Changes to entering the UK using EU ID cards

From 1st October 2021, most EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need to use a valid passport to travel to the UK. ID cards will no longer be accepted as a valid travel document to enter the UK, though some exemptions will apply. 

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  • Overview

    Referred to by Captain Cook as the 'Friendly Islands', Tonga spreads south of Samoa for 500 miles (800km). Consisting of 170-odd islands the country is the Pacific's last monarchy and the only Pacific nation never to be colonised. Tongans are fiercely proud of their history and culture, with this deep passion making Tonga a wonderful travel destination for those seeking both tropical beach bliss and a window into authentic Polynesian life.

    After a brief period of riots and political turmoil in 2006, when locals rose up in protest against a new monarch notorious for his lavish lifestyle, Tonga has now reverted to its former peaceful and laid-back disposition, and the country is considered a safe and stable travel destination.

    Tonga is a choice location for watersports enthusiasts and a tranquil retreat for those needing a break from the crush of modern urban life. Visitors often make use of yacht charters to explore the islands of Vava'u and Neiafu, while snorkelling close to shore and diving around phenomenal coral reefs. The archipelago is also a celebrated surfing destination, but the reef breaks typical of the islands are not necessarily suitable for novices. The presence of humpback whales in Tongan waters also make it a sought-after winter holiday destination.

    The Tongan people are friendly and the culture relaxed, with traditional Christian values predominating alongside older Polynesian customs. The capital and commercial centre of Nuku'alofa bears testament, with a blend of western and traditional influence evident in the vibrant markets thriving alongside crumbling colonial buildings and numerous churches. The capital city is on the main island of Tongatapu, which is home to about 70 percent of the population and usually the first port of call for travellers before seeking out the less populated islands where pristine beaches and chilled resorts beckon.

    Despite the obvious appeal of the archipelago as an idyllic island getaway, Tonga remains largely unblemished by large-scale tourist development and has not been overrun by package tourists. This may be discouraging for those looking for luxury, but the ultimately unpolished nature of the islands is the main charm for many visitors.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Despite the huge distance from the north of the country to the south, the climate in Tonga is relatively steady, with only mild differences in temperature between the warm Vava'u and Niuas and the noticeably cooler Eua. The climate in Tonga is divided between the dry season (May to October) and the wet season (November to April), with temperatures maintaining an average of 78°F (26°C) throughout the year. March is the wettest month in Tonga, and most rain falls at night, with hot, humid days. Tropical storms in Tonga are most likely to occur between November and March. The best time to travel to Tonga is during the dry season, when most of the festivals are held. While prices generally stay steady throughout the year, tourists travelling to Tonga in the December to January holiday period should book flights and accommodation well in advance.

    Language:

    The official languages are Tongan and English.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current in Tonga is 220 - 240 volts, 50Hz. Australian-style plugs with three rectangular prongs are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: US citizens require a passport that is valid on arrival. A visa is required. American citizens can obtain a tourist visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 31 days.

    UK nationals: UK citizens require a passport that is valid on arrival. A visa is required. British citizens can obtain a visa for touristic purposes on arrival; the visa is valid for 31 days.

    CA nationals: Canadian citizens require a passport that is valid on arrival. A visa is required. Canadians can obtain a tourist visa on arrival; the visa is valid for 31 days.

    AU nationals: Australian citizens require a passport that is valid on arrival. A visa is required. Tourist visa are available to Australians upon arrival in Tonga, these visas are valid for 31 days.

    ZA nationals: SA citizens require require a passport that is valid on arrival. A visa is required.

    IR nationals: Irish citizens require a passport that is valid on arrival. A visa is required. Irish nationals are able to get a 'visitors visa' on arrival in Tonga, these visas are valid for 31 days. Visitors must hold documents and tickets for their return/onward journey and sufficient funds to cover their stay.

    NZ nationals: NZ citizens require a passport that is valid on arrival. A visa is required. New Zealand citizens can obtain a 'visitors visa' on arrival, for touristic purposes. Visitors visas are are valid for 31 days. Visitors must hold documents and tickets for their return/onward journey and sufficient funds to cover their stay.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Visitors must hold documents and tickets for their return/onward journey and sufficient funds to cover their stay. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Yellow fever vaccinations are required for all travellers arriving from infected areas in Africa or the Americas but are not otherwise recommended. Tap water should only be drunk if it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected. Medical facilities are limited in Tonga and comprehensive travel insurance is advised. Travellers should take all required medication with them.

    Local Customs:

    Tonga is predominantly Christian and locals are generally very conservative. Modest dress is expected outside of hotels. When greeting a stranger, a handshake is appropriate, but family members will press their noses together and exhale loudly. It is acceptable to eat with your hands, and it is customary to wash your hands before and after the meal. Sundays are reserved mainly for religious worship and many restaurants and shops will be closed. Homosexuality is technically illegal and the law is occasionally enforced - same-sex partners should avoid public displays of affection.

    Duty Free:

    Visitors to Tonga over the age of 18 may import 250 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of loose tobacco; and 2.25 litres of spirits or 4.5 litres of wine or beer. All plant and animal products must be declared.

    Useful Contacts:

    Tonga Tourism Authority, Nuku'alofa: +676 25334 or info@tourism-tonga.com

    Tonga Embassies:

    Tongo Consulate General, San Francisco, United States: (650) 685 1001

    Tongan High Commission, London, United Kingdom: 020 7724 5828

    Tongan High Commission, Canberra, Australia: (+61) 26232 4806

    Foreign Embassies in Tonga :

    U.S. Embassy in Tonga, Suva, Fiji: (679) 331-4466

    Canadian Embassy in Tonga, Nuku'alofa, Tonga: 676 23-244

    High Commission of Australia, Nuku'alofa, Tonga: 676 23 244

    Tonga