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Maldives
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Latest travel advice for Maldives including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health

2017-01-16T10:29:02.197+00:00: Latest update: this advice has been reviewed and re-issued without amendment

Political protests have been taking place in the Maldives since January 2015. Demonstrations have mainly taken place in Malé and some have led to violence and arrests. You should take appropriate security precautions, comply with local security requirements and avoid large gatherings, protests and rallies.

UK health authorities have classified Maldives as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website

There is a general threat from terrorism. See Terrorism.

Most visits to Maldives are trouble free. The most common problems faced by visiting British nationals are lost and stolen passports, and swimming and diving related accidents.

Petty crime occurs. Take care of your valuables and other personal possessions. See Crime

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Safety and security

Crime

Crime levels in Maldives are relatively low, but petty crime, including the theft of goods left unattended on the beach or in hotel rooms, does occur. You should take care of your valuables and other personal possessions, especially when travelling in Malé. Use safe deposit boxes on island resorts.

Gang related violence including knife crime in locally populated areas, including the capital Malé, has increased recently. There is no evidence that British nationals are being targeted. You should be vigilant when travelling to areas outside of resorts.

Local travel

The majority of visitors to Maldives spend their time on resort islands and would only visit the capital island, Malé, if they choose to go on a specific excursion there. The international airport is on a separate island within the larger Malé atoll. There are also many resort islands within Malé atoll. Advance approval is normally required to visit most non-resort islands, other than the capital island. Travel between islands is by boat or seaplane, and many of these services stop before sunset.

Sea travel

While there have been no successful piracy attacks since May 2012 off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains significant. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue. The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom. For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.

Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism and attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers including tourists.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Local laws and customs

Maldives has very strong anti-drugs laws. Importing or possessing drugs can carry severe penalties, including life imprisonment.

Local laws reflect the fact that Maldives is an Islamic country. Serious violations of local laws may lead to a prison sentence. Public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2017, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 27 May and finish on 25 June. See Travelling during Ramadan

It is an offence to import the following items into Maldives: explosives, weapons, firearms, ammunition, pornographic material, materials deemed contrary to Islam including ‘idols for worship’ and bibles, pork and pork products, and alcohol.

Alcoholic drinks are only available on resort islands. Don’t take any alcohol away from a resort.

The export of tortoise shell and coral is forbidden.

Dress is generally informal but you should be sensitive to local dress standards when visiting non-resort islands. Nudism and topless sunbathing are not allowed anywhere, including on resort islands.

Same sex relations are illegal and convicted offenders could face lengthy prison sentences and fines.

Mariners in possession of firearms must surrender them to the local authorities. Any unregistered firearms will not be returned to the owner.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

UK health authorities have classified Maldives as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website

Medical facilities are limited. There are only 2 hospitals and these are on the capital island, Malé. Neither has a trauma unit. Although most resort islands are within easy reach of a doctor, many are several hours’ travel away from the hospital facilities on Malé. Many resort islands are more than an hour away from the nearest decompression chamber.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 102 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

British nationals can get a tourist visa for up to 30 days on arrival in Maldives, provided you hold a valid onward or return ticket and enough funds to cover your stay. Staying for longer than 30 days without the proper authority is an offence.

If you intend to work in Maldives you will need to get a work permit before you arrive. You must also pay a security deposit to the Ministry of Finance. See the Ministry of Finance website for current rates

For further information and advice on entry requirements you should contact the High Commission of the Republic of Maldives in the UK or the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Maldives.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into the Maldives.

Yellow Fever vaccination certificate

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Maldives.

Previous travel to countries affected by Ebola You won’t be able to get a visa on arrival if you’ve travelled to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea within 21 days of your arrival in Maldives. For further information about the entry requirements for travellers with previous travel to Ebola affected countries, contact the High Commission of the Maldives in the UK.

Natural disasters

Maldives was hit by the December 2004 tsunami. More than 90 people were killed. There was serious damage to a number of islands, including 19 resort islands. The large majority of resorts affected are now operating normally.

Money

Island resorts are generally expensive. Make sure you bring sufficient funds. There are no cash machines. Travellers’ cheques are not widely used. Major credit cards are accepted at most resorts and hotels. US dollars can be exchanged at the airport, banks or hotels.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send us a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

See also

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  • British Embassy Maldives

    Title:British High Commission
    Email:colombo.general@fco.gov.uk
    Address:

    389, Bauddhaloka Mw, Colombo 7
    Sri Lanka

    Contact: General telephone: +94 11 5390639
    Fax: +94 11 5390694
    Consular enquiries email: : consular.enquiriescolombo@fco.gov.uk
    Visiting:
    Services:Emergency Travel Documents service (Assistance Services)
    Transferring funds for prisoners / for financial assistance service (Assistance Services)
    Births and Deaths registration service (Documentary Services)
    Citizenship Ceremony service (Documentary Services)
  • Department for International Trade Sri Lanka

    Title:Department for International Trade Sri Lanka
    Email:colombo.general@fco.gov.uk
    Address:

    British High Commission
    389 Bauddhaloka Mawatha
    Colombo
    07
    Sri Lanka

    Contact: Enquiries: +94 (0)11 5390639
    Visiting:Monday to Thursday: 8am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm
    Friday: 8am to 1pm
    Services:

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The latest news, travel advice, and information for Maldives, updated regularly for all British travellers by the UK Foreign Office. Including British consulate and embassy addresses in Maldives (Male).

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