Kiribati guide to life and working in South Tarawa



Kiribati is part of the division of islands in the Pacific Ocean known as Micronesia. It has a population of over 100 000 people and consists of 33 coral islands divided among three island groups – the Gilbert, Phoenix and Line Islands. Only 21 of the 33 islands are inhabited making Kiribati a dream destination for tourists and expats seeking a simpler life. The people of Kiribati are fairly poor and live mainly off subsistence farming. Island life is such that the iKiribatis often run out of vegetables, staples and even toilet paper, but being an island nation they just put a smile on their dials and carry on with life. Their main industry is fishing, and this is where most expats come to work. We have the info to get you started off on journey as an expatriate in Kiribati. 


Expat Clubs

There are no expat meet up clubs as such in Kiribati and most expats communicate online through websites such as

International Schools 

It is compulsory for children to attend school up until the age of 14. The school system in Kiribati is such that allows the iKiribati language until the third grade but discourages it thereafter in favour of English. There are no international or private schools in Kiribati, however there are a number of non-government schools that are run by the various churches on the island. Please see the ministry of education website for more information

Local News in English


News on Kiribati continually updated from thousands of sources around the net.

Country Information 

Location: Pacific

Capital City: South Tarawa

Currency: Australian Dollar

Language: English

Calling Code: +686

Internet TLD: .ki

Electricity: 240V 50Hz

The government-owned Public Utility Board supplies diesel generated power in South Tarawa. The Kiribati Solar Energy Company provides electricity to outer islands through solar home systems.

Emergency Numbers:

 Police – 992

Fire – 993

Medical - 994

Embassy Information 

Residents Visa and Work Permit information

If you are moving to Kiribati to work your company will have to apply for a work visa for you. Here are the requirements that need to be met in order to obtain a tourist visa for the country in the interim:

By Visa Exemption Order 2007


1/ Nationals and citizens of the following countries are exempted from obtaining a visa before entering Kiribati where the intended duration of their stay is 30 days or less: Belize, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao (only in respect of holders of Macao Special Administrative Region Passports), Marshall Islands, Palau, Republic of China (Taiwan), Republic of Korea.

2/ Nationals and citizens of the following countries specified are exempted from obtaining a visa before entering Kiribati: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Greece, Hong Kong (only in respect of holders of British Nationals Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports), Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United Kingdom Overseas Territories of (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands), United States of America, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

3/ Holders of laissez-passer issued by the United Nations are exempted from obtaining a visa before entering Kiribati when travelling on business of the United Nations.

For more info log onto:


Expats who relocate here to work for an NGO or for the embassies are often given accomodations, or are at the very least guided by their employers and local employees to areas and potential housing. There is no real estate company in Kiribati as such, so word of mouth is the best way to find a place to live on the island.

There is also the option of renting a serviced apartment; this is the perfect option for expatriates who have relocated to Kiribati in order to work for their embassy. It has all the amenities that a professional individual will need. For more information see this link

Driving License

Driving in Kiribati is relatively expensive, especially when compared with the other countries. Not only is the fuel very expensive, but the very nature of island life dictates that all vehicle parts have to be imported with very heavy import taxes. Many expats choose to use the minibuses on the island in order to get around. This is also a great way to interact with the locals.

Expats can drive using their country’s driving license for a maximum of 2 weeks after arriving to the island, thereafter they will have to obtain an iKiribati driving license. Expats can rent a car on the island, however they will have to book the rental at least 2 weeks in advance to ensure that the car is available.


Everyone who wishes to drive on the island will have to pass the driving license theory and practical tests. Click the following link for all the information you need for a driving test


The healthcare in Kiribati is at one of the poorest in the pacific region. Kiribati has very high fertility rates and very high infant mortality rates. There are 8000 people per square kilometer in the main city in Kiribati, this high density paired with the unsanitary conditions result in the spread of communicable diseases. Kiribati experiences high rates of infectious diseases including respiratory infections, hepatitis and other lifestyle diseases. It is recommended that the expats who come to the region have a good international insurance cover with a medical evacuation plan.

Insurance Companies

Aetna International:

Bupa Globa:

Lifecare International: