Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 13 July 2018, 10:45 NZST
  • Still current at: 19 February 2020

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Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in Timor-Leste due to violent crime and isolated incidents of civil unrest.

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Violent Crime
There are occasional incidents of assault and other violent crime in Timor-Leste, including in Dili. Foreigners may be targeted for robbery because of their perceived wealth. Gang-related violence can occur, and in the past has included stone throwing at vehicles.

New Zealanders in Timor-Leste should exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, and pay close attention to personal belongings. Sexual harassment of foreigners occurs, predominantly against women. We advise against travelling alone at night and to isolated areas for security reasons.  Women should avoid using public transport (including taxis) alone, especially at night.

Road Travel
Poor road quality, poor driving standards and a rapidly increasing number of cars and motorbikes on the roads, especially in Dili, makes driving hazardous and accidents are frequent, especially at night when lighting can be minimal. 

Driving accidents can attract large crowds that can turn violent at short notice.In the event that you are involved in a traffic accident you should immediately call the Timor-Leste National Police (emergency number 112). Should you assess any threats to your personal safety you should remove yourself from the situation.

Checkpoints occasionally operate in Dili and throughout the country. New Zealanders should carry relevant personal identification and vehicle registration papers with them at all times.

Civil Unrest
Timor-Leste is generally stable, but there are ongoing security risks.  Disturbances could occur with little warning and escalate quickly.. Other localised unrest, including street clashes between gangscan occur in certain areas of Dili.

New Zealanders in Timor-Leste are advised to avoid political protests. Regularly monitor the media and local information sources to keep up to date on political and security developments. If you find yourself in an area of disturbance, leave the area immediately and move to a safe location.

Piracy is a problem in South East Asian waters. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy report.

General Travel Advice
Medical services in Timor-Leste are very limited and New Zealanders travelling or resident in Timor-Leste should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious, social and cultural traditions in Timor-Leste to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

Timor-Leste lies in an active seismic zone, and experiences earthquakes. Familiarise yourself with general safety procedures in the event of an earthquake.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in Timor-Leste are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Dili, Timor-Leste

Street Address Rua Geremias do Amaral, Motael, Dili, Timor-Leste Telephone +670 331 0087 Emergency Telephone +670 7732 1015 Email Hours Mon - Fri 9:00am - 11:00am; 2:00pm - 4:00pm

See our regional advice for South East Asia

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New Zealand Embassy Timor-Leste

Street Address
Rua Geremias do Amaral, Motael, Dili, Timor-Leste

Telephone: +670 331 0087

Emergency Telephone: +670 7732 1015


Hours: Mon - Fri 9:00am - 11:00am; 2:00pm - 4:00pm

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