TUVALU

Tuvalu Flag
Country Description: Tuvalu is a self-governing member of the British Commonwealth. Its economy is based on agriculture, stamps, copra, tourism and fishing. Postage stamps, prized by collectors, are a major export.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: For information about entry requirements travelers, particularly those planning to enter by sailing vessel, may wish to contact the Embassy of Tuvalu, 16 Gorrie Street, Suva, Fiji. The telephone number is 679-301-355.

Medical Facilities: Limited medical and dental clinics are available in the capital of Funafuti. Serious medical problems are referred to Guam or Hawaii. 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 Tuvalu and includes a provision for medical evacuation may prove useful. Travelers to Tuvalu may consult the international travelers hotline at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at telephone: (404)332-4559, for additional health information. Internet address: http://www.cdc.gov/.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Tuvalu has a low crime rate. 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 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 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.

Road Safety: Traffic moves on the left in Tuvalu. The few roads on these tiny islands are generally unpaved. 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 diplomatic post in Tuvalu. Assistance for U.S. citizens is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Fiji located at 31 Loftus Street, Suva, Fiji; telephone 679-314-466; Fax 679-300-081. Americans are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Tuvalu from the U.S. Embassy.

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