The Republic of Kiribati (pronounced kir-ree-bas) is an island group in the Western Pacific Ocean, consisting of an archipelago of some 30 low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs with a total land area of 800 square kilometers. Kiribati gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Kiribati has an elected President and a legislative assembly. The capital of Kiribati is Tarawa. Kiribati includes three administrative units, sixteen atolls of the former Gilbert Islands, eight atolls of the former Line Islands (including Christmas Island and Fanning Island), and eight atolls of the former Phoenix Islands. Kiribati has few natural resources, and its economy is very small. The islands are not self-sufficient in food. Tourist facilities are not widely available.
A valid passport and visa are required. Visa requirements include one application form, two photos and a fee. There is no Embassy of Kiribati in the United States. For information on entry requirements, please contact the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati, Suite 503, 850 Richards Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, telephone (808) 529-7703; fax (808)521-8304. For visa or other information, travelers may consult the Consular Section of the nearest British embassy or consulate. The British Embassy in the United States is located at 3100 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008. The telephone number is (202) 588-7800.
Health facilities in the Republic of Kiribati are not comparable to U.S. health standards.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning the Kiribati is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Traffic moves on the left side of the road. Roads in urban Tarawa and Christmas Island, while satisfactory in some areas, are generally in need of repair. After heavy rains, some road sections experience temporary flooding. Vehicle traffic proceeds at a relatively slow rate. Drinking and driving is a common practice, especially on the weekends. Since visibility is poor with no streetlights, drivers should be careful when driving at night.
For specific information concerning Kiribati driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Kiribati, 850 Richards Street, Suite 503, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel. (808) 529-7703, fax (808) 521-8304.
The Republic of Kiribati's customs authorities strictly prohibit the importation of firearms, ammunition, explosives and indecent publications. Strict quarantine laws govern the import of any part of plants, fruits, vegetables, soil, as well as animals and animal products. Visitors are not allowed to export human remains, artifacts that are 30 or more years old, traditional fighting swords, traditional tools, dancing ornaments or suits of armor. For more information, please contact the British Embassy.
In Kiribati, the Australian dollar is the legal currency. Travelers' checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most hotels.
Americans living in or visiting Kiribati are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, whose consular district includes the Republic of Kiribati. U.S. citizens may also obtain updated information on travel and security within Kiribati from the Embassy. Officers of the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands, are concurrently accredited to Kiribati and make periodic visits. The U.S. Embassy does not have a street address in Majuro. The Embassy is located on the ocean-side of the island's road, near the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and Gibson's Express, "Long Island." The U.S. Embassy's mailing address is P.O. Box 1379, Majuro, MH 96960-1379. The telephone number is (692) 247-4011. The fax number is (692) 247-4012.
As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the U.S. and Kiribati, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Kiribati's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.