Marshall Islands

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Tuesday, 13 January 2015.   This is a new travel advice. We advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Marshall Islands overall

Summary

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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact Division of Immigration, PO Box 890 Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960, and Tel: 692.625.8633/4572, Fax: 692.625.4246 E-mail: rmiimmig@ntamar.net or the Republic of the Marshall Islands embassy . in the USA.

If you are transiting Hawaii or another US point of entry en route to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, 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.

You should read the entry and exit section of our travel advice for the United States of America.

Safety and security

Crime

The crime rate in the Republic of the Marshall Islands is low, although, there are incidents of petty crime, especially house break-ins. 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.
Travellers should take care going out at night or in the early morning. Isolated locations, including beaches, also pose a greater risk at crime.

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.

Money and valuables

The US dollar is the official currency of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

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.

Local travel

Australians can drive on an Australian driver’s licence for one month after entering the Republic of the Marshall Islands. 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.

Airline safety

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

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, 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. Research local laws before travelling.

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

Penalties for drug-related offences, including marijuana use, are severe and include long jail terms and heavy fines.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australian 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 of 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 Republic of the Marshall Islands 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. 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).
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.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. The contact number for local police is 671-475-8498.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Australians and Canadians can obtain consular assistance from the nearest Australian Embassy, which is in the Federated States of Micronesia at:

Australian Embassy

H & E Enterprises Building
Kolonia
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
Telephone (691) 320 5448
Facsimile (691) 320 5449
Email phpi.mail@dfat.gov.au
Website www.fsm.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, 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. The Republic of the Marshall Islands experiences tropical storms and typhoons throughout the year, especially in August, which can cause flooding, landslides and other disruptions to services. The direction and strength of typhoons can change with little warning. Up-to-date information can be obtained from the World Meteorological Organisation Severe Weather Information Centre, the Humanitarian Early Warning Service and the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. In the event of severe weather you should monitor these websites and other local sources of information.

In the event of an approaching typhoon, you should identify your local shelter. We encourage Australians in affected areas to follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor the media for the latest developments. Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. The typhoon could also affect access to sea ports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe typhoon may not be available to all who may choose to stay. Familiarise yourself with your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. You should carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts. For further information, see 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.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



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.