Federated States of Micronesia

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 17 April 2014.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Micronesia overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • The incidence of crime is higher in Chuuk than other states in Micronesia. The risk of being involved in an incident increases at night.
  • Dengue fever outbreaks can occur in the Federated States of Micronesia. For more information, see health.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
click on image to expand

Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the Chief, Division of Immigration & Labor Department of Justice FSM National Government, PO Box PS-105, Palikir, Pohnpei FM 96941, for the most up-to-date information.
Tel: 691.320.5844/2605 Fax: 691.320.7250/6240 E-mail: imhq@mail.fm

If you are transiting Guam or another US point of entry en route to the Federated States of Micronesia, you are required to meet USA entry/transit requirements. Make sure you check visa requirements with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate well in advance of your travel. For more information, refer to our travel advice for the United States of America.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information on terrorism and our General advice to Australian travellers for tips on staying safe overseas.

Crime

The crime rate in the Federated States of Micronesia is low, although, there are incidents of petty crime, especially house break-ins.

The incidence of crime is higher in Chuuk than other states in Micronesia. Foreigners have been subject to theft, verbal and physical assaults. Alcohol has played a major role in most crimes, especially assaults. The risk of being involved in an incident increases at night.

Sexual assaults against foreigners have occurred. Travellers should avoid going out alone at night or in the early morning, or being alone in isolated locations, including beaches.

Money and valuables

The US dollar is the official currency of the Federated States of Micronesia. Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out if your ATM card will work overseas.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Australians can drive on an Australian driver’s licence for one month after entering the Federated States of Micronesia. Australians should be aware that vehicles are driven on the right side of the road. Driving can be hazardous due to poor maintenance of roads, poor driving standards and a lack of streetlights. The condition of roads can quickly deteriorate after heavy rain. For further advice, see our road travel page.

The safety standards you might expect of tour operators are not always met, especially for adventure sports such as diving and yachting. Sufficient life jackets and adequate safety equipment may not be provided. Recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. Check operators' credentials and safety equipment beforehand and ensure your travel insurance policy covers your planned activities. Divers visiting the Federated States of Micronesia should have travel and health insurance that includes coverage for deep sea diving, hyperbaric chamber and evacuation costs.

There are dangerous currents in some channels. These can pose a risk to swimmers and surfers. Advice should be sought from locals on danger spots before swimming.

Unexploded World War II ordnance still exists in the Federated States of Micronesia, especially around Yap harbour and adjacent channels. Care should be taken when boating or diving.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about Aviation Safety and Security.

Laws

When you are in the Federated States of Micronesia, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

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

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties for up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in the Federated States of Micronesia and you should take care not to offend. Women in particular should dress modestly and wear clothing that is at least knee length if outside of resorts.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Divers visiting the Federated States of Micronesia should have travel and health insurance that includes coverage for deep sea diving, hyperbaric chamber and evacuation costs. 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 a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Hospital and medical facilities are adequate for routine medical services. Basic supplies and medicines can be limited. Hospitals and doctors may require up-front payment for medical services. Evacuation may be required in cases of serious illness or accident. Medical evacuation costs could be considerable (in the tens of thousands of dollars).

Decompression chambers are available in Yap and Chuuk.

Outbreaks of dengue fever can occur, including serious outbreaks from time to time. You should monitor local media for health announcements and take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. For further information see the WHO factsheet on dengue fever.

Outbreaks of leptospirosis can occur, including serious outbreaks from time to time, especially around Pohnpei. It is recommended you wear closed-in shoes when walking along the water’s edge, avoid swimming and playing in muddy water, and store food in enclosed containers. For information on leptospirosis, see the World Health Organization website.

Where to get help

In the Federated States of Micronesia you can obtain consular assistance from the:

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: www.fsm.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to the Federated States of Micronesia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The typhoon season is from June to December which may disrupt services. Typhoon and storm information for the Western Pacific Ocean region is available from the USA Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the USA National Weather Service Forecast Office or Humanitarian Early Warning Service. In the event of severe weather, you should monitor these websites. For further information, see also our Severe weather page.

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches. See the Tsunami Awareness page from the Australian Emergency Management Institute.

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.