The Marshall Islands, or Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), is a small country located near Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. Considerably a young nation, it has a total land area of 70 sq miles for the main islands, but encompasses more than 750,000 sq miles of the middle Pacific Ocean’s waters. This is where many of the chains of coral reefs, and 29 atolls and 5 islands can be found. The Marshall Islands is well known since it is where the Bikini atoll is located. The Bikini atoll is a famous place because it has been used by the United States as a nuclear weapons test site from 1946 to 1958. The United States still maintains a military base and missile test facilities at the Kwajalein atoll of the Marshall Islands.
US passport holders who would like to travel to the Republic of Marshall Islands do not need a visa as long as their passport is valid for at least six months. The visa-free agreement is possible for US passport holders because of the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Republic of Marshall Islands. The Compact was put into place after the Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986 from the United States. The Compact of Free Association also appoints the United States as the peace keepers and defenders of the islands. It also allows them to continually use the Kwajalein atoll for their military activities by paying the RMI government yearly and at the same time providing them with millions of dollars in annual financial assistance. Many have observed and criticized that this has made the RMI very dependent on the United States government.
US passport holders can go to the Marshall Islands to enjoy the pristine beaches and beautiful coral reefs. The Marshall Islands has many exciting and challenging dive sites which can cater to scuba divers. They can also go sport fishing around the different atolls. The Marshall Islands has many ports and docks which boat owners can rent and park their fishing vessels.
US passport holders must remember to observe local laws and cultural practices. Some visitors and tourists are required to undergo HIV testing if they will stay in the RMI for 30 days or more. Travelers are also advised to get immunization for Hepatitis A and Typhoid fever before they go to the Marshall Islands. They must also prepare US$20.00 which they will use to pay for a departure fee when they are leaving the RMI.
To get further information and updates on traveling to the Marshall Islands, US passport holders may get in touch with Embassy of the Marshall Islands in Washington DC or the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority.
Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
2433 Massachusetts Ave NW
Telephone: (202) 234-5414
Fax: (202) 232-3236
Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA)
PO Box 5, MH96960
Telephone: (+692) 6256482
Fax: (+692) 625 6771