is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Suva. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Fiji. For
more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Fiji-specific
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.
The current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Fiji at Level 1,
indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Department of State has assessed Suva as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests. Crime is
a continuing problem in Fiji, and can have a major impact on the work and life
of the community. The majority of crime occurs in more densely populated urban
areas. Although tourists and U.S. citizens do not appear to be disproportionate
victims of criminal activity, foreigners tend to attract more attention than
local residents do. Criminals perceive them to carry more money, and may target
them for armed/unarmed robbery and assault for that reason. These crimes occur
with some frequency, primarily in certain areas of downtown Suva, in/around tourist
hotels with less security, and in remote regions of the country.
The most common types of crime are
property crimes (e.g. robbery, burglary, petty theft). Street robberies and
pickpocketing incidents, especially those targeting visitors in western towns
popular with tourists, occur both day and night. Criminals typically work in
pairs, but also operate in larger groups. These groups lack an organizational
hierarchy or long-term vision, and generally operate on an ad hoc basis. Review OSAC’s report, All That You Should Leave Behind.
Most assaults and robberies occur at night around
popular restaurants and nightclubs. Often, the perpetrators and/or victims are
intoxicated. Areas located near impoverished settlements, including some
resorts, have a higher rate of burglary. Such settlements are ubiquitous and
difficult to avoid.
Most burglars prefer to avoid
direct violence or confrontation. Because firearms are very limited and
offenses involving firearms carry stiff penalties, criminals are more likely to
use other weapons (e.g. cane knives, similar to machetes; other sharp objects;
or blunt instruments) in the commission of crime. It is common to see people
carrying cane knives outside of the city, as they are a routinely used
agricultural tool. Many burglars do not hesitate to enter an occupied residence
or business and brandish weapons. In such cases, the burglaries appear planned
and may involve groups of 2-10 people. Criminal elements have bent and broken
through security bars and, on occasion, solid wood doors. Some criminals also
target cash-reliant businesses for robbery due to careless cash-handling
procedures. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The
Inns and Outs and Considerations
for Hotel Security.
Violent crimes (e.g. assault, armed robbery) are
generally less common than in many cities in the U.S. Sexual assaults are also
a concern, particularly for women traveling alone at night; they occur more
frequently than one would expect given Fiji’s reputation as an island paradise.
Review the State Department’s webpage on security for female
Hotel beaches are public by law, but hotel guests
are generally the only users; beaches are generally safe. Avoid publicly
accessible beaches after dark – particularly those that experience less
There are elements of Asian organized crime
involved in illegal gambling, prostitution, cybercrime, and narcotics
distribution in Fiji. These elements are unlikely to affect U.S. citizens or
private-sector organizations uninvolved in the illegal activities associated
with these groups. In recent years, Australian outlaw motorcycle gangs have
attempted to establish a presence in Fiji, but they do not appear to have
caused any significant crime-related issues.
Fiji continues to face issues
associated with ATM/credit card scams. In 2016, Fijian law enforcement
identified skimming devices and related equipment commonly used in ATM and
credit card-related fraud. Most of the skimmers are easily identifiable, but
many victims still fail to recognize the devices. Some banks have added
increased security measures to ATMs – including anti-tampering measures and PIN
concealment covers – but small, regional banks continue to be targets due to
the absence of such security features. In late 2017, authorities arrested three
Bulgarian nationals for possession of a skimming device with intention to
obtain personal financial information dishonestly. Review OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.
Email and social media fraud schemes, which range
from romance schemes to variations of Nigerian / 419 / advance-fee fraud scams,
also appear to be increasing. In August 2017, police arrested 77 Chinese
nationals on suspicion of fraud, later deporting them. The suspects reportedly
defrauded close to US$900,000 as part of an online fraud syndicate operating
from China, Indonesia, and Fiji. The group appears not to have targeted U.S
interests, focusing instead on Chinese citizens living in Fiji.
Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones: Critical or Contraband?
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Drive defensively and cautiously. Road conditions
in urban areas are generally fair, with the exception of large potholes that
appear following heavy rainstorms. Road infrastructure in rural areas can be
poor and potentially dangerous. Poor road conditions, unfenced livestock, stray
pets, unwary pedestrians, and large potholes present safety hazards,
particularly after dark. There continue to be reports of fatal vehicle accidents
involving collisions with roaming livestock that stray into the middle of
Street thieves commonly walk a line of parked
cars attempting to find one that is unlocked. Lock doors, roll up windows, and
leave nothing of value in sight.
Due to increased number of police
vehicles, traffic law enforcement is more frequent, but is still minimal at
best. The Fijian government has installed traffic cameras along main highways
and at stoplights. The locations of the cameras, which public, have served to
reduce speeding in and around the camera locations. Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and
Evasive Driving Techniques; and
read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
Due to frequent and sometimes violent crime targeting
taxi drivers, do not allow taxis to pick up other passengers while they are in
the vehicle, and do not enter a taxi that already has passengers. Many taxis
lack seatbelts and are in poor condition. When using a taxi, use a reputable
taxi service with well-maintained vehicles.
Some minibus, bus, and taxi drivers drive
recklessly and do not always adhere to traffic laws. There have also been
reports of drivers operating public vehicles while under the influence of
alcohol or kava. Many buses are older models; there have been multiple reports
of public buses catching on fire. These large, yellow public buses frequently
fail to merge properly with the flow of traffic.
The airports are relatively free of crime, but
there have been reports of items stolen from checked baggage. This trend has
continued to decline, but passengers should maintain awareness of their
belongings at all times, use Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
approved locks, and retrieve their checked bags as soon as possible. Review OSAC’s report, Security In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Suva as being a LOW-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests.
Political, Economic, Religious, and
U.S. Department of State has assessed Suva as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting
official U.S. government interests. Fiji is
still emerging from the legacy of its coup-era government policies, and has
taken notable steps in returning to democracy. The government has made efforts
to court international investors, and has prioritized social stability, human
rights, and climate change. Fiji held democratic elections in 2014 and 2018,
the first since a 2006 coup. The international community deemed both elections
Although protests are not common, avoid
demonstrations and large crowds, as even peaceful demonstrations can turn
violent unexpectedly. While daily life appears calm on the surface, Fiji’s
history suggests that civil unrest could erupt without advance notice. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest
In October 2017, the Fiji Trade Union staged a
peaceful protest with more than 400 participants marching through downtown
Suva. The government granted approval and issued a rare permit for the protest
to take place.
The Fijian government pursued charges against the
Fiji Times newspaper for publishing a letter to the editor that the government
alleged was likely to incite dislike, hatred, or antagonism toward the Muslim
minority, which is a violation of the Crimes Decree. These events received
significant attention on traditional and social media, but did not lead to any
public protests or demonstrations.
Several of Fiji’s major political parties operate
along ethnic lines. In times of political turmoil surrounding earlier coups,
ethnic violence involving indigenous nationalist perpetrators has targeted the
Indo-Fijian population. The current government has prioritized the elimination
of race-based politics and called for a multi-cultural, inclusive Fijian
national identity. Despite some improvements, tensions still exist in some
areas between the iTaukei and Indo-Fijian communities, and to a lesser extent
people of Chinese descent. The military remains more than 90% ethnic-iTaukei,
though the police force is much more ethnically diverse.
Fiji is subject to many natural disasters,
including cyclones, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and landslides. Although the
probability of a major earthquake or tsunami occurring during a particular trip
is remote, small-scale earthquakes are common.
The cyclone (hurricane) season typically runs
November-April. Cyclone activity frequently causes flooding in the coastal or low-lying
areas, often cutting off access to resorts, roads, and villages. Public
services (e.g. water, electricity, transportation) are unlikely to be available
for a significant period following a powerful cyclone.
In 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston became the
strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall in Fiji and the South
Pacific Basin. The Category 5 cyclone inflicted extensive damage on many
islands, killing 44 people, destroying 40,000 homes, and costing upward of
US$1.4 billion in damages.
In 2014, a landslide interrupted Suva’s water
supply, causing a significant water shortage in the capital for several days.
Industrial accidents occasionally occur, usually
in the form of fires at warehouses or commercial facilities. Often, these
structures do not have fire alarms installed or fire suppression equipment in
close proximity. Most tourist hotels in the tourist centers have up-to-date
fire alarms and proper evacuation plans in place. Review OSAC’s report, Fire Safety Abroad
Fiji has improved the enforcement of intellectual
property rights and committed to compliance with international law. As a
result, the frequency of pirated items has declined. Nevertheless, some stores
still openly sell pirated copies of movies, television shows, and music, and counterfeit
clothing, jewelry, and other luxury goods.
International investors must conduct sufficient
due diligence to assess judicial transparency, government accountability, and
avenues for recourse under the law.
Personal Identity Concerns
There continue to be concerns related to gender,
sexual orientation, and race. Fiji’s ethnic groups include indigenous Fijians
(also called iTaukei, who constitute roughly 57% of the population),
Indo-Fijians (37%), and several smaller groups of European, Asian, and other
Pacific Islander descent. At times, Fiji experiences tension between ethnic
Fijians are generally polite to women, but there
continues to be a problem with sexual assault cases and physical abuse. The
majority of the physical abuse relates to families, as gender-based domestic
violence is prevalent in Fiji. Instances of sexual assault most often involve a
guardian or family member. Other instances of sexual assault often involve
victims who are intoxicated and/or in an isolated areas. Review the State Department’s webpage on
security for female travelers.
LGBTI+ orientation is generally accepted, but the
local populace may not always use politically correct terms. There have not
been any reports of violence related to sexual orientation. Review the State
Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.
Drug addiction does contribute to some of the
petty crime that occurs in Fiji. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking
in illegal drugs (including marijuana), are severe. Convicted offenders can
expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
There has been a recent uptick in the local sale
and use of methamphetamine, which previously only transited through Fiji on the
way to Australia or New Zealand. This past year, there has been spike in
methamphetamine related arrests.
There are limited cases of kidnapping in Fiji.
Most instances are family-related. In 2016, criminals kidnapped a French
national employee of the French Embassy in overnight hours, but released the
victim after the vehicle crashed and police responded. There was no indication
that the criminal targeted the victim because she was a Western diplomat. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics
The law theoretically guarantees freedom of
expression, but restrictions exist in practice. The government enforces the
Media Industry Development Decree, which allows for fines when the government
deems journalists are reporting on issues against the poorly defined “public
interest.” The government has prosecuted media outlets and civil society
organizations for republishing or quoting material that allegedly questioned
the independence of Fiji’s judiciary. Individuals, media outlets, and civil
society organizations practice varying degrees of self-censorship in order to
avoid undue government attention and possible repercussions.
Travelers visiting local Fijian villages must
check with local authorities for permission before making arrangements. All
visitors should become familiar with local customs prior to any visits.
The emergency line in Fiji is 911; for
fire emergencies, dial 917. For
administrative calls to the local fire and police posts, dial: Korolevu (Fire: 650-0516, Police: 653-0122); Labasa (Fire:
881-1333, Police: 881-1222); Lautoka (Fire: 666-0211, Police: 666-0222); Nadi (Fire:
670-0475, Police: 670-0222); Suva (Fire: 331-2877, Police: 331-1222). The Fiji
Police Force is a professional, albeit under-resourced, law enforcement
organization. Recently, there has been an improvement in training,
accountability, and regional cooperation. Police generally do not have vehicles
to respond to calls, and are unlikely to arrive in time to disrupt a crime in
Fijian law permits police officers to search any
person, building, vehicle, cargo, or baggage if there are reasonable grounds to
believe in a connection to any offense against public order or the crime
decree. Obscene material (pornography) is illegal, and the law only loosely
defines what constitutes obscene materials.
Carry a copy of your passport on your person;
police often ask for identification of all parties involved in any type of
Local laws allow police to detain someone for up
to 48 hours for administrative processing without charge, and for an additional
14 days upon approval by the Police Commissioner. In the case of a military
detention, there is no guarantee that the Embassy would be able to visit the
detained citizen. There are no set legal rules on military detention. Victims
of crime can expect fair treatment with dignity. The relative inefficiency and
overly bureaucratic judicial process may frustrate victims. Download the State
Department’s Crime Victim Assistance brochure.
The medical emergency line in Fiji is 910. Health care facilities in Fiji's urban areas are
adequate for most routine medical problems. Although a private hospital in Suva
provides Western-style medical treatment, the standards of care are below those
in the United State. In rural areas, staff training is limited, and there are
often shortages of supplies and medications. Carry adequate supplies of any
needed prescription medicines, along with copies of prescriptions, the generic
name of the drugs, and a supply of preferred over-the-counter medications. Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with Medication.
Emergency response is extremely limited.
Ambulance availability is minimal, and ambulances are often poorly equipped and
not staffed with medical personnel. Rural areas have extremely limited
ambulance services. For a list of available medical facilities, refer to the
A recompression chamber at the Colonial War
Memorial Hospital in Suva can treat decompression sickness; however, the
chamber is not always fully functional.
Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash
payment for health services. Those with medical emergencies may require
evacuation (medevac) to Australia, New Zealand, or the United States. Medevac
costs thousands of dollars, and is available only to patients with adequate
insurance or upfront payment. In some cases, a medical evacuation to Australia
or New Zealand can require a medical visa. The U.S. Department of State
strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling
internationally. Review the State Departments webpage on insurance
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines
and health guidance for Fiji.
OSAC Country Council Information
Fiji is in the process of launching an OSAC
Country Council. Interested private-sector security managers should contact
OSAC’s Asia Pacific team with any
U.S. Embassy Contact Information
Princes Road, Tamavua, Suva
The Consular Section does not provide a walk-in
information service to the public. The section is open from 0900-1200 and
1400-1600 Monday-Thursday, and 0900-1200 Friday to appointment holders and
persons requesting American Citizen Services.
Before you travel, consider the following
OSAC Risk Matrix
OSAC Travelers Toolkit
State Department Traveler’s Checklist
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)