Visa and passport
Citizens of most countries do not need a visa. Most visitors receive a residence permit for 4 months on arrival. All others need a visa. The residence permit can be extended for another two months for a fee.
Fiji has three official languages: English, Fijian and Hindi.
Fijian is the first language of the indigenous Melanesian population, while a local variant of Hindi is spoken mainly by people of Indian origin. English is the lingua franca and medium of instruction in Fijian schools and is widely spoken in the larger cities and tourist areas. People living on some remote islands are not fluent in English, so it is useful to learn a few phrases in Fijian when travelling to these areas.
Fijian culture is a rich mosaic of indigenous Fijian, Indo-Fijian, Asian and European traditions, including social politics, language, food (mainly from the sea, but also casava, dalo (taro) and other vegetables), costumes, belief systems, architecture, arts, crafts, music, dance and sports.
While Fiji’s indigenous culture and traditions are very much alive and form an integral part of the daily lives of the majority of the Fijian population, Fijian society has evolved over the last century with the introduction of traditions such as those of India and China, as well as important influences from Europe and neighbouring Pacific countries, particularly Tonga and Samoa. Thus, Fiji’s diverse cultures have come together to form a unique multicultural national identity.
Fijian culture was showcased at the 1986 World Expo in Vancouver, Canada, and more recently at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, along with other Pacific countries in the Pacific Pavilion.
Fiji, like many Pacific island countries, has a strongly Christian moral society, having been colonised by missionaries in the nineteenth century and converted to Protestantism. Don’t be surprised if shops and other businesses are closed on Sundays. The Sabbath begins at 6pm the day before, and some businesses celebrate it on Saturday instead of Sunday. Many Indians are Hindus or Muslims.
Also, dress modestly and appropriately. Although Fiji is a tropical country, dress should be limited to beach wear. Ask locals what they consider appropriate attire for the occasion. When visiting towns and villages, you should cover your shoulders and wear shorts or a sarong that covers your knees (for both sexes). This is especially true for church visits, although locals will often lend you a sultan for a church visit.
There are no nudists/naturists or topless swimming in Fiji.