SOLOMON ISLANDS

Solomon Islands Flag
Country Description: The Solomon Islands form an archipelago in the southwest Pacific about 1200 miles northeast of Australia. The capital is Honiara on the island of Guadalcanal. The Solomon Islands is a parliamentary democracy within the British Commonwealth. Tourism facilities are limited, and outside of Honiara may be of poor quality.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: For information about entry requirements travelers, particularly those planning on entering by sailing vessel, may wish to contact the Solomon Islands Mission to the United Nations at 820 Second Avenue, Suite 800A, New York, N.Y. 10017; tel: (212) 599-6192. Travelers may also wish to obtain a visa for Australia or New Zealand (see section on medical facilities) before leaving the United States. Please contact the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C., at 1-800-242-2878 or the Embassy of New Zealand in Washington, D.C., at (202) 328-4800 for further information.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are adequate but limited. The nearest reliable medical facilities are in Australia or New Zealand. Travelers who anticipate the need for on-going medical treatment are advised to obtain visas for Australia before leaving the United States. Australian visas are issued in Honiara, but in a case involving medical treatment, the Australian visa authorities will require a referral from a local doctor, proof of acceptance by an Australian doctor, and proof of the patient's ability to pay for the medical treatment. Hospitals and pharmacies in the Solomon Islands are limited to population centers and missions.

Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payments for health services. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside of the United States. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance which specifically covers treatment in Australia, New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands and includes a provision for medical evacuation may prove useful. Medical conditions arising as a result of diving accidents may require medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand. The incidence of malaria is extremely high. Travelers to the Solomon Islands should consult their local physician and the international travelers hotline at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tel: 404-332-4559, for additional health information. Internet address: http://www.cdc.gov/.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Major crimes against travelers are not common, though petty crimes against property frequently occur in the capital city, Honiara. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad." It 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 form 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.

Road Safety: In the Solomon Islands, vehicular traffic moves on the left. Surfaced roads are found only around Honiara, located on Guadalcanal Island. These surfaced roads are two lane, not well marked, and are poorly lit at night. The remaining roads in the Solomon Islands are made of coral or gravel or are dirt tracks. Travelers must take care when driving off main roads to avoid trespassing on communal land.

Registration/Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in the Solomon Islands. Assistance for U.S. citizens is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea, which is located on Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby. Also use this address for courier service deliveries. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1492, Port Moresby, N.C.D. 121, Papua New Guinea; tel: 675-321-1445; fax: 675-321-1593.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and to obtain updated information on travel and security from the Embassy.

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