MALDIVES

Maldives Flag
Country Description: The Republic of Maldives is a group of islands west of Sri Lanka, off the southern tip of India. Facilities for tourism are relatively well developed in most beach areas.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport is required. Tourist visas are issued upon arrival at no charge. Visitors must have proof of onward/return transportation and sufficient funds. For further information, the traveler can contact the Embassy of Maldives in Sri Lanka, at 25 Melbourne Avenue, Colombo 4, Sri Lanka, or the Maldives Mission to the U.N. in New York, telephone (212) 599-6195.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited and some medicine may be unavailable. Doctors and clinics often require immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental coverage which specifically covers overseas treatment has proven useful. Information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers' hotline, telephone (404) 332-4559.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: There is a low rate of crime in Maldives. However, petty crime does exist. Valuables left on beaches are subject to thievery. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka has consular jurisdiction over Maldives. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Aboard" and "Tips for Travelers to South Asia." They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Most transportation in Maldives is by boat or seaplane. Only a few of the islands are big enough to support automobiles. In the capital of Male, vehicle traffic moves on the left (British style). Radio taxis are available. Transportation between the airport and Male, as well as nearby resort islands, is by motorized water taxis called dhonis. Some resorts operate fast speedboats for their guests. Several local companies provide air taxi service by seaplane and helicopter to outlying islands. Air taxis stop flying one hour before sunset. Visitors to distant resorts arriving at night normally stay at hotels in Male overnight. Travelers should confirm all transfer arrangements in advance.

Drug Penalties: Travelers are subject to the laws and legal practices of the country in which they travel. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strictly enforced in Maldives. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. It is prohibited by law to bring alcohol into Maldives because it is an Islamic Republic. Alcoholic beverages are available, however, to tourists on resort islands.

Registration/Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy in Maldives but the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka is also accredited to Maldives. The Consular Agency in Male closed on August 9, 1995. Any inquiries concerning Maldives should be directed to the American Embassy in Sri Lanka. U.S. citizens who register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, can obtain updated information on travel and security within Maldives. The mailing address for the U.S. Embassy is P.O. Box 106, 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka. The Embassy's telephone number during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, is (94-1) 448-007. The Embassy's afterhours and emergency telephone number is (94-1) 447-355.

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