KIRIBATI

Kiribati Flag
Country Description: The Republic of Kiribati is an island group in the Western Pacific Ocean, consisting of an archipelago of low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs. Kiribati became independent on July 12, 1979 and is a parliamentary democracy. The capital of Kiribati is Tarawa. Kiribati includes three administrative units, sixteen atolls of the former Gilbert Islands; eight atolls of the former Line Islands; and eight atolls of the former Phoenix Islands. Kiribati has few natural resources and its economy is very small. The islands are not self sufficient in food. Tourist facilities are not widely available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: There is no Embassy of Kiribati in the United States. For information about entry requirements for Kiribati, travelers may consult the Consular Section of the British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008. The telephone number is (202) 462-1340. Travelers may also contact the nearest British consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, or Seattle.

Medical Facilities: Health facilities in the Republic of Kiribati are not comparable to U.S. health standards. Visitors may wish to refrain from drinking water that is not bottled or boiled. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental overseas medical insurance, including coverage for medical evacuation, may prove useful. The international travelers hotline of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be reached at tel: 404-332-4559 or via the CDC Home Page on the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov/ for additional health information.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police, and to the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad" which is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Civil Aviation Oversight: As a result of an assessment conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June 1994, the FAA has found the government of Kiribati's Civil Aviation Authority to not be in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Kiribati air carrier operations. Operations to the U.S. by Kiribati carriers are not permitted unless they arrange to have their flights conducted by a carrier from a country meeting international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation in the United States at 800-322-7873.

Road Safety: Roads in Tarawa, while satisfactory in some areas, are generally in need of repair. After heavy rains, some road sections experience temporary flooding. Vehicle traffic proceeds at a relatively slow rate. Drinking and driving is a common practice, especially on the weekends. Kiribati was a former British protectorate, and cars drive on the left side of the road.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Kiribati are encouraged to register in person or via telephone with the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, whose consular district includes the Republic of Kiribati. They may also obtain updated information on travel and security within the country from the Embassy.

There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Kiribati. The U.S. Embassy responsible for assisting U.S. citizens in this area of the South Pacific is the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Given the distance, the U.S. Embassy's ability to provide on-the-spot service is limited. Officers of the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands are concurrently accredited to Kiribati and make periodic visits.

The U.S. Embassy in Majuro may be visited in person or contacted by telephone by U.S. citizens in Kiribati. The Embassy is located at Oceanside, Long Island, on the ocean-side of the island's road, near the Mormon church and the "Blue Wall" compound. Via U.S. mail, the address is U.S. Embassy, P.O. Box 1379, Majuro, MH 96960-1379. Telephone: (692) 247-4011, Fax: (692) 247-4012. When the Embassy in Majuro is called after business hours, a recorded tape message provides emergency numbers through which an Embassy duty officer may be reached.

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