VANUATU

Vanuatu Flag
Country Description: Vanuatu consists of 80 islands located in a Y-shaped archipelago, 1300 miles northeast of Sydney, Australia. It is an independent parliamentary democracy and a member of the British Commonwealth, with a primarily agricultural economy. Tourist facilities may be limited outside of the capital, Port Vila, located on the island of Efate.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: For information about entry requirements, travelers, particularly those planning to enter by sailing vessel, may wish to consult the Vanuatu Mission to the United Nations at 865 U. N. Plaza, 4th Floor Room 41, First Avenue and 48th Street, New York, NY 10017; tel: (212) 593-0144/0215, fax: (212) 593-0219. 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. Also note that medical conditions arising as a result of diving accidents may require medical evacuation to 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 Port Vila, 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.

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 Vanuatu and includes a provision for medical evacuation may prove useful. Travelers to Vanuatu 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: Violent crime is rare in Vanuatu, however petty theft does occur. 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 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: Vanuatu is a chain of several larger islands and many smaller islands and atolls; travel between them is mainly done by light plane and boat. Only Port Vila and the town of Luganville, located on Espiritu Santo Island, have surfaced roads on which a speed limit of 50 kilometers an hour is enforced. Surfaced roads are two lane and can be narrow in spots; care should be taken especially when driving at night or along unfamiliar routes. The roads found in all other areas are unsurfaced and dirt tracks. Drivers on all roads should give way to traffic coming from the right. 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 Vanuatu. Assistance for U.S. citizens is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, which is located on Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. This address should also be used 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.

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

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