Report   DETAILS

Nauru 2019 Crime & Safety Report

East Asia & Pacific > Nauru

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Nauru at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Suva 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 services provided.

Review OSAC’s Nauru-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.

Crime Threats

There is minimal risk from crime in Nauru, yet it can have an impact on the work and life of the community. Review security practices to mitigate risk of petty theft.

Cybersecurity Issues

Nauru has made some advances in its cybersecurity roadmap. Since 2015, Nauru has regulated child pornography and illegal access to computers and program data. In 2018, Nauru Police Force officials with cooperation from the Australian Federal Police developed the Cyber Safety Pasifika campaign that seeks to educate the local populace on the dangers of the internet. There have been reports that Nauru has been blocking popular websites as a result. Exercise normal security precautions when using public computers.

Other Areas of Concern

Importation of explosives, firearms, pornography, drugs, and weapons are prohibited. 

Transportation-Safety Situation

For more information, review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.

Road Safety and Road Conditions

The main road circling the island is paved, but the remaining roads are unpaved. There is no organized roadside assistance, although there are a number of mechanics and car repair facilities on the island. Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving hazardous. Traffic moves on the left in Nauru. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Nauru. Use of seatbelts is mandatory. For more information on self-driving, review OSAC’s Report, Driving Overseas: Best Practices.

Public Transportation Conditions

Nauru has no official taxi service, but visitors may be able to negotiate car hire from a local. Transportation service is limited to a community bus that travels along the outer loop of Nauru, private citizens, and courtesy shuttles operated by a few hotels.

There are several buses in Nauru, although these are used for commuting purposes. Passengers must flag down public buses in Nauru, rather than hailing them at designated stops.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

Nauru International Airport (INU) is the only airport in the country. It hosts flights from Brisbane, Honiara, Nadi, and Tarawa. There have been no reports of items stolen from checked baggage. Passengers should maintain awareness of their belongings at all times, use Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, and retrieve checked bags as soon as possible.

Access to and from Nauru is limited to a small number of commercial air flights each week. Transportation may face interruptions due to weather, political or labor disputes, economic difficulties, and other reasons. If an emergency arises, prepare to remain in Nauru until the emergency passes or to arrange for a private air or sea charter from the island. Hotel space is limited; book before arrival.

Terrorism Threat

There is minimal risk from terrorism in Nauru.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

Civil Unrest 

There is moderate risk from political violence in Nauru. The presence of the Nauru Regional Process Centre, an offshore Australian immigration detention facility, remains a highly contentious issue in the region. Although protests regarding this issue are often located in Australia, protests have also occurred in Nauru in the past year. Avoid demonstrations and large crowds.

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Nauru is an island nation subject to natural disasters, including floods and tsunamis. Due to its proximity to the equator, Nauru does not experience major cyclones, compared to other Pacific island nations. Although the probability of an earthquake causing a tsunami is remote, earthquakes do occur regularly due to its proximity to the Pacific Plate boundary.

Critical Infrastructure

Many buildings in Nauru do not have fire alarms or fire suppression equipment in close proximity or at all. Fire alarms at tourist hotels are sporadic with some evacuation plans in place. For more information on fire safety in hotels, review OSAC’s Report, Fire Safety Abroad.

Economic Concerns

Nauru is not a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the WTO, or any organization protecting intellectual property rights. As a result, the frequency of pirated items has not declined and stores may sell pirated copies of movies, television shows, music, counterfeit clothing, jewelry, and other luxury goods.

The Australian dollar is legal currency in Nauru. Prepare to pay cash for hotel bills and all other services, since credit card services are not available. ATMs are accessible in Meneng Hotel, Capelle and Partner’s Supermarket, Nauru International Airport, and the Bendigo Bank. No incidents of credit card fraud or the use of card skimming devices has occurred recently. However, exercise caution, as criminals have targeted ATMs in surrounding South Pacific nations.

Personal Identity Concerns

Nauruans are generally polite and respectful towards women. However, domestic violence remains a problem. The government has criminalized domestic violence and revenge pornography.

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Nauru. LGBT refugees residing in the detention centers report having been the target of frequent discrimination.

Accessibility of buildings, and communications and information for persons with disabilities is not mandated. There are no special accommodations for persons with disabilities.

Nauru is an ethnically homogeneous nation, predominantly composed of ethnic Nauruans. There have been no reports of internal ethnic conflict. Non-native visitors will stand out as foreign, but report little if any bias or criminal targeting based on ethnicity.

Drug-related Crimes

Drug possession is strictly enforced in Nauru. Penalties for possession of any amount includes fines and possible jail time. In 2018, Nauru Police signed a law enforcement cooperation agreement with Taiwan to combat transnational crime. There are no reports of drug-related violence.

Kidnapping Threat

There is minimal risk from kidnapping in Nauru.

Police Response

Report all incidents of crime to the local police authorities. Remain calm and polite when interacting with the police to avoid misunderstandings.

Carry a copy of your passport on your person, as police often ask for identification of all parties involved in any type of incident.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

Detained U.S. citizens should request to speak to a U.S. Embassy representative in Fiji. Police have generally treated arrested or otherwise detained foreigners well. Be aware that the assistance the Embassy can provide is limited to making sure U.S. citizens are not being treated differently from local detainees, and providing them with a list of local attorneys.

Crime Victim Assistance

For emergencies requiring police, dial 110. For emergency medical assistance, dial 111.  For fire emergencies, dial 112.

For administrative calls to local fire and police posts, dial (674) 557 0112

Medical Emergencies

The state-run Republic of Nauru Hospital, located in Arijejen, is the main hospital in Nauru; one other Public Health Centre is located in Nibok. The hospital can provide services in emergency medicine, anesthetics, ICU, Obstetrics, Genecology, Pediatrics, Radiology, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, and Urology. The Public Health Centre is limited to Primary Care and Public Health.

Carry adequate supplies of any needed prescription medicines, along with copies of their prescriptions, the generic name of the drugs, and a supply of preferred over-the-counter medications due to Nauru’s reliance on supplies from the Netherlands and Australia. For more information, refer to OSAC’s Report, Traveling with Medications.

Emergency response is extremely limited due to road and ambulance conditions and infrequent flights. Those requiring an ambulance in Nauru should call 111 or the RONH (+674 557 3060).

Travelers over one year of age coming from infected areas must carry a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Typhoid may occur in rural areas with poor sanitation. Immunization is advised.

Use bottled water rather than drinking from a tap.

All visitors should have adequate medical insurance and especially Medical Evacuation (medevac) Insurance.

The following communicable diseases are prevalent: Dengue, Typhoid, Tuberculosis, Diarrhea.

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

For a list of available medical facilities, refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.

Available Air Ambulance Services

Republic of Nauru Hospital works frequently with international medevac services. A September 2018 report of Nauru blocking the transfer of an air ambulance was predicated on the patient’s refugee status, and not comparable to what a non-refugee resident or traveler would experience.

Insurance Guidance

While the government affords Nauruan citizens free healthcare, international visitors must pay for services. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.

A medical evacuation to Australia can be very expensive and severely limited by the lack of regular flights out of Nauru. Medevac will likely cost thousands of dollars, and will be considered only if the patient has adequate insurance or pays up front. In some cases, a medevac to Australia can require a medical visa. The U.S. Embassy recommends all travelers have travel and medical insurance. Note that you usually must purchase medevac insurance separately from other policies.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Nauru.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is no OSAC Country Council in Nauru. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s East Asia Pacific team with any questions.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address: U.S. Embassy Suva: 158 Princes Rd, Tamavua, Suva, Fiji

Embassy Contact Numbers

Telephone: + (679) 331-4466

Emergency: + (679) 772-8049; for after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens, callers can also dial the main switchboard at (679) 331-4466 and ask for the duty officer.


Nearby Post: Virtual Presence Post Tonga

Embassy Guidance: U.S. citizens traveling to Kiribati should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to ensure they receive pertinent security updates and notices.

Additional Resource: Nauru Country Information Sheet