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Federated States of Micronesia

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor local sources for changes to travelling conditions.
  • The crime rate is higher in Chuuk than in other states. Crime increases at night. See Safety and security.
  • Tropical storms and typhoons happen throughout the year, mostly from July to November. See Natural disasters.
  • Protect yourself from mosquitoes, day and night. Zika virus is in the state of Kosrae. Dengue fever outbreaks sometimes occur. See Health.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

You can get a tourist visa on arrival for stays of up to 30 days, subject to evidence of an onward or return ticket. If you want to work or study, or if your holiday is longer than 30 days, you’ll need to apply for an entry permit. Contact the Division of Immigration (imhq@mail.fm) if visiting for longer than 30 days.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. For up-to-date information contact the Division of Immigration in Pohnpei. (Tel: 691 320 5844/2605 Fax: 691 320 7250/6240, email: imhq@mail.fm).

If you’re travelling to FSM through the United States of America (which includes Honolulu and Guam), you'll need to meet US entry or transit requirements. Check visa requirements with a US Embassy or Consulate well in advance of travel.

More information: United States of America travel advice

Other formalities

Domestic and international airports have a departure fee that you must pay in cash when departing each airport. Ensure you have cash (US$) with you as ATM facilities are usually not available at airports.

Adults travelling in the company of a child other than their own must carry a notarised letter from the child's legal guardian granting them permission to accompany the child.

Each island has its own customs and immigration procedures.

More information: Customs regulations

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia. Carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The official currency of FSM is the US dollar. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels. ATM facilities are limited. Contact your bank to ensure your Australian cards will work while you are travelling.

Safety and security

Crime

The crime rate is low but there are incidents of petty crime, especially house break-ins. Sexual and other physical assaults against foreigners have occurred.

The incidence of crime is higher in Chuuk than other states. The risk of being involved in an incident increases at night. Alcohol plays a major role in most crimes, especially assaults.

  • Secure your accommodation. Keep doors, windows and gates locked.
  • Keep your vehicle locked at all times.
  • Avoid going out alone at night or in the early morning.
  • Avoid being alone in isolated locations, including beaches.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

Civil unrest is rare but any large public gathering could turn violent and bystanders could be impacted.

  • Avoid protests, demonstrations and other large public gatherings.
  • Keep an eye on the news and other sources for advice of possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.

Local travel

Tours and adventure activities

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including for adventure activities such as diving and yachting, are not always met. Recommended safety precautions and maintenance standards may not be followed. Safety equipment such as lifejackets and seatbelts may not be provided.

If you plan to participate in adventure activities, talk to your travel insurer to check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy. If you'll be diving, ensure the depth you'll dive to is covered, along with hyperbaric chamber and evacuation costs. Check operators' credentials and safety equipment before booking. Don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimum safety requirements. Always use available safety equipment, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider.

Unexploded ordnance

Unexploded World War II ordnance still exists, especially around Yap harbour and adjacent channels. Take care when boating or diving. It is dangerous and illegal to remove objects from sunken World War II wrecks.

Beaches

Dangerous currents in some channels pose a risk to swimmers and surfers. Seek advice from locals on danger spots before swimming.

Road travel

Driving can be hazardous due to poor maintenance of roads, poor driving standards and lack of streetlights. The condition of roads can quickly deteriorate after heavy rain.

Drive on the right-hand side of the road. The speed limit is 40 km/h (25 mph), and in school zones is 24 km/h (15 mph).

  • Check your insurance cover before deciding to drive.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Don't drink and drive.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence 

You can drive on an Australian driver's licence for up to one month after arrival. After that, you will need a local licence.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorcycle. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and authorised limousines, which can be arranged through your hotel.

Public transport

Public transport options are limited in the larger islands and non-existent in more remote locations. Vehicles are available for hire in some locations.

Sea travel

Travel by sea can be dangerous due to inclement weather. Take additional precautions when travelling on the water. Precautions could include:

  • carrying your own life jackets, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and satellite telephone
  • avoiding single-engine boats
  • travelling in convoy with all boats at half capacity or less, and
  • registering your departures and arrivals with a trusted friend.

All boats need an entry permit before entering the seaport. For up-to-date information contact the Department of Justice (Tel: 691 320 5844/2605, Fax: 691 320 7250/6240, E-mail: imhq@mail.fm).

More information:

 

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network for information on aviation safety.

More information:

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

There are heavy penalties for drug offences, including long jail terms and heavy fines. 

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Read Dual nationals.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in FSM. Take care not to offend. If you're female, wear clothing that covers the knees when outside of resorts.

Homosexuality is not illegal, but social and cultural attitudes towards same-sex relationships can be conservative. Open displays of affection between same-sex partners could attract adverse attention and may offend.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

If you intend to hire cars, motorcycles, jet skis or any other motorised vehicle, first check your insurance policy. Seek advice on any restrictions that may apply (such as insurance cover being voided if you are not licensed to ride a motorcycle in Australia).

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel.

Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Keep your medicines in their original packaging. Always carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

The Zika virus is present in FSM, particularly in the state of Kosrae. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas.

More information: Department of Health.

Outbreaks of dengue fever occur, including serious outbreaks from time to time.

Monitor local media for health announcements and protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof.
  • Take measures to avoid insect bites, including always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing.
  • If you're pregnant, discuss your travel plans and possible health risks with your doctor before you travel.

Mumps

Mumps is steadily increasing in FSM. Protect yourself against mumps by:

  • seeking medical advice
  • getting preventative MMR vaccine.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is common, including in Pohnpei.

  • Wear closed-in shoes when walking along the water's edge.
  • Avoid swimming and playing in muddy water or local rivers.
  • Store food in enclosed containers.

More information: Leptospirosis (World Health Organization)

Medical facilities

Hospital and medical facilities are limited. You may need to be evacuated if you become seriously ill or injured. Medical evacuation is very expensive. There are no dedicated medical evacuation planes in FSM. They usually take at least 24 hours to arrive. Medical evacuation using commercial airlines may be delayed due to infrequent flights. Basic supplies and medicines can be limited. Hospitals and doctors may require up-front payment for medical services.

For scuba diving related injuries, facilities are limited. Decompression chambers are available in Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei. Availability and level of staff experience varies considerably.

Natural disasters

You could encounter tropical storms, flooding, typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis in FSM.

If there is a natural disaster or a warning is issued:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

Tropical storms and typhoons

FSM experiences tropical storms and typhoons throughout the year but most occur from July to November, typically peaking in August/September. Tropical storms and typhoons can cause flooding, landslides and disruptions to telecommunications and other services. The direction and strength of typhoons can change with little warning.

If there is a typhoon or severe tropical storm, you may not be able to leave the area: flights in and out of affected areas could be unsafe, delayed or suspended and available flights may fill quickly. Access to sea ports could also be affected. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available for all those who stay.

Stay up-to-date on weather conditions and forecasts, typhoon watches and warnings throughout your stay. Monitor the USA Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the USA National Weather Service Forecast Office and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

If a typhoon or severe storm is approaching, follow the advice for all natural disasters above and:

  • ensure you know your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans
  • identify your local shelter
  • carry your passport at all times (in a waterproof bag) or secure it in a safe, waterproof location.

More information: Severe weather

Earthquakes

FSM is regularly subject to earthquakes and tremors. What you need to do to protect yourself in an earthquake depends on where you are at the time. Read Earthquakes and ask your accommodation provider about local procedures and advice for if there is an earthquake.

If there is an earthquake:

After an earthquake:

  • expect aftershocks
  • anticipate travel delays in some areas and plan accordingly
  • reconfirm travel arrangements and availability of accommodation with travel agents and tour operators.

More information: Earthquakes

Tsunamis

FSM is susceptible to tsunamis. To receive tsunami alerts, register with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination System.

Move immediately to high ground if advised by local or regional authorities or if you experience any of the following:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea.

Do not wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media.

 

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies - Chuuk

  • Chuuk State Hospital: (691) 330 2444
  • Criminal issues, contact police: (691) 330 3612

Emergencies - Kosrae

  • Arthur Sigrah Memorial Hospital: (691) 370 3199
  • Criminal issues, contact police: (691) 370 3333

Emergencies - Yap

  • Yap State Hospital: (691) 350 2115 or (691) 350 3446
  • Criminal issues, contact police: (691) 350 3333

Emergencies - Pohnpei

  • Pohnpei State Hospital: (691) 320 2213
  • Criminal issues, contact police: (691) 320 2221

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas. For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Pohnpei.

Australian Embassy, Pohnpei

H & E Building
Kolonia, Pohnpei
PO Box S
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Telephone: (691) 320 5448
Facsimile: (691) 320 5449
E-mail: phpi.mail@dfat.gov.au
Website: fsm.embassy.gov.au

If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources