an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
(RSO) at U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, which oversees
security for Vanuatu.
current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Vanuatu at Level
1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby does not assume responsibility for the
professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this
report. The American Citizen Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular
individual or establishment, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of
page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact
information, some of which may be available only to private-sector
representatives with an OSAC password.
is minimal risk from crime in Vanuatu. While Port Vila is a relatively safe
city by regional standards, exercise personal and environmental awareness at
violent crime is rare in Vanuatu, the risk of exposure to other types of crime
exists. When in public, avoid carrying purses, jewelry, briefcases, or other
valuable items that are likely to draw unwanted attention. Do not carry large
sums of money on your person.
has made advances in its cybersecurity roadmap. The country participated in the
inaugural Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON) event in April
2018 funded by the Australian government to enhance cyber resilience in the
region. Vanuatu has also launched its own Computer Emergency Response Team
(CERT) to improve the security infrastructure and monitor/manage threats and
vulnerabilities. Exercise normal security precautions when using public
computers, ensuring you have logged off all accounts before leaving the
Areas of Concern
ordnance (UXO) from WWII can be found on both land and underwater throughout
the country. Exercise caution when walking or hiking off marked roads, and
conducting activities in the water. If you discover UXO, do not touch it, move
it, or try to collect it as a souvenir.
more information, please review OSAC’s report, Security
in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
Safety and Road Conditions
road quality in Vanuatu is fair. There are paved roads in Port Vila and
Luganville, but outlying area roads are usually unpaved. Animals and
pedestrians make driving at night hazardous. Road conditions can change
drastically after natural destructive events such as cyclones, volcanic
eruptions, and earthquakes. Exercise caution when walking at night as drivers
have very limited visibility in most part due to a lack of roadway illumination.
domestic driver’s license or international driver’s license is acceptable for
driving in Vanuatu. For more information on self-driving, review OSAC’s report,
Overseas: Best Practices.
taxis and car rental services are available in Port Vila and Luganville.
Identify taxis by the red ‘T’ on their license plates. Taxis do not have
meters; a passenger must agree on a price with the driver before departing to
are several minibuses in Port Villa, identified by the red ‘B’ on their license
plate. Passengers must flag down public buses, rather than waiting for them to
stop at designated locations.
travel using the domestic airline Air Vanuatu can be expensive and subject to
delays. Sea travel is cheap, but can be infrequent and unreliable, and the
seaworthiness of watercraft is questionable.
International Airport (VLI) serves as the major airport in Vanuatu, with
flights from New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and
Papua New Guinea, as well as domestic stops within Vanuatu. Maintain awareness
of belongings at all times while traveling. Use Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) approved locks, and retrieve checked bags as soon as
is minimal risk from terrorism in Vanuatu.
Political, Economic, Religious, and
is minimal risk from civil unrest in Vanuatu. Civil disorder in Vanuatu is
rare; however, avoid public demonstrations and/or political rallies if they
is an island nation subject to natural disasters, including cyclones, earthquakes,
floods, sudden tidal movements, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Although the
probability of a major earthquake or tsunami occurring during a particular trip
is remote, small earthquakes occur regularly due to its proximity to the New
2018, the volcano on Ambae Island erupted causing the declaration of a state of
emergency and the evacuation of all the islands inhabitants. Volcanos in
Vanuatu pose a very real risk as exemplified by Lopevi volcano on Paama Island
(Alert Level 2) and Marum and Benbow volcanoes on Abrym Island.
South Pacific cyclone season runs between November and March. However, tropical
cyclones may occur all year. Cyclone activity frequently causes flooding along
the coastline, which in turn causes destruction of infrastructure and delays in
essential services. Public services (e.g. water, electricity, and
transportation) are likely to be unavailable for a significant period following
a natural disaster, as was evident in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam in 2015.
information regarding disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from
the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
buildings in Vanuatu do not have fire alarms or fire suppression equipment in
close proximity. This is especially true in remote rural areas. Fire alarms at
tourist hotels are not often installed and evacuation plans are not practiced
or do not exist. When checking into your hotel, become familiar with all of the
fire exits on the premises during the check in process. For more information on
fire safety in hotels, review OSAC’s report, Fire
is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the WTO.
Vanuatu has increased its enforcement of intellectual property with the
enactment of the Customs Act in 2015. As a result, the prevalence of pirated
items has declined.
uses Vanuatu vatu (VT) as its currency, with ATMs accessible in Port Vila and
is an ethnically homogeneous nation, predominantly composed of ethnic
ni-Vanuatu peoples further divided into tribes in rural areas. There have been
no recent reports of internal ethnic conflict between tribes. Non-native
visitors will stand out as foreign, but report little if any bias or criminal
targeting based on ethnicity.
sexual relations are illegal in Vanuatu. However, there are no known incidents
of the prosecution, targeting, or harassment of consenting adults. Vanuatu is a
conservative country; all travelers should avoid public displays of affection.
is no law specifically prohibiting discrimination against persons with
physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities. There are no special
programs to assist persons with disabilities and no legislation mandating
access to buildings, information, and communications. In practice, most
buildings in Vanuatu are not accessible to persons with disabilities, and
disabled persons often rely on assistance from friends and family.
Vanuatu Police are responsible for conducting criminal investigations as well
as investigations conducted in cooperation with foreign law enforcement
entities. Police strictly enforce laws concerning drug possession.
is minimal risk from kidnapping in Vanuatu.
all incidents of crime to the local police authorities. Remain calm and polite
when interacting with the police to avoid misunderstandings.
ability of local police to assist victims of crime is limited due to a lack
essential equipment. Police support in outlying islands is extremely limited
and often serviced regionally by a small office.
Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment and Crime Victim Assistance
or arrested U.S. citizens should request to speak to a U.S. Embassy
representative in Port Moresby.
victims should contact the local police and the American Citizen Services
section at U.S. Embassy Port Moresby. For emergencies requiring police, dial
111. For fire emergency, dial 113. For maritime emergency assistance, dial 114.
For medical assistance, dial 115.
Citizen Services in Port Moresby at ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov, or
the following phone numbers: Normal inquires + (675) 308-2100, Emergency
inquiries: + (675) 7200-9439.
Vila and Santo are the only fire stations in Vanuatu. For administrative calls
to local fire and police posts, dial:
Vila Fire: (678) 22-333 Police (678) 22-222
Santo Fire: (678) 36-333 Police:
and medical facilities in Vanuatu are limited, and treatment can be very
expensive. The nearest reliable trauma treatment is in Australia or New
Zealand. Vila Central Hospital and Santo Hospital are the main hospitals in
Vanuatu. There is a hyperbaric recompression chamber in Luganville, on Espiritu
Santo Island; however, diving-related injuries may require medical evacuation
to Australia or New Zealand.
is prevalent in some areas. Malaria prophylaxis is not normally necessary for
Port Vila, but the malarial risk increases in locals that are more rural.
in Vanuatu are usually only found in urban centers or at missionary clinics.
Carry adequate supplies of any needed prescription medicines, along with copies
of prescriptions, the generic name of the drugs, and a supply of preferred
bottled or treated water only; avoid tap water. For more information, refer to
OSAC’s reports, Traveling
with Medication and I’m
Drinking What in My Water?
requiring an ambulance in Port Vila or Santo should call 115 or Vila Central
Hospital (+678 22-100) or Santo Hospital (+678 37-112). Pro Medical Vanuatu
(+678 25-566) provides emergency paramedic services operated by personnel from
Australia and New Zealand.
Information for Available Medical Services
list of available medical facilities, refer to the Embassy’s Medical
Air Ambulance Services
Medical Santo, (678) 553-6400. Air Vanuatu provides medical
evacuation (medevac) of non-critical patients by Boeing 738 to Brisbane,
Sydney, or Auckland. A Queensland-based air ambulance evacuates critically ill
patients with a medical team aboard.
AMR Air Ambulance, +1 (720) 875-9183 operates its own
aircraft and medical teams, and has a 24-hour call center.
Angel MedFlight WorldWide Air Ambulance, +1 (480) 634-8017
operates its own aircraft and medical teams, and has a 24-hour call center.
response is limited due to the distance between islands, and the infrequency of
flights and ferries. Medical evacuation (medevac) outside of Vanuatu is
extremely expensive. Purchase a good medical emergency and evacuation insurance
plan. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for their
Vaccination and Health Guidance
offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Vanuatu.
OSAC Country Council Information
is no OSAC Country Council in Vanuatu. Interested private-sector security
managers should contact OSAC’s Asia-Pacific
team with any questions.
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
Embassy Port Moresby: Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea,
+ (675) 308-2100
+ (675) 7200-9439
citizens traveling to Vanuatu should register with the Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and