Tonga - Tips

Tonga Visa Or Entry Stamp Tonga Consular Information Sheet June 11, 2007 COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Tonga is a South Pacific island nation consisting of 171 islands, of which 45 are inhabited. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy and a member of the British Commonwealth. Its agrarian economy is developing and its tourist industry, although limited, is growing. Tourist facilities are concentrated in and around the main island of Tongatapu where the capital, Nuku’alofa, is located. The Tongan Tourist Bureau, which has a wide range of information of interest to travelers, can be contacted via the Internet at http://www.vacations.tvb.gov.to. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Tonga for additional information. ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and an onward/return ticket are required. Visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days. Tonga collects a departure tax. For further information about entry requirements, travelers, particularly those planning to enter by sea, may wish to contact the Consulate General of Tonga at 360 Post Street, Suite 604, San Francisco, California 94108; telephone 415‑781‑0365. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Tonga and other countries. Find more information about Entry and Exit Requirements pertaining to dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction. SAFETY AND SECURITY: An organized movement for political reform exists in Tonga. Protests in November 2006 became violent, resulting in fires that destroyed much of the downtown area of Nuku’alofa. American citizens are advised to avoid large public gatherings and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations, as they could turn violent at any time. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Americans requiring immediate emergency services in Tonga should call 911 (922 and 933, respectively, are numbers for police and ambulance assistance). The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad. CRIME: Although the crime rate in Tonga is low compared to that in the U.S. and most European countries, petty crime and theft does take place. Though rare, crimes against persons occur as well. Visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables. INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji at (679) 331 4466 (ask for American Citizen Services). If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime. MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical facilities in Tonga are extremely limited. The cities of Nuku'alofa and Neiafu have hospitals with limited emergency and outpatient facilities. Local residents and visitors with serious medical problems are often referred to New Zealand for treatment. For additional information on medical visas for New Zealand, contact the Embassy of New Zealand, 37 Observatory Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20008, (202) 328-4800 or the Consulate General in Los Angeles (310) 207-1605. Internet: http://www.nzembassy.com/home.cfm. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith. MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.Please see our information on medical insurance overseas TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Tonga is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. No roadside assistance is available. Traffic moves on the left in Tonga. While roads in Nuku’alofa are paved, most other roads are not. Animals and unwary pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous. For specific information concerning Tonga driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Consulate General of Tonga in San Francisco. Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.vacations.tvb.gov.to. AVIATION OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Tonga’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Tonga’s air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa/. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Tonga’s customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Tonga of items such as firearms, explosives, motor vehicles, eggs, and certain types of alcohol. It is advisable to contact the Consulate General of Tonga in San Francisco for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our Customs Information U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. U.S. citizens who are detained are encouraged to request that a consular officer from the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, be notified. The cyclone season is November through April. The Fiji Meteorological Service maintains a Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC) in Nadi serving the Southwest Pacific Region. Please see our information aboutnatural disaster preparedness, andthe U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency's(FEMA) informationat http://www.fema.gov. 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 may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Tongan 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. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website. REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: There is no U.S. Embassy or other U.S. diplomatic or consular post in Tonga. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Tonga. Americans living or traveling in Tonga are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Tonga. Americans withoutInternet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji’s capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 331-4466; the fax number is (679) 330-2267. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy’s home page at http://suva.usembassy.gov/. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. * * * This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated August 15, 2006, to update the Safety and Security section. Tonga Visa Or Entry Stamp

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