UK authorities issue travel advice for Fiji

News about: Fiji


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Still current at: 02 April 2012
Updated: 02 April 2012
No restrictions in this travel advice Avoid all but essential travel to part(s) of country Avoid all but essential travel to whole country Avoid all travel to part(s) of country Avoid all travel to whole country

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Travel Summary, the Safety and Security - Local Travel and Road Travel sections and the Natural Disasters section (Flooding). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Fiji.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

  • The tropical cyclone season in Fiji normally runs from November to April. A tropical depression is currently affecting the Fiji group, causing severe flooding in the western division. A State of Natural Disaster was declared for parts of the western division of Viti Levu with effect from Friday 30 March and a tropical cyclone alert was issued on 2 April. Travellers are strongly advised to monitor the latest weather bulletins on the Fiji Meteorological Service website, in local newspapers and on Radio Fiji 2 on 105 FM, and to follow the advice of the local authorities. See and Seealso Natural Disasters and Health sections.
  • Almost 25,000 British nationals visit Fiji every year. Most visits to Fiji are trouble-free. See General - Consular Assistance - Statistics. Travellers should take extra care when visiting isolated locations, especially when travelling alone.

  • Women travelling alone should exercise caution to ensure their personal security. There have been serious cases of sexual assaults against foreign nationals in Fiji. See our Victims of Crime and Women Travellers pages.

  • Restrictions on public meetings and freedom of speech are in place under the Public Order Act. You should avoid all political rallies and avoid openly discussing political issues. See Safety and Security - Political Situation.

  • Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.

  • There is a low threat from terrorism in Fiji. Attacks can be frequent, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Safety and Security -Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism in Fiji. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See our Terrorism Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Crime

The level of serious crime is generally low, but incidents of petty theft are fairly common. Be particularly careful with personal possessions and travel documents in cities and other popular tourist destinations. Ensure personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Avoid carrying everything in one bag. Do not leave your belongings unattended, including in Fijis main International Airports of Nadi and Nausori where tourists have been targeted with the opportunistic theft of passports and luggage. Be alert when you are withdrawing cash from cash machines.

Before you travel, make copies of valuable documents such as your passport, travel documents and travellers cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

Take particular care when walking at night in cities and towns and when visiting isolated locations. Women travelling on their own should exercise caution to ensure their personal security. There have been cases of serious sexual assaults against foreign nationals in Fiji, including against British women.

See our Victims of Crime and Women Travellers pages.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air Travel

Due to the ongoing flooding following the Tropical Depression, travellers are advised to check the Fiji Airports website for information on international and domestic flights.

An Airport Departure Tax is included in ticket prices. Evidence of a return or onward journey is required to enter Fiji.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Sea/River Travel

There are dangerous rip tides along many of the reefs and river estuaries. Always comply with warning signs, especially red flags, and only swim from approved beaches. If you plan to go out to the reefs or engage in any water sports/tourist activities, you should satisfy yourself that the company concerned is using the most up-to-date equipment, including all of the requisite safety features and that they are fully licensed and insured. See our River and Sea Safety page.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel

Travellers are advised to take care when driving due to the damage caused to the roads by the flooding from the Tropical Depression. Some roads have been partially washed away leading to diversions and others have become single lane traffic only.

Drivers and pedestrians should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced and traffic violations can occur. When taking a taxi you should use a licensed taxi, denoted by a yellow registration plate.

You should be aware not all minibuses currently operating in Fiji are licensed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). As with taxis, those with yellow number plates have been approved by the LTA. Unlicensed minibuses will probably not be insured.

See our Driving Abroad page.

Safety and Security -Political Situation

Fiji Country Profile

A military coup took place in Fiji in December 2006. In April 2009, the then President abrogated the Constitution and installed an Interim Government. As a result, Fiji remains suspended from the Pacific Island Forum and the Commonwealth. Although Public Emergency Regulations were lifted in January 2012, many restrictions remain in place under the Public Order Act including restrictions on public meetings, political discussions and media censorship. Travellers should exercise caution and monitor the local situation for developments. Avoid all political rallies and avoid openly discussing political issues. Further information is available in the Fiji country profile.

Never become involved in drugs of any kind in Fiji. Possession of even small quantities can lead to imprisonment and are likely to carry a hefty fine. Possession of any amount of marijuana carries a mandatory three-month prison sentence.

You may be invited to participate in the local ceremony of drinking kava. Be aware of the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency advice on the effects this can have on the consumer's health.

Topless bathing and nudity in public is forbidden. Shoulders and knees should be covered during kava ceremonies and when in rural villages.

Homosexuality in Fiji has been decriminalised by the Crime Decree which came into effect in February 2010. However, gay and lesbian travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, particularly when visiting rural communities.

See our Your trip page.

Entry Requirements - Visas
Entry visas are not required for visits of up to four months. As a visitor you must have an onward or return ticket and a valid visa for the next country of disembarkation. If you are visiting Fiji on business you will be granted a stay for 14 days on arrival.

A visa is required for visits of longer than four months. Applications for visas can be made at the Fiji High Commission in London.

Those entering Fiji by boat are subject to the same visa requirements as those travelling to Fiji by plane. Yachts can only enter through Suva, Lautoka, Savusavu and Levuka.

Entry Requirements - Passport validity
You must hold a valid passport to enter Fiji. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Fiji.

Entry Requirements - Importing meat or dairy products
Fiji customs enforce strict quarantine regulations and x-ray all in-bound luggage at Nadi airport. Most perishable foodstuffs will be confiscated on arrival, unless arriving from a country with quarantine agreements with Fiji.

Entry Requirements - Importing or exporting currency
Visitors and residents are required to declare currency amounts in excess of FJ$5,000 (£1,600 approx).

Entry Requirements - Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.

In the case of Fiji, no such documentation is required for visitors. But it is required for those applying for work and/or residency permits. For further information contact the Fiji High Commission in London.

Health care facilities are adequate for routine medical treatment, but are limited in range and availability. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation could be a likely option for treatment, and you should ensure that your insurance policy covers this.

In May 2011, the Fiji Ministry of Health reported that typhoid in Fiji is generally declining, however from January to May 2011, 149 cases were reported and typhoid hotspots are monitored by public health officials.

Following the heavy flooding in the Nadi, Lautoka, Naudroga, Raki Raki and Ba Districts of Viti Levu in January and February 2012, suspected cases of typhoid and dengue fever were reported in the flood-affected areas. In the longer-terms, according to the Fiji Ministry of Health, typhoid is in decline, but a significant number of cases still occur each year. While there is no vaccination for dengue fever, there are preventative measures you can take and you should also exercise precautions to avoid exposure to typhoid.

There have also been cases of Rubella in Fiji, with the most recent outbreak in July 2011. For further information on the disease and vaccination requirements visit the National Travel Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) website.

In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around less than 1,000 adults aged 15 or over in Fiji were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 0.1 of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

Seek medical advice before travelling to Fiji and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre NaTHNaC or NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

See our Travel Health and Eat and drink Safely pages.

Natural Disasters - Earthquakes
Fiji is in an earthquake zone and suffers from tremors from time to time. These can trigger tsunami alerts. Familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake, and take note of earthquake and tsunami related instructions e.g. in hotel rooms. For more information on earthquakes and their effects, please visit the USGS website.

Natural Disasters - Tropical Cyclones

On 30 March, a State of Natural Disaster was declared for parts of the western division of Viti Levu and a tropical cyclone alert was issued on 2 April. Travellers are advised to check local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

The tropical cyclone season in Fiji normally runs from November to April. Throughout this period there is a high risk of strong winds and heavy rains with associated flooding, landslides and road closures.

Monitor weather updates from the Fiji Meteorological Service, in local newspapers and on Radio Fiji 2 on 105 FM. See our Tropical Cyclones page for more detailed information about what to do if you are caught up in a storm.

Natural Disasters - Flash Floods
Flash floods resulting in landslides and road blockages are not uncommon throughout the Fiji Islands. In periods of heavy rain, which can occur at any time of year, check with your tour operator or resort before travelling, particularly by road.

General -Insurance
You should take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance before travelling. Check for any exclusions and ensure your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.

If things do go wrong when you are overseas see our When Things Go Wrong page.

General - Mobile phones
The mobile phone network generally works well in cities and large towns but coverage in some rural areas and outlying islands can be limited or non-existent. You can use your UK mobile phone in Fiji if global roaming has been activated, but making and receiving calls can be expensive. Many UK mobile phones will not work in Fiji as your mobile phone provider may not have an international roaming agreement with Fiji’s mobile phone providers, Vodafone and Digicel. Many visitors prefer to buy a Fiji SIM card on arrival. These are relatively cheap to buy and calls, both local and international are cheaper than using a UK SIM card. Fijian SIM cards are available at Nadi International Airport and at convenience stores and supermarkets. Registration of a SIM card purchased locally is mandatory.

In the outer islands the mobile phone network coverage is patchy. Contact with family and friends may be affected.

General - Consular Assistance - Statistics
Almost 25,000 British nationals visit Fiji every year. Most visits to Fiji are trouble–free. 10 British nationals required consular assistance in Fiji in the period 01 April 2010 - 31 March 2011 for the following types of incident; three deaths; one hospitalisation; and one arrest.

General - Replacing your passport
If your passport is lost, stolen or expired, there are no facilities to issue full validity UK passports in Fiji; these are all issued at our Regional Passport Processing Centre in New Zealand. Details on how to complete the application process can be seen on the UK in New Zealand.

If your need to travel falls within the minimum full validity passport processing time of 3 - 4 weeks, you should contact the British High Commission in Fiji - and they will do their best to help you. You may be eligible for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD). We make every effort to makes sure compassionate cases are processed quickly.

If you are issued with an Emergency Travel Document, you must also apply for a new exit visa from the Fijian authorities. A fee may be charged. Further information can be obtained on the Fiji Immigration website.

Please see the section on victims of crime if your passport has been stolen along with other possessions whilst you are abroad.

General - Money
Most tourist hotels and many restaurants accept credit cards. But not all ATMs accept the full range of credit cards issued overseas. The Australian and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) and Westpac ATMs accept UK Visa and Mastercard, and UK debit cards with Maestro and/or Cirrus symbols.

Source: UK Department of Foreign Affairs Date: 02-Apr-2012 09:52:12