Maldives - Formalities
Except if arriving in an emergency, it is necessary to appoint an agent in advance of arrival.
Yachts usually clear in and out at Malé, although now Uligamu in Haa Alifu Atoll and Gan in Addu Atoll are also Ports of Entry. Uligamu is proving to be a popular port at which to clear in and the officials there are friendly and helpful, plus the last report we received by a boat clearing in here is that it is $100 cheaper to enter via Uligamu than Male.
Stays of less than 48 hours:
Yachts can stay up-to 48 hours at the arrival Port of Entry without appointing an agent. But the vessel must get clearance within 24 hours of arrival and clear out within 48 hours.
Customs fees are payable for inward and outward clearance and a small entry fee to the Port Authority, however a Clearance Permit fee is not charged. See Fees for further details.
Stays of more than 48 hours:
If staying longer in the Maldives, all vessels must appoint an agent within 48 hours of arrival.
Stays of less than 7 days:
If is now no longer necessary to purchase a Cruising Permit if staying less than 7 days.
Staying 7 days or longer:
It is important that if you plan to stay 7 days or more, then your application for a Cruising Permit must reach the Ministry of Tourism within 84 hours of your Inward Clearance (this excludes Public holidays). If this is not done, then your agent can be fined.
Dealing with your Agent
The agent's fee can be anything upward of US$75, although it varies depending on the agent and it is definitely worth shopping around and negotiating the fees to be paid in advance of arrival. There are a number of legitimate agents in the Maldives, see here for a list. Check that any agent used is registered with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and it is definitely worth asking around first as to which agents other cruisers recommend.
When an agent has been prearranged, he should be notified 48 hours before arrival of the ETA. An ETA letter will then be sent by the agent to the Ministry of Defence and National Security, Customs, Port Authority, Immigration and Quarantine. The details of the ETA letter include the following particulars:
- Name of vessel
- Name of master and nationality
- Name of owner
- Port of registration and official number
- Gross tonnage
- HF working frequency
- Last port of call
- Estimated date and time of arrival
- Number of crew
Cruising Permit (Tourism Fee) - Amendment February 2014
The requirement for this fee, introduced 1st June 2010, refers to a Foreign Tourist Vessel 'cruising' and harbouring' in the Maldives. If staying less than 7 days, then a permit is not required. If staying longer, then the permit must be applied for within 84 hours of clearing in.
It costs US$325 (MVR 5,000) and is valid for the length of the stay (maximum 180 days).
Payment must be made to the Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture in Male. If clearing in at another port the Agent can help with this payment for an extra charge.
The cruising permit will list the atolls for which permission has been granted for a visit. An agent can arrange this. Yachts not obtaining permission are liable to be fined a substantial amount. Without this permit, a yacht must remain in the arrival anchorage.
If wishing to have guests on board, then a charter licence must be purchased as well as payment of the Tourism fee.
See Fees for the costs involved.
Be prepared to pay all fees in cash.
Last updated April 2016.
All visitors must have a passport valid for 6 months.
Visas can now be given for up to 90 days on arrival. This is the maximum stay allowed, after which you must leave the country for 3 months.
If the original visa is for less than 90 days, then extensions may be purchased and can be done in one day if the application is submitted before 10am. A passport type photo with a white background is required. Two extensions are permitted up to the maximum of 90 days.
Proof of sufficient funds may be required.
It is routine for Immigration officials to impound passports.
Crew joining the boat in the Maldives
Any additions to crew must be arranged in advance by an agent otherwise any crew member arriving by plane to join the boat in the Maldives will be forced to depart the Maldives by plane (not on the boat).
Last updated April 2016.
Firearms must be declared on arrival and will be confiscated until departure. Ensure you are given a receipt. All firearm must have a permit, otherwise on departure one has to go to the Ministry of Defence with the receipt to get approval for the return of the firearms. Any firearms and ammunition not declared will be seized. Firearms without a licence or official documents could be confiscated; this includes spear guns.
Customs requires nine crew lists on arrival as well as a deratting certficate.
Prohibited imports are:- pornographic material; materials deemed contrary to Islam, including "idols for worship" and bibles; pork and pork products; and alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are only available on resort islands and should not be taken off a resort. .
The export of tortoiseshell, turtleshell and whole black coral is forbidden.
As Malé is a free port, no duties are levied, but goods must be declared.
From 5th February 2014 a yacht is now allowed to stay (with a cruising licence) for 180 days.
Last updated April 2016.
Dengue fever is endemic.
Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid and a booster for polio are recommended.
Yellow fever certificates are required if arriving from an infected area.
Medical facilities are limited. There are only two hospitals and these are on the capital island, Malé. Neither has a trauma unit. Although most resort islands are within easy reach of a general physician, many are several hours' travel away from the hospital facilities on Malé. Many resort islands are more than an hour away from the nearest decompression chamber.
Documents required for clearance; passports, clearance certificate from last port of call, crew list (9 copies), copy of boat registration (2 copies), deratting certificate, a list of alcohol on board, a list of medications on board including number of pills etc..
Entry Fees November 2014:
Agents Fee: US$75 upwards.
Inward Clearance: US$64.85 (MVR 1000.00)
Outward clearance: US$64.85 (MVR 1000.00)
Payable to Maldives Customs Service.
Entry Fee: US$3.24 (MVR 50.00)
Payable to Port Authority.
Cruising Permit Fee: US$325 (MVR 5000.00)
Payable for stays of more than 7 days (new rule from 5th March 2014). Payable to Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture in Male.
Summary of Fees January 2015:
For yachts staying less than 7 days (limited to one port only), including government fees and agent fees - approx. US$200.
For yachts cruising Maldives for one month, including cruising permit and all government fees and agent fees - approx. US$700.
Tourist Visa extension: US$75 per person. Not now normally required as a 90 day visa issued on arrival.
Changes to crew list: US$35
There will be a transport charge if you are unable to ferry the 6 officials out to your boat for clearance.
There may also be a fee for de-rating exemption (if you do not have a Health certificate).
Charter Fees (as of November 2011):-
Vessels less than 25 meters USD 15.00 per day
Vessels from 26 to 35 meters USD 200.00 per day
Vessels from 36 to 45 meters USD 350.00 per day
Vessels from 46 to 75 meters USD 450.00 per day
Vessels from 75 meters and above USD 600.00 per day
In addition to the charter license fee there is a bed tax of USD 8.00 per guest per night payable to Maldives Inland Revenue.
Last updated January 2015.
Permission from the owner should be obtained before visiting uninhabited islands.
Most resort islands do not permit anchoring in their waters.
The Maldives are an Islamic country, which means certain customs must be respected. Pork and alcohol are only available on the tourist islands. A certain modesty in dress is expected.
Nudism and topless sunbathing are prohibited throughout Maldives including on resort islands.
The majority of agents operate from Male. Those that handle clearance elsewhere are noted. There is a great deal of rivalry amongst agents here, all fighting for work and all rather suspicious. If enquiring with an agency about fees and terms, it is recommended you attach a copy of your yacht registration to avoid any confusion over your identity.
Last updated May 2014.
A ship agent also able to help with a range of technical problems.
Being a Muslim society, dogs are considered unclean and are not permitted to be brought into the county.
Other pets require a health certificate from an authorized veterinarian, stating that the animal is free from infections and contagious diseases.
Last updated May 2015.