1. Keeping in touch
Every year, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' consular services receives many calls from worried family members and friends who have not heard from someone who is travelling. Follow these steps so that your friends and family can also have a worry-free time:
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with your family or a friend.
- Arrange options for staying in touch with family and friends while overseas (mobile phone, prepaid or postpaid international calling, SMS, email etc.).
- Give your family and friends an indication of how often they will hear from you, and stick to your word.
2. The law
When it comes to the law, pleading ignorance is no defence. Always obey the laws of the country you are visiting, even if they are different from those in Fiji. In some cases you may be bound by Fijian laws as well.
Do not use, carry or get involved with drugs overseas. Consular assistance cannot override local law, even where local laws appear harsh by Fijian standards. Some countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, may impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for drug offences.
4. Consular services and the law
Some Fijian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism and child sex tourism, apply Fijians overseas. The provision of consular assistance assistance to Fijians does not extend to protecting you from the consequences of actions that are prohibited under Fijian law or the laws of the country you are visiting. Consular officials have to report serious criminal misconduct of this kind to the Fiji Police Force.
Whichever country you are visiting , be aware that local laws and penalties do apply to you. If you arrested or jailed, Consular services cannot get you out of jail.
5. Local customs
It is important to respect local cultures and customs when travelling. Here are few tips to assist you:
- Be aware of the customs of the country you are travelling to.
- Dress appropriately. Look at what the locals are wearing and be sensitive to local standards, particularly in those countries with strong Islamic customs.
- Be respectful of places or worship, such as churches, mosques or temples
- Always ask permission before taking photos of people and respect their wishes if they decline. In some countries, it is illegal to take photos of certain places, such as government buildings, airports and ports or anything that may be police or military property.
- In some countries it is not acceptable for couples to be very affectionate in public, so be discreet.
6. Family matters
If you want a child born to you overseas to be recognised as an Fijian citizen and travel on a Fijian passport, you must register them as a citizen by descent.
If you are planning to marry overseas, be aware that laws regarding marriage vary from country to country and legal complications can arise. Make sure you check out the legal, cultural and religious implications for yourself, your partner and any current or future children.
Fijians intending to marry overseas should contact either a legal practitioner or the embassy or consulate of the country they would like to marry in for details on the requirements they must meet.
It can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to bring the remains of loved ones home - make sure your travel insurance covers this before you go.