Why carry an IDP while driving in Tuvalu?
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.
It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Tuvalu highly recommends an International Driving Permit.
How to get your IDP
We’ve streamlined the application process down by creating a platform that guides you so you know exactly what you’ll need to successfully complete your application
1. Apply Online
Start your application for International Driver's License Get the IDP.
2. Upload Photos
Make sure to upload an updated photo and with the correct parameters.
3. Get approved
Wait for your confirmation and you are ready to go!
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The biggest atoll is Funafuti, and it is where you’ll find Fongafale, the central business area in the country, and the location of the international airport. Flights to Tuvalu are very limited and occur just a few times a week. So if you visit the country, it would be best to stay for more than a week. Plus, with all the sites to see and experience in Tuvalu, a few days wouldn’t really be enough.
Funafuti Conservation Area
The Funafuti Conservation Area (FCA) is the most visited tourist destination in Tuvalu. It covers about 20% of the reef area in the entire Funafuti Lagoon, and it also has a couple of ecologically significant islets or “Motus” within its jurisdiction. The area was declared a protected area in 1999, and it has successfully protected various keystone wildlife, including the Green Sea Turtle, corals, and different species of birds.
When you visit the Funafuti Conservation Area, you go birdwatching, have a picnic by the beach, or go snorkeling to see if you can find the green sea turtles and might manta rays. Some of the islets are also nesting grounds for the green sea turtle, so if you want to watch them hatch, maybe volunteer at the Funafuti Conservation Area.
The FCA is just located on the western side of the Funafuti Atoll. To get to the area, you’ll have to charter a small boat. Since there are no resorts in the country, you can simply ask any of the locals in Funafuti where you can charter a boat. You’d mostly have a higher chance of finding a boat when you ask locals living along the beach. They will also instruct you where your jump-off point is (most likely where their boats are parked).
If you need to drive from your hotel or homestay to your jump-off points, do not forget to bring your native driving license and your International Driver’s License. The requirements to secure one just includes your valid native driving license, two passport-sized photos, and a credit card.
There is no International Driving License - Tuvalu office for foreigners; thus, you should secure one before traveling to the country. To secure an International Driving License, website platforms like ours provide a very convenient way for applicants. Once you enter all your personal details, you just need to pay for your International Driving License - Tuvalu fee online as well via credit card or PayPal.
If you choose to have a physical IDP or IDL (International Driver’s License), Tuvalu locations don’t have postal codes, so it is not recommended having it shipped to the country. Instead, have it shipped to your location prior to traveling to Tuvalu. The good thing about getting an IDP with us is that you qualify for a free replacement service. Once your IDP is issued to you, make sure to take note of your International Driver’s License - Tuvalu number because this will be required when you ask for replacement.
As the capital of Tuvalu, you can find plenty of things to do within Funafuti Atoll. The atoll alone consists of several islets where you can cross to during the low tide. Funafuti is where you’ll find the international airport, the stadium, community entertainment centers, and shopping marts. It is also where the country’s longest highway is located, and a road trip from end to end is an experience that you shouldn’t miss.
The Tuvalu International Airport is also one of the few international airports in the world that can be utilized by the public for random activities. Since flights only happen a few times a week, people would play sports on the runway. You can join in if you want to since games on the runway are just one of the pastimes.
If you want to explore the culture as well, you can visit the market, try Tuvaluan delicacies and join the celebrations filled with singing and dancing. Tuvaluan women are great at making handicrafts, and you can buy some (apart from the stamps) for souvenirs.
The roads are basically located within the Fongafale island. With this, the best mode of transportation that you can use is the motorcycle. If you want to visit the other islets, you can do so by boat or by foot. Yes, you read that right. During low tides, some islets on the Funafuti Atoll become accessible by foot. If you want to experience walking to the islets, you should consult with locals because they know best the timing and levels of the tide.
When you explore Funafuti by motorcycle, again, do not forget to bring your native driving license, and your International Driver’s License - Tuvalu. Our email address is found on our Contact Us page if you have questions about getting an IDP. But to walk you through some basic facts, you can ship your International Driver’s License to a Tuvalu address. However, when you consider shipping your International Driver’s License to Tuvalu, zip codes are non-existent, so you’ll need to provide a detailed address as much as possible.
Updates on the International Driving Permit - Tuvalu will be posted online by us, or you can check the website of the United Nations. If there are also updates regarding the International Driving Permit - Tuvalu rates or the International Driving Permit - Tuvalu fees, you will be able to find them on our homepage as well.
Nanumanga is a 3km2 island a few nautical miles away from Funafuti. It is of utmost interest because of its underwater caves that were once unsubmerged. Natives lived in those caves and left various artifacts that have since been preserved. This discovery has made a sublime interest in the changing seawater levels within Tuvalu and the entire world. If you have a SCUBA diving license that allows you to go cave diving, seeing the Nanumanga underwater caves are a must.
To get to Nanumanga, you’ll have to ride a boat from Funafuti. You wouldn’t be able to do advance booking for boat rides online, so you’ll have to buy a ticket once you arrive in Tuvalu. Trips usually depart in the morning every five (5) days. There are no roads as well, considering the size of the island, so you’ll have to explore it on foot. If you’re planning on SCUBA diving into the caves, you need to make an advanced booking with one of the tour operators in Funafuti.
Nanumea is the farthest atoll from Funafuti. It is the northernmost atoll of Tuvalu, and it is about 600 meters wide. Nanumea played a significant role during World War II. Since it was the nearest island to Kiribati (where Japanese bases were located), it became a bomber base for the U.S. forces. Since it is an atoll, there is a lagoon in the middle where you can swim.
The dry portion of the Nanumea Atoll is filled with dense vegetation. It is an inhabited island with less than a thousand people, so you’ll also get to meet the locals when you visit Nanumea. Apart from seeing the vibrant marine life around the atoll, you can also see remnants of World War II in the area. You can ask locals to point you to where these WWII wrecks are or just explore the island and find them yourself.
Since Nanumea is the farthest atoll, you’ll have to ride a boat for days. Boat services to the other islands outside Funafuti are grouped together like a cruise. This means that the boats don’t return to Funafuti every after one island. Instead, it travels to different islands first before it returns. If you want to visit Nanumea, you’ll have to take the boat to the northern islands. This include Nanumea, Nanumanga, and Niutao. The boat often leaves in the morning and reaches the island after 24 hours. It would take a total of five (5) days before the boat arrives back at Funafuti.
There may be a few motorcycles in Nanumea, but there are no paved roads. If you still want to drive around, you can try to find locals that will lend you their bikes. But, when you do this, make sure that you have with you your driving license. You have to bring with you your International Driving Permit in all Tuvalu zones. There are plenty of International Driving Permit (for Tuvalu) services worldwide. Some agencies issuing international driving permits have physical offices for applications, while some, like us, offer application services online.
If you apply with us, you don’t need to give us a Tuvalu address for the International Driver’s Permit because you can just obtain a digital IDP. For your International Driving License in Tuvalu, your contact number, permanent address, full name, and vehicle class are just the information that you’ll need to divulge on the application.
Most Important Rules of the Road
There are only a few paved roads in Tuvalu, and they are only found on the capital atoll of Funafuti, particularly on the island of Fongafale and Funafala. Likewise, even within the central business center in Fongafale, roads (paved and unpaved) are limited. Nevertheless, the government has put in place a couple of traffic rules for everyone to follow.
All the road rules are guided by the Traffic Act. If you get caught violating any of these rules, you will be liable to a fine. In addition, imprisonment is also not optional. You’ll have to pay the fine and be imprisoned for some time depending on your violation. This may perhaps be the reason why people in Tuvalu always make sure to drive safely — the penalties are very intense!
Do not drink and drive
It’s easy to disregard drunk-driving laws, especially when you are in a remote area. However, avoid assuming this in Tuvalu because the police conduct random breath tests to the public. They conduct breath testing either via checkpoints or through mobile patrolling. The maximum blood alcohol concentration allowed in the country is only 0.08%. If you are caught driving any vehicle (including non-motorized vehicles) while intoxicated beyond these limits, you will be liable to a fine of $200 and imprisonment of one (1) year.
Once you collide with another road user because you are intoxicated while driving, additional liabilities will be imposed upon you. So before enjoying that delicious fermented coconut drink by the beach, remember to drink moderately or allow some time to sober down before driving. Considering that you’ll be driving a motorcycle, the risks of accidents from being intoxicated are very high as compared to driving a four-wheel-vehicle because alcohol reduces your sense of balance.
Always Bring Your Driving License
To drive legally in Tuvalu, you’ll need to have your driving license from your home country and an International Driving Permit (IDP) for Tuvalu. The International Driving Permit is most necessary when your native driving license is not printed in the English language or in Roman Alphabet characters. You can use your native driving license and IDP in the country for 14 days. If you’re staying in the country beyond 14 days, you’ll have to secure a local driving permit. The IDA issues international driving permits recognized in over 150 countries.
If you don’t have an International Driver’s License for Tuvalu yet, website platforms like ours provide you with an easy way to secure one. You can get a digital IDP within 20 – 120 minutes, and you don’t even have to visit a physical application center for your International Driver’s Permit - Tuvalu. We recommend that you secure an IDP before you travel to Tuvalu because internet signals are quite weak, and Wi-Fi services are expensive.
To get an International Driver’s License for Tuvalu, the requirements only include your native driver’s license, valid passport, passport-sized photo, and credit card for payment. If you secure one from us, you will be eligible for a free replacement service in case you lose your IDP. All you need to do is to provide us with your International Driver’s License for Tuvalu number and your preferred International Driver’s License - Tuvalu shipping address.
Drive On the Left Side of The Road
There is only one main highway in Tuvalu, and it is located in the capital atoll of Funafuti. The highway only features one(1) carriageway with lanes that could fit only one (1) full-sized bus in each direction. Basically, the roads in Tuvalu are very narrow. Wherever you are driving, make sure to always drive on the left side of the road, even when you are driving on non-paved roads. Road markings and traffic signs are also very few in the country, so you’ll just have to memorize the basic rules by heart.
If you are used to driving on the right-hand side of the road, it would be best to take your time practicing in Tuvalu. Turning junctions are often the most challenging, especially when you are driving a motorcycle. No matter how clear the road is, continue to drive safely and below the speed limit of 60 km/hour.
Drive Safely, Not Recklessly
Some traffic laws in Tuvalu are quite general. For example, there is a law about reckless driving, but reckless isn’t precisely defined. Likewise, there is another separate law about careless driving, but again, the factors that describe what careless driving is are not specified.
With this, if you do any kind of mischief while driving on the road, you may potentially be charged with reckless or careless driving. The penalties for careless driving are $100 and six (6) months of jail time, while the penalties for reckless driving are $200 and 12 months of jail time. So when you need to overtake, park, or do any kind of maneuvers, make sure to do it as properly as you can and exercise regard for other road users, including pedestrians.
If you want to hear the latest news about the International Driver’s Permit for Tuvalu, make sure to check in with us from time to time.
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