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

2017-01-20T14:06:36.771+00:00: Latest update: Money section – updated currency information

Cyclone season is normally between November and April but cyclones can occur throughout the year. Severe weather may result in flooding, landslides, and disruption to essential services and infrastructure. See Natural Disasters

There is no British diplomatic representation in Tonga. The British High Commission in Suva can provide routine consular assistance. In an emergency you can also contact the New Zealand High Commission in Nuku’alofa.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

Most visits to Tonga are trouble free. The crime rate is relatively low. However, petty crime and theft do take place. You should remain vigilant, especially at night. See Crime.

UK health authorities have classified Tonga as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

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. Medical evacuation from Tonga is required for most non-basic medical problems. You should make sure that your policy covers you for medical evacuation by air ambulance.

Safety and security

Crime

Most visits to Tonga are trouble free. The crime rate is low. However, petty crime and theft do take place. You should remain vigilant, especially at night.

Road travel

You can obtain a local visitor’s driving licence on production of a full UK driving licence. Roads are generally in good condition but can be narrow and are sometimes potholed. The low speed limits are strictly applied with on the spot fines. Take particular care when driving after dark and in poor weather.

Air travel 

A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

The FCO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

In 2010 an audit of Tonga’s Civil Aviation Authority by the International Civil Aviation Organisation found that the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Tonga was well below the global average.

Internal flights are not always on schedule and can be subject to adverse weather conditions.

The MA60 aircraft is used for some internal flights. The MA60 is not certified for use in the European Union.

Political situation

The political situation is currently stable following democratic elections in November 2014.

Contact details

New Zealand High Commission, Nukualofa

Address: Corner Taufaahau and Salote Roads, Nukualofa; Tonga Postal Address: PO Box 830, Nukualofa, Tonga; Telephone: +676 23122; Fax: +676 23487; Email: nzhcnuk@kalianet.to; Office Hours: Mon – Fri 8am to 12:30pm and 1pm to 4pm

Terrorism

There is a low threat from terrorism in Tonga, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.

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

Tongan society is very conservative and highly religious. You will be expected to dress modestly and respect local customs and culture. Tonga strictly observes the Sabbath. On Sundays any recreational activities undertaken outside of Island resorts may be seen as provocative. Homosexuality is technically illegal in many Pacific countries and the law is occasionally enforced. Open displays of affection between same-sex partners may cause offence.

Drug taking in all forms is illegal. Importing or exporting illegal drugs attracts a maximum penalty of 30 years hard labour and/or a fine of several hundred thousand US dollars.  Those found guilty of cultivating or distributing illegal drugs are likely to receive similarly severe punishment.

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.

Passport validity

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

Visas

British passport holders visiting Tonga as a tourist or on business are normally given permission to enter the country for up to 30 days. You should be able to provide an onward air or sea ticket, adequate funds and relevant health certificates. If you wish to extend your stay you must obtain permission from the Principal Immigration Officer.

For further information contact the Immigration Division: Head of Immigration Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PO Box 821Nuku’alofa, TONGA; Tel: +676 26 969; Fax: +676 26 971.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

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

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 Tonga as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

There has been an increase in dengue fever cases recorded in Vavau. You should take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Health facilities in Tonga are basic. The range of drugs available is limited and modern equipment is in short supply. Medical evacuation from Tonga is required for most non-basic medical problems. 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 933 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Natural disasters

Earthquakes

Tonga is part of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that surrounds the basin of the Pacific Ocean. Earthquakes and volcanic activity can occur at any time, and can trigger tsunami alerts.

You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake, and take note of earthquake and tsunami related instructions e.g. in hotel rooms. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Tropical cyclones

The tropical cyclone season in Tonga normally runs from November to April but cyclones can occur throughout the year. During this period there is a greater risk of strong winds and heavy rains with associated flooding, landslides and road closures.

You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), from the Tonga Meteorological Service, in local newspapers and on Radio Tonga 1 and 2 on 1017 AM and 90 FM, and follow the advice of the local authorities including any evacuation orders. See our Tropical cyclones page for further advice about what to do if you are caught up in a storm.

Money

The currency in Tonga is “Pa’anga”. ATMs are available in the capital city Nuku’alofa and in the main towns of ‘Eua island and the Ha’apai island group.

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 High Commission Suva

    Title:British High Commission Suva
    Email:publicdiplomacysuva@fco.gov.uk
    Address:

    47 Gladstone Road
    Suva
    Fiji

    Contact: +679 3229 100: +679 3229 132
    Consular email: consularsuva@fco.gov.uk
    Visiting:Office hours:
    Monday to Thursday: 8am to 12:40pm / 1pm to 4pm
    Friday: 8am to 1pm

    Consular section:
    Phone: +679 3229 100

    Consular opening hours:
    Monday to Thursday: 10am to 12pm
    Services:Emergency Travel Documents service (Assistance Services)
    Births and Deaths registration service (Documentary Services)
    Citizenship Ceremony service (Documentary Services)

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

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