports in emergency situations only.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Always maintain a high level of security, be alert to any unusual activity around your home or business, and report any suspicious incidents to local police authorities.
Unexploded ordnance remains from the heavy fighting and bombardment that took place in and around the islands of Micronesia during World War II. Exercise caution when you travel or dive in the region, especially in Yap harbor and in Chuuk lagoon. It is illegal, as well as dangerous, to remove “souvenirs” from sunken WWII vessels and aircraft.
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CRIME: Throughout the country, foreigners have reportedly been subjected to and singled out for theft and verbal and physical abuse. Alcohol- and drug-related attacks, as well as drunk driving accidents, are a particular concern during weekend and evening hours. The Embassy encourages extra caution during the holidays, when alcohol consumption is especially high. Do not attempt to intervene in disputes between local citizens.
Dress conservatively: it is considered impolite for females to wear clothing that exposes anything above the knee. Modern swimwear may be considered immodest by local standards, and people wearing such clothing outside of hotels that cater to tourists could likely be harassed. Additionally, we suggest women travel in groups and walk in well-lit areas.
Crime rates are higher in Chuuk than in the other states; you should exercise extreme caution at all times, stay off the streets after dark, and ensure that the hotel where you are staying is prepared to assist you in an emergency.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the counterfeit items 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 equivalents to “911” emergency lines for police help in the FSM are state-dependent. On Pohnpei the number for police assistance is 320-2221. On all other islands it is 911. The numbers for fire assistance are: 330-2222 (Chuuk), 370-3333 (Kosrae), 320-2223 (Pohnpei), and 350-3333 (Yap).
Keep in mind that the capacity of local police and fire forces throughout the FSM is extremely low. There is often a significant delay for police to respond to calls, andthey may not respond at all. Commonly, no one picks up when emergency numbers are dialed.
Capacity to investigate crimes is also extremely limited and victims may wait months, years, or decades for an arrest, if ever. Additionally, the justice system of the FSM is extremely slow and legal standards may not be applied. Court-appointed attorneys, as well as judges presiding over cases, may not have appropriate legal training.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in the FSM, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from those in the U.S. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not where you are going. Criminal penalties will also vary from country to country.
If you break local laws in the FSM, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. If you violate FSM laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
In the FSM, for example, driving under the influence could land you in jail immediately. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the FSM are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
There are also things that might be legal in the FSM you but illegal in the United States. 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 with severe penalties.
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 in the FSM. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and/or prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: FSM customs authorities charge import taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, gasoline, and other personal items that are more than the amounts allowed. All imports can be physically inspected by customs officials. Strict quarantine regulations restrict entry of plant and animal products. You should contact the Embassy of the FSM in Washington, D.C., or one of the FSM’s consulates in Honolulu or Guam for specific information regarding customs requirements.
ACCESSIBILITY:While in the FSM, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation vastly different from what you find in the U.S. Neither laws nor regulations mandate accessibility to public facilities, services, or accomodations for persons with disabilities. There are no sidewalks available in the FSM. There is no public transportation. Taxis are run by independent operators that make no provision for people with disabilities. The national Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities; however, action is rarely, if ever, taken by the government.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Health care facilities in the FSM consist of state-run hospitals on each of the four major islands and a few scattered clinics. These facilities often lack basic supplies and medicines, and the quality of health care is very low. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. Medical evacuation for non-ambulatory patients may not be immediately available and can be mexpensive. Scuba divers should note that although there are decompression chambers in Yap, Chuuk, and Pohnpei, their availability and staff experience in treating diving injuries vary considerably.
You can find detailed 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 cannot assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. It is 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:
If your coverage does not go with you when you travel, it is 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 FSM, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Most roads in the FSM are in terrible condition. Though rare, when traffic accidents do happen, they often result in fatalities. The information below concerning the FSM is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Speed limits throughout the FSM are very low: 20 miles per hour (mph) in most places; 15 mph in school zones when children are present. However, the “normal” driving speed is considerably lower; it is not uncommon for drivers to drive at 5 to 10 mph, even when there is no traffic.
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, as in the United States. However, the majority of vehicles in FSM are right-hand drive vehicles imported from Japan; they are not designed to operate on the FSM road network. Drivers in these vehicles do not have an optimum field of vision, which can interfere with driving manoeuvres and the driver's ability to establish visual contact with other road users.
Most roads are narrow and without sidewalks, creating hazards for both drivers and the FSM’s numerous pedestrians. Most roads are in very poor condition, with potholes and little or no shoulder to pull to the side. Roads outside towns are mostly unpaved. All roads are used simultaneously by pedestrians, playing children, animals, and vehicles. Road conditions can worsen significantly after heavy rains, which occur frequently.
There is no formal training in road safety or driving, so many drivers are mof road safety rules. Drivers often make sudden turns or stop without warning to chat with or pick up pedestrians. Taxis are available in state capitals, but you should always be careful since many taxi drivers are reckless. Drunk drivers can create serious hazards, particularly on weekend evenings and holidays. Motorcyclists are required by law to wear helmets, though this is rarely enforced. If you intend to be a resident to the FSM, you should acquire a local driver’s license with the State Police. In most cases, the police will issue a local license to anyone who presents a U.S. driver’s license. If you will be in the FSM temporarily, a U.S. driver’s license itself is sufficient to rent a car and drive for the duration of your visit.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Micronesia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of the FSM’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.
United Airlines is the only commercial carrier serving the FSM. Flight schedules and routes are limited and subject to change. There may be no alternatives if flights are canceled or missed. Flights are usually fully booked, and aircraft weight is an issue due to short runways and the type of aircraft used. Because of these limitations and the numerous transit stops made (the typical routing to get to Kolonia, for instance, would be via Honolulu with intermediate stops in Majuro, Kwajalein, and Kosrae; or via Guam with a stop in Chuuk), with debarking and embarking passengers at each location, baggage sometimes may not be loaded at the departure point or may be off-loaded by mistake and left behind at an intermediate stop. You should keep these logistical challenges in mind when traveling in the region. Missing baggage should be reported immediately to United Airlines ground personnel before onward flight departure.Back to Top
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for the Federated States of Micronesia dated May 6, 2012 to update sections on Crime, Special Circumstances, and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions.