TONGA

Tonga Flag
Country Description: Tonga is a stable constitutional monarchy and a member of the British Commonwealth. Its agrarian economy is developing and its tourist industry, although limited, is growing. Tourist facilities are concentrated in and around the main islands of Tongatupu where the capital, Nuku'alofa is located, and the Vava'u island group.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: For information about entry requirements, travelers, particularly those planning to enter by sailing vessel, may wish to contact the Consulate General of Tonga, at 360 Post Street, Suite 604, San Francisco, California 94108; telephone 415-781-0365. Travelers may also wish to consider obtaining information regarding entry requirements for New Zealand (See Medical Facilities section) from the Embassy of New Zealand in Washington, D.C., telephone (202) 328-4800.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Tonga are limited. The cities of Nuku'alofa and Neiafu have hospitals with emergency and outpatient facilities. Local residents and visitors with serious medical problems are often referred to New Zealand for treatment. 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 Tonga and New Zealand and includes a provision for medical evacuation may prove useful. The international traveler's hotline of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, telephone (404)332-4559, has additional useful health information. The Internet address is: http://www.cdc.gov/.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: The crime rate in Tonga is low. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on guarding valuables and protection 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 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 that 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: Traffic moves on the left in Tonga. While roads in Nuku'alofa are paved, most other roads are not. Animals and unwary pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous.

Registration/Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy or other U.S. diplomatic post in Tonga. Assistance for U.S. citizens is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Fiji , which is located at 31 Loftus Street in the capital city of Suva. The telephone number is: 679-314-466, the fax number is (679) 300-081. Americans are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji and to obtain up-to-date information on travel and security in Tonga from the Embassy.

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