Immigration. Travel. Living.

Kiribati: immigration guide

Flag of Kiribati

With a population of over 116 million people, the majority being of Micronesian origin. Kiribati’s official languages are English and Gilbertese. Possessing only a few natural resources, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, what it lacks in the economy, makes up with hospitality.

Due to the visa-free stay policy, it has with numerous countries, foreigners looking to visit may or may not require a visa to travel, depending on their home country. Citizens from countries who are exempted from this policy must apply for a visa at the consulate in their county of residence before traveling. 

Visa Types

If you are looking to live here for work, business, study, research, or any other purpose, you have to acquire a permit before entering the country. Entry without a permit or visa is considered illegal and attracts a fee. You can apply for a visa at a consulate around you if there is none in your country. 

Tourist Visa

Citizens from countries who are in a visa-free agreement can stay without a visa for 30 days or more depending on the duration of the agreement. As a foreigner looking to visit, you must find out your eligibility for a visa-free stay if you intend to stay for a short term. However, if you intend to stay longer than the stipulated time, you have to apply for a tourist visa before entry. A tourist visa is issued for a short stay to foreigners from countries without a visa-free agreement. You must provide certain documents such as a valid passport, bank statement, travel itinerary, etc. during the application process. 

Business Visa

This type of visa allows the entry of a business owner or business partner or an employee of a Kiribati-based company. It is valid for a minimum of 30 days and is mainly issued to citizens whose residence country is restricted to a visa entry. If you are traveling for a business meeting, expo, or any other business reason, you should apply for this visa at the nearest consulate. Ensure you submit all required documents needed to facilitate the process of your application.

Study Visa

If you are a newly admitted student in any Kiribati-based institution, you will require this visa to live here during your study. The visa is valid for the duration of your course and expires when you have graduated, except in the case of a withdrawal. Students looking to work part-time during their studies can apply for a work permit while studying. A study visa covers only your entry and stays provided you remain a student of the school. One of the requirements to submit when applying is a letter of admission from a recognized institution. 

Work Visa

A work visa is issued to a foreigner who is newly employed in a Kiribati-based organization. The type of work visa to apply for depends on the duties of such an employee. Most employers prefer the standard work permit, which is renewable and allows for multiple entries. However, there is also the option of getting a short-term tourist visa, which does not require permanent residence. All applicants must meet certain requirements before they are issued a work visa. To obtain a work visa while in Kiribati, you must present a complete visa application form to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.

Permanent Residence

Non-citizens living or working here must apply for a residence permit to live permanently, as a visa only grants them a temporary stay. To apply, you must have longer than 90 days, have a clean record, currently employed or married to a resident. The permit is only issued to applicants who have met all requirements. Another way to obtain this is by investing in a local business or setting up a company. Although you can reside longer and work, this does not automatically make you a citizen. 

How to apply

If you are applying for a visa, fill out the form and submit copies of your valid and authentic documents to the nearest consulate in your home country. Upon your arrival, if you are looking to work, you can apply for a work permit at the ministry.


To increase your chances of obtaining your visa, you must ensure you do the following:

  • Download and correctly fill out the application form
  • Each person applying for a permit of entry should make a separate application, except for children under 16 years of age
  • Prepare authentic documents required and submit them together with the completed application form

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