What makes Marshall Islands a unique country to travel to?
With a population of approximately 53,000, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) covers a land area of only 70.5 square miles but includes one of the largest maritime zones in the Pacific Ocean. The country consists of 29 atolls and five islands. The Marshall Islands is a parliamentary democracy, and its close relationship with the United States is reflected in the Compact of Free Association that binds our two nations. The RMI has a developing agrarian and service-oriented economy. Limited tourist facilities exist, including three major hotels in Majuro, while most other areas have limited guest quarters.
Travel around the Marshall Islands is, by most standards, considered safe. The Marshall Islands has a relatively low crime rate. The most common crimes are break-ins and thefts from homes, hotel rooms, and vehicles, as well as occasional random acts of vandalism. There have been a few recent but isolated incidents in which non-U.S. foreigners were assaulted. It is recommended that visitors dress conservatively; skin showing above the knee, especially for females, may be considered offensive to some Marshallese citizens. Keep your hotel room or residence locked at all times. Occasionally, fights and assaults occur at nightclubs and bars. If you visit those establishments, especially late in the evening, be extra vigilant to ensure your personal security.
Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law too.
While you are traveling in the Marshall Islands, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in the Marshall Islands, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Health facilities in Majuro and Ebeye are adequate for routine medical problems. There are few or no health facilities available elsewhere in the Marshall Islands. Majuro has a private clinic and a public hospital. Ebeye also has a public hospital. Most outer islands have medical dispensaries. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Prescription and over the counter medicine may not be available. We recommend that you bring a supply of your prescription medication when you visit. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. However, the local cost for service is quite minimal.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in the Marshall Islands.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in the Marshall Islands, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning the Marshall Islands is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Majuro atoll has only one main road. The road is paved, but there are few traffic signs and no traffic lights. While driving, you should be alert for dogs, chickens, and pigs roaming the streets and children darting into the road. Children frequently play dangerous games with vehicles, running in front of or behind vehicles. Drinking and driving is common, especially on the weekends, so use caution. Walking beside the street can be dangerous due to poor lighting, absence of sidewalks, and drivers who may have been drinking.
Vehicle traffic proceeds slowly, rarely over 25 miles per hour. Roads experience temporary flooding after heavy rains and during especially high tides. Since there are few streetlights, visibility is poor, and night driving requires special caution. For specific information concerning drivers’ permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.