Marshall Islands travel guide
About Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands form a nation of scattered atolls and remote islands, which are known for their marine life and diving opportunities. Many of the atolls are dotted with Flame of the Forest, hibiscus and different-coloured plumeria flowers. There are also at least 160 species of coral surrounding the islands. The atolls are noted for their coconut and papaya plantations and for pandanus and breadfruit trees.
The Marshallese are an interesting bunch. Apart from being a skilled seafaring people who know fishing and navigating as well as anyone, they're a thoroughly multicultural bunch. After two millennia of being isolated, the islands began to be settled and colonised from the 18th century by a wave of successive visitors and occupiers, from British and Russians, to Germans, Japanese and Americans.
The most modern atolls bear the marks of all the above, with diverse restaurants and cuisine on offer. The capital of Majuro Atoll leans towards the Western, being relatively developed though still pretty laid-back. The real tropical wonders are the outer islands, which for the most part are immaculate freckles of paradise, though some have witnessed the horrors of nuclear testing.
The Marshall Islands are undoubtedly a diving hotspot, with many enthusiasts skipping the capital altogether and heading for a spot of nature diving at Rongelap. Diving among wrecks from World War II is also popular, though perhaps the main diving attraction is Bikini Island. You may have heard of Bikini. From or near here, some 23 nuclear devices were detonated in tests by the US in the reef, inside the atoll, by air and even underwater. Divers can go on guided tours to explore the history of nuclear testing, while UNESCO has declared Bikini a World Heritage Site for the fact the remaining, direct tangible evidence of nuclear testing. Leased to the US military, Kwajalein Atoll remains in use for missile testing.
181.4 sq km (70 sq miles).
53,069 (UN estimate 2016).
398.8 per sq km.
Republic in free association with the USA.
President Hilda C. Heine since 2024.
Before you travel
No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:
- women travellers
- disabled travellers
- LGBT+ travellers
- solo and independent travel
- volunteering and adventure travel
If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.
About FCDO travel advice
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.
This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in the Marshall Islands set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Marshall Islands Office of Commerce, Investment and Tourism or the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA):
Phone: +692 625 6482
Fax: +692 625 6771
There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering the Marshall Islands.
Passport validity requirements
To enter the Marshall Islands, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive and one blank page for an entry stamp.
Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.
You must have a visa to enter the Marshall Islands.
If you are visiting, you will get a visa on arrival. To work or study, you must apply before you travel.
Applying for a visa
To apply for a visa, contact Marshall Islands Office of Commerce, Investment and Tourism or the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA) before you travel:
Phone: +692 625 6482
Fax: +692 625 6771
Travelling through a US territory
If you’re travelling through a US territory to reach the Marshall Islands, you must apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). See USA travel advice.
You must pay a departure tax of 20 US dollars in cash at the airport.
For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Marshall Islands guide.
Proof of MMR vaccination for children
To enter the Marshall Islands, you must show proof children aged 4 and under have had the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. For details, see the Ministry of Health and Human Services.
There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of the Marshall Islands. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.
Duty-free allowances for travellers aged 18 and over include:
- 2 half-cartons of cigarettes
- 2 litres of liquor
- 8 ounces of chewing tobacco
You must get certification from the Quarantine Division if you bring:
It is illegal to export coral and turtle shell.
It is illegal to import firearms, ammunition and drugs.
Taking money into the Marshall Islands
You must declare cash in any currency worth more than 10,000 US dollars.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.
Terrorism in the Marshall Islands
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the Marshall Islands, attacks cannot be ruled out.
Crime rates are low in the Marshall Islands, but there is a risk of petty crime, including break-ins and non-violent theft. Take the same precautions you would in the UK to protect your belongings.
Laws and cultural differences
Illegal drugs penalties
There are severe penalties for all drug offences, including long prison sentences and heavy fines.
Same-sex relationships are legal in the Marshall Islands.
Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.
Using a mobile phone
Your UK mobile phone will not work in the Marshall Islands. International roaming is not available. You can buy a Marshall Islands SIM card when you arrive.
Outdoor activities and adventure tourism
Wear a life jacket for canoeing, kayaking or fishing. Follow your dive centre’s safety advice when scuba diving and take local advice before swimming or snorkelling.
See water safety on holiday from the Royal Life Saving Society.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
There is a risk of cyclones, floods and severe drought in the Marshall Islands, although they are rare.
Cyclone season is normally from November to April, but cyclones can happen throughout the year. Severe weather may cause flooding, landslides and disruption to essential services and infrastructure.
Monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organization and follow instructions issued by the local authorities.
Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.
Before you travel check that:
- your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
- you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation
This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.
Emergency medical number
Call 625 4142 and ask for an ambulance.
Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Health risks and recommended vaccines
At least 8 weeks before your trip:
- check the latest vaccine recommendations for the Marshall Islands
- see where to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page
See what health risks you’ll face in the Marshall Islands, including:
- Zika virus
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.
The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.
Healthcare facilities in the Marshall Islands
Medical facilities are very limited. Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance which covers all medical costs, including medical evacuation. Bring sufficient supplies of prescription medicines with you.
Travel and mental health
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.
Emergency services in the Marshall Islands
Ambulance: 625 4142
Police: 625 8666
Contact your travel provider and insurer
Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.
Refunds and changes to travel
For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.
Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:
- where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
- how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim
Support from FCDO
FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:
- getting help if you’re a victim of crime
- what to do if you’re in hospital
- if you’re affected by a crisis, such as a terrorist attack
You can also contact FCDO online.
Help abroad in an emergency
If you are in the Marshall Islands and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Suva, Fiji, who provide consular assistance for the Marshall Islands.
FCDO in London
You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.
Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)