World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > Tuvalu

Tuvalu travel guide

About Tuvalu

Tuvalu, the world's second-smallest country and, according to the United Nations, one of the least developed, fulfils the classic image of a South Sea paradise. Visitors come to the islands to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and palm-fringed beaches. Pandanus, papaya, banana, breadfruit and coconut palms are typical. Traditional buildings with thatched roofs can be seen virtually everywhere on the islands.

Most activity is centred in the capital, Funafuti, where the greatest attraction is the enormous Funafuti Lagoon. The lagoon is 14km (9 miles) wide and about 18km (11 miles) long and is excellent for swimming and snorkelling. The second most populated island in the atoll is Funafala, which can be visited by hopping aboard the Funafuti Island Council's catamaran. There are no shops whatsoever in Funafala, so visitors should take their own provisions.

Key facts


26 sq km (10 sq miles).


9,943 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

418 per sq km.




Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state:

HM King Charles III since 2022, represented locally by Governor-General Tofiga Falani since 2021.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Feleti Teo since 2024.

Travel Advice

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: 

Travel insurance 

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

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Tuvalu set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Honorary Consul for Tuvalu in the UK.  

COVID-19 rules 

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Tuvalu. 

Passport validity requirements 

To enter Tuvalu, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive. 

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. 

Visa requirements 

You can visit Tuvalu without a visa for up to one month.  

To stay longer than one month or to work, study, travel for business or other reasons, you must get an extension from the Department of Immigration in Funafuti.  

Vaccine requirements  

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Tuvalu guide

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Tuvalu. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.


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 Tuvalu 

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Tuvalu, attacks cannot be ruled out. 

Laws and cultural differences  

Illegal drugs and prison sentences 

It is illegal to import, export, cultivate or distribute drugs. Penalties include fines and imprisonment. 

LGBT+ travellers 

Homosexuality is illegal in Tuvalu. If you’re found guilty of consensual sex between adult males, you could face up to 14 years in prison. 

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers

Internet and phone services 

There is one local mobile network in Tuvalu, other international networks will not work. You can buy local SIM cards in Funafuti. 


There are no ATMs in Tuvalu, and credit or debit card payments are not accepted. Bring enough Australian dollars in cash with you for the duration of your trip. 

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism  

Swimming safety 

Take care when swimming, diving or snorkelling in the sea as currents can be extremely strong. Coral reefs can easily cause cuts and scrapes. If you decide to scuba dive, make sure you use a reputable, fully licensed company with up-to-date equipment and necessary safety features. Deaths and serious accidents have occurred because basic safety measures were not in place. There are limited medical facilities in Tuvalu. 

Swimming in Funafuti lagoon is not recommended as it is highly polluted. 

See water safety on holiday from the Royal Life Saving Society. 

Transport risks  

Sea travel 

Before travelling in any vessel, check: 

  • you’re covered by insurance 
  • it is not overloaded 
  • there are safety precautions in place 
  • safety equipment is accessible and in working order 

Road travel  

If you are planning to drive in Tuvalu, see information on driving abroad.  

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Tuvalu for up to 2 weeks. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well.  

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards

Tropical cyclones 

The tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to May, but cyclones can happen throughout the year. During cyclone season there is a greater risk of strong winds and heavy rains, flooding, landslides and road closures.  

Monitor local and international weather updates from the Tuvalu Meteorological Service, in local newspapers and on Tuvalu Media Department Radio on 621 AM. 

Earthquakes and tsunamis 

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake and resulting tsunamis

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 911 or 999 and ask for an ambulance. 

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Vaccine recommendations and health risks 

At least 8 weeks before your trip:  

See what health risks you’ll face in Tuvalu, including dengue.  

Drinking water 

Drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.  


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. 

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad

Healthcare facilities in Tuvalu 

Tuvalu’s only hospital is on Funafuti. Trained nurses serve the outer islands. Medical facilities are generally adequate for routine medical treatment. For more serious or complicated problems, you may need medical evacuation to Fiji or Australia.  

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance, sufficient medication supplies and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. 

Travel and mental health 

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro

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 Tuvalu  

Ambulance: 999 

Hospital: (+688) 20749 

Fire: 000 

Police: 911 

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: 

Contacting FCDO 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated. 

You can also contact FCDO online

Help abroad in an emergency 

If you are in Tuvalu and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Suva, Fiji, who provide consular assistance for Tuvalu. 

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) 

Find out about call charges 

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