What makes Tuvalu a unique country to travel to?
Tuvalu is a South Pacific island nation consisting of four reef islands and five atolls. A self-governing member of the British Commonwealth, Tuvalu has a parliamentary system of government.
Tuvalu has a low crime rate. However, visitors should review their own personal security practices, be alert to any unusual activity around their homes or businesses, and report any suspicious incidents to local police authorities.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
While you are traveling in Tuvalu, 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. In Tuvalu, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. It is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. 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 Tuvalu, 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 where you are going.
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 in Fiji, as soon as you are arrested or detained.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Medical and dental care are very limited in Tuvalu, including in Funafuti, the capital. Serious medical problems are referred to health professionals and hospitals in Guam or Hawaii. 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.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Tuvalu, road conditions differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Tuvalu is provided for general reference only and may not be completely accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic moves on the left in Tuvalu. The main roads on Funafuti are paved, but other roads on other islands are generally unpaved. Animals and unwary pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous. For specific information concerning Tuvalu driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Tuvalu Permanent Mission to the United Nations.