Up-to-date contact information for Fiji overseas missions is listed on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website as www.foreignaffairs.gov.fj
If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. That might sound a bit harsh, but organising insurance is an essential part of preparing for your overseas trip. If you are uninsured, you (or your family) are personally liable for covering any medical or other costs resulting from unexpected incidents or accidents.
Comprehensive travel insurance should cover all medical expenses for injury or illness, as well as theft of your valuable and cancellations or interruptions to your flight plans, baggage damage and more. It also saves you the worry and financial burden if you have an accident or illness overseas – medical costs can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
Shop around, including online, to find the policy that best suits your individual needs:
You might just want to jump on a plane and get moving, but it’s important that all your documentation is in order before you leave. Find out what you need in advance as some documents can take a while to organize.
Your passport is your most important travel document. You will need it to leave and enter Fiji and other countries, obtain visas and cash traveller’s cheques – and in some countries you must carry it at all times as a form of identification.
Check that your passport has at least six month’s validity from your planned date of arrival to Fiji.
Safeguard your passport at all times. Aside from the inconvenience and time taken to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, an additional fee will apply to get a replacement. A replacement passport may also have limited validity.
Report the loss of theft of your passport to your nearest Fiji embassy, high commission or consulate. This is required by law.
If your passport has been damaged in any way, before your next trip phone 3312622 or visit your nearest Fiji Immigration Office office or your nearest Fiji High Commission to check whether your passport is usable for international travel.
Write your contact details on the Emergencies page (last page) of your passport (in pencil, so that you can make changes if you need to). Apart from this, it is illegal to alter or tamper with your passport in any way.
Always carry your passports separately from other forms of identification. This will ensure you will have other proof of identity documents if your passport is stolen.
Find out early which visas you need by contacting the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of the country you plan to visit. Your travel agent might also be to provide advice on visa requirements.
A visa does not necessarily guarantee entry to a country, particularly if authorities suspect you might breach the conditions upon which the visa was issued.
When you enter some countries, you receive an entry permit that tells you the date when you must leave. If you want to stay longer you must apply for an extension. Be aware that visa-free schemes may not permit extensions and if you overstay, you could be fined or jailed.
Don’t assume you can use your Fijian license overseas – many countries you’ll need an international driving permit to rent a car. You can get an international driving permit from the Lands & Roads Authority.
Make two photo copies of the following documents and leave one copy at home with your family or a friend and other in a safe place while you’re travelling, separate from the originals:
If you or your parents were born in another country, you may be considered a citizen or national of that country, even though you are a Fijian citizen and even if you have never traveled outside Fiji.
Some countries offer citizenship to people who marry their citizens, or to people whose grandparents were born in that country. Before you leave, it is important to know about the implications of local laws for dual nationals – for example you may be liable for military service in the country of your other nationality.
A country may not permit Fijian consular assistance to be given to Fijian citizens who, according to its laws, are considered to be its own nationals. Some countries may not recognize your Fijian citizenship unless you are traveling on a Fiji passport.
You must use your Fiji passport to leave and return to Fiji. If you hold another country’s passport, seek advice about using it from the country’s embassy before you leave.
Read up on health issues affecting the country you are traveling before you go. Seek a doctor well in advance of your trip to discuss travel health issues, even if you’re well at the moment.
Standards of medical care overseas may be very different from those in Fiji. Medical treatment in other countries can be very expensive and you might have to pay in advance. In some cases medical evacuation may be necessary, costing many thousands of dollars.
In some countries, HIV/AIDS is a significant risk. You should take precautions if you are doing things that expose you to risk of infection.
Visit a doctor well in advance of your trip to allow time for any vaccinations or other medical treatment or tests required for your trip. Remember that some vaccines require a long period to take effect and some more than one dose may be needed.
It is important to get advice that is tailored to your health needs and the place you plan to visit.
You may need to update immunizations such as measles, whooping cough and tetanus, which can occur regularly in many parts of the world, including developed countries.
In discussing your travel needs with your doctor you should consider vaccinations against diseases that are risk to travelers, such as hepatitis A and influenza. Depending on your travel plans, your doctor may recommend additional vaccines, such as for encephalitis or typhoid.
It is recommended that before you leave you check the vaccination entry and exit requirements of all countries on your itinerary. You can get this information from the relevant embassy, consulate or high commission located in Fiji.
If you are traveling to country where yellow fever occurs, you may be asked to provide proof of vaccinations when returning to Fiji.
Before you leave, check that the medications you plan to take are legal in the country you are visiting. You can do this by contacting the country’s embassy, consulate or high commission located in Fiji. Make sure you do this in plenty of time to receive a response.
If you are taking medicines overseas:
Since 2003, there have been outbreaks of various strains of influenza (including H5N1 and H1N1) in a number of countries around the world. There have also been outbreaks of Ebola mainly in African countries since 1976.
Since 2019, COVID-19 outbreak and various strains are also active in many countries.
Information, including precautionary advice for travellers, during these types of outbreaks is generally available at the World Health Organization (WHO) website – www.who.int
You must obtain the necessary approvals from Fiji Revenue and Customs Services and Reserve Bank of Fiji if currency exceeds FJ$5,000 or equivalent. Please refer to Custom Requirements here (insert link: https://www.frcs.org.fj/our-services/customs/visiting-fiji/departing-fiji/ ) Contact you bank informing them of your travel details should you need to use your Visa/Master Debit or Credit Card.
Packing tips and information on items that can be included in carry-on and checked luggage are available through your airline.
When travelling, always remember:
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.
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 of 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.
Birth – If you want a child born to you overseas to be recognized as an Fijian citizen and travel on a Fijian passport, you must register them as a citizen by descent.
Marriage – 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.
Death – 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.
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.
Some Fijian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery, and bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism and child sex tourism, apply Fijians overseas. The provision of consular 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.
The Fiji Government will do its best to help Fijians in difficulty overseas, but it pays to be realistic in your expectations of what it can do. When you travel you should be aware that you are leaving behind Fiji’s support system, emergency service capabilities and medical facilities. There are limits on the level of consular service that can be provided in other countries.