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East Timor
Preface Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:21 PM

Welcome to East Timor, the world's newest nation. Independence has brought mixed fortunes to this recovering war zone, as it remains a country in transition, and a country with a colorful history.

Portuguese traders arrived in East Timor 1509, and in 1556, a handful of friars established the first Portuguese settlement in present-day Oecussi, an enclave of East Timor surrounded by West Timor. Dutch-Portuguese rivalry in the region saw continued skirmishes, resulting in the 1859 Treaty of Lisbon that divided Timor, giving Portugal the eastern half of the island, together with the north-coast pocket of Oecussi in the west.

Timor was strategically significant during World War II, being a potential launching pad for a Japanese invasion of Australia. About 230 Australian troops mounted a guerilla campaign against 20,000 Japanese soldiers, keeping the Japanese at bay for several months. Massive sacrifices were made by the locals: by the end of the war about 60,000 East Timorese had lost their lives. A sunken Japanese warship still lingers in the harbor of Dili.

Following a military coup in Portugal in 1974, East Timor felt independence inching closer, and several political parties sprang up. Indonesia also saw an opportunity on August 11, 1975 when an internal dispute between the two major Timorese parties, Fretilin and the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), led the way for Indonesia's invasion on December 7, 1975. Despite the strength of Fretilin forces, Indonesia's military prevailed and conquered East Timor as its 27th province on July 16, 1976.

The Indonesian invasion and occupation was brutal. Falintil, the armed wing of Fretilin, fought a guerrilla war with marked success for the first 2–3years, but began to weaken considerably. The cost to the Timorese was horrific, with estimates of 100,000 or more dead, many through starvation or disease.

The world observed East Timor's plight on November 12, 1991, when Indonesian army troops fired upon protesters at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, killing several hundred Timorese. East Timor received international attention again in 1996 when Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo and leading East Timor spokesman José Ramos-Horta both won the Nobel Peace Prize. With the fall of Soeharto's regime, independence began to look more possible. Shortly after taking office in May 1998, Soeharto's successor, President Habibie, announced a referendum for East Timor's autonomy. In May 1999 the UN agreed to enter East Timor to help control the pro-Indonesian militia groups and to administer the ballot on autonomy. The ballot would allow the people of East Timor to choose between autonomy within Indonesia or independence.

The election ran smoothly with almost 80% of the Timorese voting for independence. Celebrations were short-lived, however. The militia groups, with support from the Indonesian military, stormed through East Timor, claiming the lives of tens of thousands of pro-independent Timorese — some claim over 100,000 — were rounded up and either killed or removed from the region. The militia and the military, by this stage indistinguishable, controlled the streets and burned the towns, including the capital, Dili.

The Indonesian Government attempted to down play the situation but in the face of international condemnation eventually accepted UN troops into East Timor. The Australian-led International Force in East Timor — INTERFET — arrived in September 1999. Before order was restored, many Timorese lost their lives, over 200,000 people fled to West Timor, and the country's infrastructure had been shattered.

The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was established in October 1999 and served as the government authority in East Timor during the transition. Aid and foreign workers arrived to help rebuild the civil service, police, judiciary, education and health systems.

Roughly 30,000 East Timorese remain in refugee camps in West Timor, some afraid to return home because of past associations with the Indonesian occupation and others hoping to integrate within Indonesia.

The first presidential elections were held in April 2002, with popular independence leader Xanana Gusmao winning by a landslide. East Timor was officially granted its independence on May 20, 2002. With independence, UNTAET transferred power to the newly established Government of East Timor. A smaller UN presence, the United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor (UNMISET) stayed in an advisory capacity as the government took root. UNMISET's original mandate finishes May 20, 2004, but a smaller UNMISET contingent is likely to remain until May 2005.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:23 PM

East Timor is the eastern half of the island of Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, just north of Australia. Occupying 5,743 square miles, it also includes Oecussi, an enclave on the north coast surrounded by Indonesian West Timor. Atauro and Jaco Islands are also part of East Timor.

Once part of the Australian continental shelf, Timor only fully emerged from the ocean some four million years ago, and is, therefore, comprised mainly of marine sediment, principally limestone. Rugged mountains run the length of the island, the highest being Gunung Tatamailau (2,963m/9,700ft) in East Timor. Coastal plains are narrow, and there are no major highland valleys or significant rivers. The mix of rocky soil and low rainfall makes agriculture difficult, resulting in food and water shortages in the dry season.

East Timor has extreme wet and dry seasons. From May to November, the north coast receives virtually no rain, causing agricultural activity to all but cease. The cooler central mountains and south coast get an occasional shower during this time, and are greener as a result. Everything turns green when the wet season comes, but the rains often turn to floods, filling the dry-season riverbeds.

Dili is dry, with an average rainfall of around 39 inches, most of it falling from December to March. Temperatures on the north coast reach 35°C (95°F) or more around October/November. In the lowland areas, temperatures are slightly more comfortable 30°C (85°F), dropping to the low 20s (low 70s) overnight. In the mountains, day temperatures are still warm to hot, but night temperatures are appreciably cooler, and downright chilly at high altitudes.

Population Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:24 PM

East Timor's population is approximately 800,000 people, with Dili being its most populated city. Other major cities include Baucau, Ermera, and Maliana. The median age is 20 years with an average life expectancy of 65 years. Some 90% of the population is Roman Catholic; the remainder is primarily Muslim, Protestant, and Animist.

Ethnic groups include Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, and a small Chinese minority.

Portuguese and Tetun, the most common local language, are the official languages. Bahasa Indonesia and English are also spoken, along with approximately 16 other indigenous languages spoken throughout the island.

The literacy rate is 48%. The population growth rate estimate is 2.13%. The unemployment rate in East Timor is estimated at more than 50% and is likely to increase as the UN downsizes.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:25 PM

East Timor's constitution, based on a Portuguese model, was ratified on March 22, 2002. The executive branch consists of a chief of state, head of government, and a cabinet. The Chief of State, the President of East Timor, plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto legislation. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the majority party in Parliament.

The legislative branch consists of a unicameral National Parliament. Members are elected by popular vote to serve 5-year terms. Written into the Constitution, was a provision that the popularly-elected Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting the Constitution became the first Parliament with independence. The next Parliamentary elections will be held in 2007.

The Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor, or FRETILIN, is the majority political party. Additionally, there are 15 opposition parties, led primarily by the Democratic Party (PD) and the Social Democrat Party of East Timor (PSD).

The Constitution calls for a Supreme Court of Justice. Until the Supreme Court is organized, the Appeals Court acts as the highest court of the land with the President of the Supreme Council of Magistrates acting as its head. Until new laws are drafted, Indonesian law and UNTAET regulations serve as the laws of the land.

There are numerous non-governmental agencies within East Timor with The Asia Foundation and Catholic Relief Services playing very active roles. International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, and the Red Cross also have small presences. There is a growing local NGO community, with La'o Hamutuk and Yayasan HAK as two prime examples.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:41 PM

There is one museum/cultural center, the Uma Fukon, which is located in the former city market. There is also a gallery, Arte Moris (literally translated as living art), which showcases the artwork of local Timorese artists. The gallery is open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday. The gallery showcases sculptures and paintings as part of a permanent collection as well as local student's work. Much of the artwork is for sale, making for unique and inexpensive gifts.

Arte Moris is also a free art school and home to 15 senior Timorese students and visiting international artists/teachers, who together provide daily complimentary art classes to younger children. Traveling artists are invited to facilitate workshops. This gallery/art school offers the children of East Timor a chance to express their creativity.

The most common form of Timorese handicraft is the traditionally woven fabric tais. This fabric is available in varying sizes, colors, and designs for reasonable prices. There is a small tais market in Dili where the fabric and other small handicrafts can be bargained for. As you leave Dili and drive along the coast, you will pass through many small towns lined with vendors selling hand-woven baskets for reasonable prices.

There are 14 higher education institutes in East Timor. The three major universities are University of Timor Leste, University of Dili and Dili Institute of Technology. Universities are struggling to overcome the poor quality of secondary education that was available under Indonesian occupation and the interruption of the education system that occurred between 1999 and 2000.

The University of Timor Leste (UNTL) opened for classes on November 27, 2000 and is currently the largest university with an enrollment of approximately 6,000 students. It is a public university, receiving 70% of its funding through the Government of East Timor. There are currently five areas of study: agriculture, political science, economics, education and teacher training, and engineering. New students study a generalist course that includes human rights, ethics, philosophy of science and Timorese history. UNTL is also home to the National Research Center and Institute of Linguistics that supports research activities within East Timor. It also promotes the development of the local language, Tetun. Long-term plans include expanding areas of study to health sciences, legal studies, media and communication, fisheries, architecture, physics, chemistry, and Timor studies.

The University of Dili (UNDIL) is a private university run by the Dom Boaventura Foundation. There are approximately 2,000 students enrolled in five areas of studies that include economics/management, social science/public relations, health, law, and industry/architecture.

Dili Institute of Technology (DIT) is a non-government, community-based, non-profit education provider created to deliver vocational training and higher education in East Timor, targeting the training needs of youth, veterans of the resistance and the children of veterans. DIT opened for classes in October 2002 and has an enrollment of approximately 400 students. DIT has two campuses — one in Dili, one in Oecussi — and a planned campus in Baucau will open in 2004. There are two schools within DIT, the School of Business and Management and the School of Engineering and Science. Areas of study include natural resource management, tourism management, financial management, public policy, civil/construction engineering, mechanical/manufacturing engineering, and computer science/information technology.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:28 PM

In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was destroyed by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias. Over the next three years, UNTAET, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers and 1,300 police officers, led substantial reconstructing in both urban and rural areas. The country still faces great challenges, however, in continuing to rebuild the infrastructure it lost.

East Timor's most promising industry is oil and gas. ConocoPhilips is currently heading a joint venture to extract oil from fields in the Timor Sea between East Timor and Australia. Although production has already begun, significant oil revenues will not be realized until 2007.

Agricultural products include coffee, rice, maize, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, and vanilla.

The exports for 2001 were $8 million, focused mostly on coffee, sandalwood and marble. There is also a potential for vanilla exports, which has yet come to fruition. Imports for 2001 totaled $237 million and were mainly food items.

Severe droughts have plagued East Timor within the last several years leading to poor agricultural development. Recent rains have helped renew the land, but frequent slash and burn farming techniques have caused much damage.

East Timor relies heavily on foreign aid with hopes that the revenues from oil reserves will be available by 2007.

The Government is currently drafting both a commercial society and an investment bill to increase potential foreign investments. Both are expected to be passed and promulgated this year.

Transportation Last Updated: 6/1/2005 10:21 PM

Automobiles Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:29 PM

Personal cars for work, shopping, and trips outside of Dili add a great deal of convenience and independence. The most commonly imported and locally available cars are Toyotas and Mitsubishis. Due to poor road conditions, a four wheel drive vehicle is recommended within Dili and necessary for any travel outside of Dili. Bringing a used vehicle is also highly recommended as roads and driving conditions will place a great deal of wear and tear on the vehicle.

All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use right-hand drive, though you can import either. Roads are often poorly maintained, and non-existent lighting makes driving at night hazardous. During the rainy season travel on all cross-island roadways is considered risky. In December 2003, rain showers severely damaged several cross-island roadways that resulted in airlifting several UN vehicles from the southern region of Aileau because of landslides and roadway damage.

Most people prefer vehicles with air-conditioning due to the heat and dust. Repairs for vehicles are available at a local Australian-operated Toyota shop; hence, Toyota parts are easier to come by. Repairs are reliable and reasonably priced.

Post will register vehicles with the local government, costing the owner $32.

There is no local auto insurance available, and most accidents are settled informally between those involved. You might consider purchasing a U.S. policy for physical damage coverage for your private vehicle.

Employees can drive in East Timor with a valid U.S. or foreign license. If you do not possess a current driver's license, a Timorese license can be obtained after passing a written and driving test.

Fuel is expensive, averaging $2 per gallon. Both petrol and diesel fuels are available and widely used. Fuel can be purchased at a number of small gas stations throughout Dili, and can be difficult to obtain outside of the city. Make sure to travel with a full tank of gas.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:30 PM

Taxis and mini-vans are available for transportation in Dili; however, public transportation is generally overcrowded, uncomfortable, below international safety standards and, in general, is not recommended. Taxis are un-metered. There are reported cases of where the taxi driver changed the fare amount at the end of the trip.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:30 PM

Regional transportation is available within East Timor in the form of crowded mini-vans, or Mikrolets. This form of transportation is generally not desirable and often can be dangerous on treacherous mountain roads.

There is an Indonesian-owned ferry that operates between Dili and the Oecussi enclave in West Timor several times a week. The boat ride takes approximately 14 hours one-way. The same ferry also provides Saturday service to the island of Atauro which lies just north of Dili. The ferry ride is 3 hours in each direction, allowing 3 hours to explore the beaches of Atauro upon arrival.

Two airlines service Dili, Merpati Airlines with once daily service to Bali, Indonesia, and Air North with twice daily service to Darwin, Australia. From either of these cities it is possible to catch flights throughout the region and world.

Communications Last Updated: 6/1/2005 10:28 PM

Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 6/2/2005 1:17 AM

Wireless Service Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:32 PM Reception on international and local calls is usually quite good, though sometimes inadequately maintained. All Mission homes are equipped with a telephone and the occupants pay for all long-distance telephone service. The use of cell phones is widespread. Cell phones can be purchased on the local market for reasonable prices and phone cards are then purchased in U.S. dollar denominations to recharge the cell phones. All permanent employees are issued cell phones through the Embassy. Only one phone company, Timor Telecom, exists in East Timor.

International calls can be made from within East Timor fairly easily, though often at a high cost. Calls to the United States average $1 per minute.

U.S. telephone equipment such as cordless phones, fax machines, and external modems can be used within East Timor, though transformers will be needed to operate on 220v.

Internet Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:32 PM

Internet service is available locally though Timor Telecom. Dial up service generally offers fair connection speed, though is priced higher than in the U.S. Users pay a monthly fee in addition to being billed per minute for the phone call itself. Though broadband connections are becoming more available, they are extremely expensive and not reasonable for individual residences.

Internet cafes exist throughout the city, all with fairly competitive prices and connections. One can expect to pay approximately $1.50 to $2.00 for each 15-minute block of time for broadband service.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:50 PM

Fleet Post Office (FPO) service is available to eligible employees and their dependents through the U.S. Embassy Jakarta. Inbound mail (to the FPO address) and outbound mail (addressed to the U.S.) is considered U.S. domestic mail and is charged U.S. postal rates. Individual country postal rates apply to outbound international mail. Mail received in Jakarta is pouched to Dili several times a week, while outgoing mail is sent to Jakarta every other week.

Stamps cannot be purchased locally; therefore, several sheets of first class stamps are useful to bring to post and can also be ordered from the Internet. The correct postage for mailing packages to the U.S. can be obtained by emailing the postmaster in Jakarta with the weight. The postmaster will inform you of the cost, and the employee forwards the correct amount of money to the postmaster who adds the postage. The Embassy owns a small postal weight scale.

Customs declarations are required on inbound/outbound mail. Firearms of any type are prohibited. The maximum weight/size limits for parcels to and from the U.S. is 70 pounds and 108 inches length and girth combined. Weight and size limits on parcels to international addresses and other APO/FPO addresses vary according to destination. Address official and personal correspondence as follows:

Personal: NAME U.S. Embassy Jakarta Unit 8129 Box D FPO AP 96520-8129

Official: OFFICIAL TITLE ATTN: Name U.S. Embassy Jakarta Unit 8129 Box D FPO AP 96520-8129

Pouch service is also available to East Timor. Pouch seems to take approximately the same amount of time to reach Dili as mail sent to the FPO. This address is useful to use for services that will not ship to FPO/APO.

Full Name 8250 Dili Place Dulles, VA 20189-8250

Radio and TV Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:34 PM

There are a few local radio and TV stations, though all broadcasting is done in Tetun, Portuguese, or Bahasa Indonesia. No local stations are available in English.

Indovision satellite TV dishes have been installed on all the residences. Occupants are responsible for paying the monthly fees if they desire satellite TV. Rates are comparable to those in the United States. Indovision offers CNN, BBC, CNBC, Star News, and Australian news programs to subscribers, as well as HBO, Cinemax, ESPN, Discovery, National Geographic, C-Span, and Star TV, as well as other educational and entertainment channels. Indovision broadcasts in PAL format only.

With the opening of the new Chancery, the installation of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Services (AFARTS) in residences is likely. This will offer four basic channels, two sports, one comedy, and one news station. AFARTS is available in NTSC format only.

Multi-system entertainment equipment is recommended in order to take advantage of both forms of TV broadcasting.

East Timor operates on 220v, and multi-system/dual voltage equipment works best, however, 110 voltage can be used with a transformer. Though TVs, DVD players, and stereos are available on the local market, they are priced higher than in the U.S., and the quality is often less than U.S. brands. There are no reliable facilities for electronic repair.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:35 PM

Local newspapers are printed in a mixture of Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, English, and Tetun. Often the many languages are used sporadically throughout the same newspaper. The only English paper is published weekly and is focused more on fun and feature stories rather than concrete news. Magazines, including Time, The Economist, and Newsweek can often be purchased at the local grocery stores. The prices are usually double the U.S. price and the magazines are usually 2–3 weeks old. A subscription to a favorite periodical is the best way to receive regular news.

There is a small bookshelf of English books at the Embassy for borrowing. There are no available English-language bookstores or places that sell English books. Embassy staff often rely on ordering books through the Internet.

Health and Medicine Last Updated: 6/1/2005 11:06 PM

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 9/26/2005 8:17 PM

The U.S. Embassy and Peace Corps in Dili maintains a Joint health unit staffed by the Embassy Medical Officer and Peace Corps Medical Officer. Office hours are 8:30 AM to 12:00 and 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Monday through Friday, with appointments from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. After-hours service available on-call for emergencies. The health unit is a limited outpatient primary-care facility. U.S. Mission employees whose agencies have agreements with the U.S. Department of State regarding health care may use this facility for themselves and their eligible family members.

The Embassy Health Unit has a small limited pharmacy. If medication is taken for a chronic condition, the Health Unit recommends bringing a 1-year supply to post. This also includes birth control pills, vitamins, blood pressure medication, and thyroid or estrogen hormones. Local pharmacies carry a range of products of variable quality, availability, and cost. Some chronic medications may be bought here, but make that decision after you arrive. Establish a supply source before coming to post.

Local medical facilities are used rarely for emergency hospitalization only. Elective surgery is not recommended in East Timor. Patients with problems that cannot be handled are evacuated to Singapore or Darwin, Australia. The hospital used (whether local or regional) depends on the condition and urgency of the problem.

The Health Unit recommends delivering babies in the U.S. East Timor facilities cannot handle high-risk obstetrics and neonatal care.

Dental care, such as cleaning, repairs of dental cavities, root canal, and bridgework cannot be performed in Dili. Dental problems are referred to specialists in Darwin or Singapore. All personnel and their eligible family members assigned to Dili should attend to their dental needs before arrival. Although medical travel can be funded for management of serious dental problems, the limitation of per diem payments and the follow-up trips cannot be funded, which can make dental care in Darwin or Singapore very expensive.

Dili has no optometrists or ophthalmologists of reasonable quality. Lens work cannot be done in East Timor. Bring an extra pair of glasses with you.

Community Health Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:40 PM

Community sanitation and public health programs are inadequate throughout East Timor and subject to frequent breakdowns. Almost all maladies of the developing world are found here. Residents are subject to water and food-borne illnesses such as typhoid, hepatitis, cholera, worms, amebiasis, and bacterial dysentery. Mosquito-borne malaria, Dengue, and Chikungunya fever exists throughout East Timor. Respiratory illnesses are common. Asthma problems are generally worse during a tour here, as are any other respiratory or skin allergies.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:41 PM

Everyone covered under the Department of State's medical program must have proper medical clearance prior to assignment to East Timor. Individuals with limited medical clearances for medical conditions requiring sophisticated medical surveillance or delicate laboratory monitoring should avoid assignment to Dili. The Health Unit can advise on local resources if there is a question.

Recommended immunizations for children include all of the standard pediatric immunizations of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and hemophilus B, plus hepatitis B, hepatitis A, typhoid, and pre-exposure rabies for toddlers. Adults should be current on all recommended immunizations.

Malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Additionally, use of screens, clothes that cover the body, and insect repellant for children and adults is important to decrease exposure to mosquitoes carrying mosquito-borne illnesses.

All water used for consumption should be bottled or boiled for one minute before consumption. Factory-bottled soft drinks and juices are generally safe. Milk sold in sealed containers is generally safe. Standard recommendations for preparing fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats apply here. Washing, soaking, and peeling and/or thoroughly cooking are mandatory to minimize bacterial and parasitic contamination.

Car accidents are the primary causes of severe injury to foreigners living in East Timor. Defensive driving and use of seatbelts are encouraged, and use of motorcycles is strongly discouraged. The Health Unit maintains a list of available blood donors, but Rh negative blood may be difficult to obtain in an area with very few Westerners. Therefore, it is important to know your blood type and recognize that this may be a problem.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:42 PM

Currently, there is one Embassy position, cashier, being filled by a spouse. A CLO position will be created with the opening of the new Chancery. There are also employment opportunities within the local NGO and UN communities, as well as English-teaching positions. These positions vary in availability and in pay.

American Embassy - Dili

Post City Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:43 PM

Dili, the capital and chief port of East Timor, is the largest city in the country. It is situated on the northern coast with beautiful ocean views and is small in comparison to other major capital cities. Dili is the center of political life with the Palace of Ashes (President's office), government offices, Parliament, and the Appeals Court all located in the city.

Due to the strong U.N. presence, there are a large number of foreigners residing in Dili. Many countries currently maintain diplomatic or consular missions. Approximately 200 Americans reside within East Timor, a majority within Dili. Most work for the U.N. and other private non-governmental organizations. These numbers will decrease as the U.N. downsized in May 2004.

Much of the city was burned after the 1999 riots and is still being rebuilt. The many burned out buildings stand as a reminder throughout the city of East Timor's difficult history.

The long stretch of waterfront remains a place of commerce and leisure. Restaurants with great views of the ocean line this stretch of the city. The Embassy also sits with an ocean view along the beach road.

This strongly Catholic city has plenty of churches, and a massive statue of Christ greets visitors entering through the harbor. A 20-30 minute hike leads up to the statue where there are magnificent views of the harbor as well as the hills, beaches, and islands surrounding Dili.

The Dili region has several good beaches, with decent snorkeling and diving opportunities. The most popular area is the sheltered cove of Areia Branca, about 3km east of Dili town. Atauro Island — visible from the waterfront — is easily accessible by boat, including a ferry service, once a week, which gives you several hours on the island.

There are several western-style restaurants catering to the foreign community and virtually any genre of food can be obtained for prices that are often slightly below U.S. prices. Restaurants are often open-air and only a few are air-conditioned.

Security Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:45 PM

After the 1999 UN-sponsored independence referendum, violence swept East Timor, as did widespread looting and burning. UN peacekeeping forces restored some stability to the country, yet violent incidents remain possible in border areas due to incursion by smugglers and pro-integration militias. Americans should use common sense and exercise caution, avoid large gatherings, and remain alert with regard to their personal security, particularly after dark. Also, in light of recent attacks in Southeast Asia, Americans should exercise extreme caution especially in public places, including clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreational events, hotels, resorts, and beaches and other locations frequented by foreigners.

Americans are advised that UNMISET and the Government of East Timor security officials will randomly establish security checkpoints along traveled roads. These legitimate checkpoints are intended to enhance security along roadways and should be respected. Americans traveling in East Timor should remember that despite its small size, much of the territory is isolated and can be difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

Crimes against persons such as pickpocketing, residential break-ins, and thefts of personal property occur throughout the country but are more frequent in Dili. Expatriate residents of Dili are the prime targets of residential burglaries. Gang related violence occurs but has not targeted foreign nationals. Americans should be particularly careful at night and should avoid wearing clothing that may be regarded as insensitive or provocative, particularly in crowded public areas such as markets.

Due to security issues, residences are provided with 24-hour guard service. Additionally, all residences are fully fenced and have alarm systems installed.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:46 PM

The U.S. Mission in Dili consists of the Department of State, USAID, the Office of Defense Cooperation, the Department of Justice ICITAP Program, and Peace Corps. The Ambassador, assisted by the DCM, directs and coordinates all Mission activities. Previously, a U.S. Representatives Office, the U.S. Embassy became an official embassy with East Timor's official independence from Indonesia on May 20, 2002.

The Embassy is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm with an hour for lunch. The Chancery is located on the Avenida Dr. Sergio Vieira de Mello near the lighthouse in the Farol neighborhood, though it will soon be moving to a new Chancery compound under construction in the Pantai Kelapa neighborhood. The telephone number is (670) 332-4684.

USAID operates in a separate building near the current Chancery grounds and can be reached at (670) 332-4107. USAID is currently involved primarily with two programs — democracy and governance, and economic development.

Peace Corps got its start in East Timor in 2003 and currently has nine volunteers stationed throughout East Timor working primarily on health sector improvements. Within the next year Peace Corps hopes to expand to an operating capacity averaging 55 volunteers. Within Dili, Peace Corps has an administrative office that includes the office of the Peace Corps Medical Officer. Peace Corps can be reached at (670) 332-1948.

The Department of Justice administers the ICITAP program to provide training for the East Timor police force. It is not located on the Chancery grounds and can be reached at (670) 723-2482.

Housing Last Updated: 6/2/2005 1:25 AM

Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:48 PM

Every effort is made to house employees in their permanent housing as quickly as it is available. Much of the current Embassy housing is still under construction so temporary quarters at the Hotel Timor are being used to house employees in the interim. The Hotel Timor is about a five minute drive from the Chancery. Embassy rates are $90 per night, or $70 for over 30 days. Employees housed long term at the Hotel Timor will stay in hotel apartment suites. The apartments include two rooms: one bedroom and one living area with a small kitchenette. The prices for these apartments is $109 per night. Room prices at the Hotel Timor include a breakfast buffet.

USAID prefers to use the Hotel Esplanada, which has a better restaurant and a swimming pool, but smaller rooms. Prices are comparable to the Hotel Timor.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:50 PM

Currently the embassy has long term leases on three properties, including the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) residences. Housing consists of single-family homes. Plans are currently underway for a small Embassy-housing compound for two Embassy homes and one USAID residence.

The Ambassador's residence is located 10 minutes from the Chancery along Beach Road with a view of the ocean. The residence has three bedrooms and includes a tennis court and maid's quarters. There is also a large out-door patio for entertaining.

Plans are currently underway to renovate the old Indonesian Governor's Mansion that sits on the new Chancery compound. When renovations are completed, this will become the new Ambassador's residence and the DCM will shift to the current Ambassador's residence.

The DCM is located near the new Chancery site along Beach Road with a view of the ocean. The residence has three bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The residence has a storage warehouse in the back yard and maid's quarters.

The third residence, Casa Nova, is a three bedroom, two bath residence located within walking distance of the new Chancery compound. This residence is a newly constructed pre-fabricated home. The residence sits back off the main road in a predominantly Timorese neighborhood. This residence also includes a two-car garage and maid's quarters, along with a small storage room.

All residences run off a combination of city and generator power. They are also fully fenced, and pets are allowed at all residences.

The new compound will include three pre-fabricated residences similar to Casa Nova with a few modifications. The compound is across the road from the new chancery compound and will have ocean views.

Furnishings Last Updated: 8/2/2005 2:59 PM

All Mission personnel live in fully furnished housing. Employees are authorized a maximum weight allowance of 7,200 pounds. Because almost all housing units are moderately sized homes and the Embassy has no facility to store excess personal effects, employees must exercise caution in deciding what to bring to Post.

All residents are provided with a complement of furniture that typically includes the following (the exact number of pieces will vary according to the size and layout of the residence):

Living Room: sofa, love seat and 2 easy chairs, coffee and end tables, table lamps, display case;

Entertainment Room/Corner: sofa, 1 or 2 easy chairs, coffee table, floor lamp, entertainment unit

Dining Room: table with 2 leaves and 10 chairs, china cabinet, credenza;

Master Bedroom: queen bed, night tables, lamps, dressers with mirror, side chairs;

Guest Bedroom: two twin beds, night tables, lamp, dresser;

Den: desk with chair, 2 bookcases, 1 or 2 side chairs.

Patio furniture is also provided for the residences.

The Ambassador's residence is also furnished with china.

All residences are furnished with draperies, kitchen and laundry appliances (including vacuum cleaner and microwave) and area rugs for main living spaces. Kitchen appliances include a gas range, refrigerator, and a large extra freezer. There is no dishwasher. Each room in the residence is equipped with an air conditioner. There are currently no baby cribs available at post.

Items personnel might want to consider bringing include wall hangings, linens, kitchenware, and other personal accessories. There is not a lot of room, or need, to bring additional furniture.

HHE shipments often take several months to arrive so pack you air freight accordingly. The Embassy will provide Welcome Kits with basic linens and kitchen supplies. Ideas for airfreight shipments include: DVD player and DVDs, games, clothing, bed linens, baking equipment, etc. You also might want to include bathroom products such as shampoo and soap in this shipment as the selection available is often small and expensive.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:00 PM

Electronics run on 220v, 50-cycle AC. Most 110v appliances can be used with step-down transformers, which the Embassy provides. Grills, frying pans, toaster ovens, irons, and coffeemakers and milk warmers run well on 50 or 60 cycles. Motor-driven appliances such as fans, film projectors, mixers, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and the like work well on transformers, but may run more slowly than they would on 60 cycles, and may overheat. Clocks, stereo systems and tape recorders that do not have a built-in cycle converter and are designed to operate on 60 cycles may require adjustments to run correctly. Local appliances tend to be more expensive than the U.S. and are often of an inferior quality. All Government quarters have at least one telephone; fees for use run above the average cost in the U.S. for a phone.

Food Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:42 PM

Personnel assigned to Dili are encouraged to use their consumables allowance to the fullest extent possible. Canned goods, baking supplies, paper products, cleaning supplies and toiletries, while available locally, tend to be expensive or generally of inferior quality. Supplies and availability vary. Bring a supply of favorite spices, as western-style grocery stores have a limited selection of spices familiar to most Americans.

There are three local supermarkets, though not the Western picture of a supermarket. Two import from Australia and one from Singapore. Though they often stock an array of food, it is often expensive and the selection varies a great deal from week to week. You will be able to find most things carried in the U.S. with the exception of microwave and frozen foods, the selection of which is minimal.

The largest limitation is the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Locally pineapple, bananas, avocado, limes, green beans, and coconut are all available. All other produce is imported and the quality of such varies greatly. Imported fruits and vegetables often cost twice as much as they would in the U.S.

The selection of meat also varies greatly, though you can get most cuts of meat at a local market, availability is often limited to what arrived in that weeks shipment. Meat prices seem to be on average comparable to the United States.

Baby food items prove to be very limited in selection. Some formula is available, imported from either Indonesia or Australia. The three stores stock a supply of jars of baby food, but often it is only three or four varieties and none appropriate for small infants. It also costs twice as much as in the U.S. Diapers are available locally, though often they are generic Australian or Indonesian brands. The cost of diapers is quite high, averaging around $1 per diaper. Baby items are best ordered through a consumable shipment.

There are many local restaurants that offer food at a reasonable price. Most restaurants cater to the foreigners and include foods such as western cuisine, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. There are also a number of restaurants specializing in serving fresh fish of the day cooked over a barbeque.

Clothing Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:04 PM

In Dili's tropical climate, lightweight natural materials, especially cotton, are comfortable and practical. For office wear, most types of light to medium weight fabrics, including lightweight knits, can be comfortably worn, since most offices are air-conditioned. For dining out, most restaurants are open-air with fans and can be warm.

There is one department type store and a few other scattered stores that sell clothing, though not clothing up to most American standards. Very few shoes are available locally. Swimsuits cannot be found locally and should be brought with you. For the most part clothing items should all be brought with you to last throughout your tour. Some tailoring is available locally. Dry cleaning is not available, though laundry service is, for prices comparable to the U.S.

Dress for East Timor is extremely casual and not much, if any, formal wear is needed.

Men Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:05 PM

Lightweight washable clothing is recommended. Most Foreign Service Officers wear business casual wear at work, and suits and ties are reserved for only formal occasions perhaps once or twice a year at most. Work dress includes polo shirts, button-down short- and long-sleeve shirts and slacks. Dress at representational functions is often the same, though an occasional suit and tie may be needed.

Very little Western-style clothing and sizes are available locally. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and sandals. For evenings in the mountains, men will need a light jacket or sweater. Bring sports clothes, including tennis shorts and swimming trunks.

Women Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:06 PM

Dress for women is much more casual than in Washington, D.C. Typical business attire includes casual dresses, skirts, slacks, and short sleeve shirts. Clothing should be light-weight and washable. Dress at representational events is also casual, including casual dresses and pants. Formal dresses are not needed, and never worn. Both long and short casual dresses are appropriate.

Shorts of a modest length and sleeveless shirts are appropriate. The Timorese tend to be more conservative than U.S. dress codes, but these items, if tasteful, are permissible. Swimsuits are generally one-piece.

No maternity clothing of Western standards and sizes is available locally.

There is very little Western style women's clothing available locally. Bring plenty of shoes and sandals, especially comfortable ones for walking around. Bring an appropriate supply of undergarments and sports clothing, including swimming suits.

Children Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:07 PM

In general, bring enough of everything for 6-12 months. This will give you time to place mail orders once you have had a chance to look around and ask questions. Again, cotton and polyester/cotton washable clothes are recommended. In general, there is a limited supply of children's clothing available locally, though much might not be suitable to U.S. tastes.

Swim wear is especially difficult to purchase locally. In general light-weight clothing is most appropriate but for air-conditioned residences long-sleeve sleepwear is appropriate both to keep children warm and to ward off mosquito bites. Appropriate infant clothing especially can be hard to find.

Very little children's shoe wear is available locally. Make sure to bring enough sandals and shoes to last throughout your tour, or rely on mail ordering these items.

Office Attire Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:08 PM

Office attire in East Timor is much more casual than in Washington, D.C. Suits are seldom worn, and dress is usually business casual shirts and slacks for men and casual dresses, skirts, or pants for women. Office attire should be of a lightweight, comfortable fabric.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 6/2/2005 1:33 AM

Supplies Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:10 PM

Most basic toiletries are available locally, but if you rely on a particular U.S. brand, you should pack a supply in HHE or order it through a consumables order. Deodorant is only available in roll-on varieties. Several web sites selling toiletries, vitamins, and other drugstore items are used regularly by Embassy families.

Only minimal amounts of make-up is available on the local market so make sure to pack appropriate amounts of this. Feminine hygiene articles are limited in selection to a few brands of sanitary pads. Bring these articles with you. Women who use hair coloring products should bring an appropriate supply. Toilet paper is often expensive and far inferior to U.S. brands. Laundry detergents and cleaning supplies are available, though in limited selection and are often pricey. These are also good consumables items.

Cigarettes are available on the local market, often for considerably cheaper than in the U.S. Alcohol is also widely available, though often in imported Australian brands.

Bring the usual household repair tools (screwdrivers, hammers, etc.). American garden hoses do not fit East Timor faucets, but adequate quality hoses are available in local shops at slightly higher than U.S. prices. One local hardware store sells a decent selection of items, though all at higher costs than in the U.S.

Office supplies are available in limited amounts locally. It is best to pack accordingly and include envelopes, paper, tape, gift-wrap, glue, etc., in your shipment.

Bed and bath linens are not available on the local market and an appropriate amount should be brought to post. Table linens are also not available, so placemats, tablecloths and napkins for entertaining should be included in shipments. Shower curtains should be brought from the U.S. as they are not available at post.

Insect repellant is widely available, though all contains high concentrations of DEET and are not appropriate for small children. Shop for natural insect repellant for children before coming to post.

Basic Services Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:10 PM

There are a few tailors and dressmakers available locally, and the quality and price for these services varies greatly. Shoe repair shops are not available, though shoe repair can often be obtained on the street from small vendors. Laundry services are available, though dry cleaning is not.

There are a few small hair salons/barber shops locally, all with services at very reasonable prices. Perms and dyes are not readily available.

Auto repair is done though one Australian operated Toyota dealership. The quality of repairs is good, and the prices are reasonable by U.S. standards. Spare parts are easily available for Toyota vehicles, and also for other models of vehicles. Body work, spare parts, tire repair, and auto servicing are all provided.

Radio, TV, and household appliance repairs are not easily available locally. Picture framing and upholstering are available though the quality often varies.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:11 PM

Most personnel employ domestic help in Dili. Single employees may hire a part-time maid who cooks, cleans, and does the laundry several days a week. Families with children often hire one or two full-time employees. Domestic help is also helpful for shopping at the local markets for produce items. All residential units in Dili have some form of maid's quarters, so domestic help may be either live-in or may live away from the residence and come to work daily. A gardener, at least part time, is a necessity in Dili where the yards are large and landscaped and watering alone can take several hours a day. Drivers are not necessary.

Full-time domestic help usually works 5-6 days a week. Knowledge of English among domestic help varies and salary depends on previous experience and skills. Salaries range from $120 to $200 a month for a full-time all-round cook and housekeeper. Before employment and every year thereafter, domestic help employees should have a complete physical examination, including chest x-ray, stool, and blood tests. Dili National Hospital offers these services free for Timorese citizens.

The best way to hire domestic help is through word of mouth. Timorese will often recommend family members they feel appropriate for the position, and foreigners in Dili have found this to be an effective way to find qualified staff.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 6/1/2005 9:50 PM

Catholic services are widely available throughout the city. A small handful of Protestant congregations and a few mosques are also available. There are no services available in English, with a majority of services being offered in Tetun, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, or a combination of the three.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 9/27/2005 9:41 PM

Dependent Education

There are two international schools in Dili. One is a newly opened (in September 2005) QSI International School of Dili, and the other is an Australian-run Dili International School. QSI offers US accredited curriculum in English for children 5 years through 13 years of age. Dili International School began operating in February, 2003, offering Australian Northern Territory based curriculum for the children aged 3 1/2 through 9th grade. Homepages: QSI International School: Dili International School:

The boarding school allowance for Dili is $34,500, for parents of school-aged children who want to look into boarding school options.

At Post Last Updated: 9/27/2005 9:39 PM There are two international schools in Dili. One is a newly opened (in September 2005) QSI International School of Dili, and the other is an Australian-run Dili International School. QSI offers US accredited curriculum in English for children 5 years through 13 years of age. Dili International School began operating in February, 2003, offering Australian Northern Territory based curriculum for the children aged 3 1/2 through 9th grade. Homepages: QSI International School: Dili International School:

Away From Post Last Updated: 9/27/2005 9:40 PM The boarding school allowance for Dili is $34,500, for parents of school-aged children who want to look into boarding school options.

Special Needs Education Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:13 PM

Special Education Opportunities in Dili are non-existent. In addition to the lack of any special education opportunities, the city itself is not handicapped accessible and parents should consider this limitation carefully before bringing dependents with physical handicaps to post. Roads and sidewalks are often in poor repair and few buildings offer any form of ramps or alternate entry. There are no elevators in East Timor.

Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:20 PM

Social Activities

Most social life centers around private homes and includes dinners, movie parties, and game nights. Within the Embassy there are no organized groups. Outside of the Embassy, employees enjoy organizations such as the Hash House Harriers, Rotary Club which has a local chapter. Embassy staff are known to throw an occasional movie night on the patio of the Chancery with a movie projector and screen, which is always enjoyable.

For its size Dili has many restaurants catering to different pocketbooks and tastes. A variety of international food can be found in Dili, such as Portuguese, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, and American. For Americans, the most notable cuisine lacking is likely Mexican food. Foreigners own most of the restaurants.

The Embassy throws parties for the Fourth of July and for Christmas. The past year a small Halloween party was informally organized for Embassy employees with children, and the DCM threw a large Thanksgiving celebration for American citizens.

Sports Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:21 PM

Sporting facilities within East Timor are few. There are several tennis courts in Dili, including one on the grounds of the Ambassador's residence and one on the compound of the new Chancery. Although tennis equipment and balls are available locally, they are often at higher prices than in the U.S. There are no golfing facilities. There is a very small gym facility at one of the hotels in town to which personnel can purchase monthly memberships. Two hotels in Dili offer small pools for which users can pay for a single use or buy a monthly membership.

There are several nearby beaches appropriate for exercise swimming or for leisure.

Jogging is a popular form of exercise in Dili. During late afternoon hours Beach Road is crowded with joggers. Jogging after sundown or before sun up is not recommended.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:23 PM

Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular pastimes in Dili. Many avid divers claim that East Timor is among the best diving they have experienced. Within an hour drive of Dili there are numerous beautiful snorkeling and dive locations. Both Atauro and Jaco islands also boast beautiful diving. When visiting Jaco Island, you can stay at the nearby Com Beach Resort, making for a wonderful weekend getaway from the city.

There are two main dive shops within East Timor. Both shops rent equipment for prices comparable to the U.S. Tanks are always in short supply so make sure to reserve your tanks early for weekend dives. PADI courses in both Open Water and Advanced Open Water are available locally for prices comparable to the U.S. If you are planning to dive often, it is best to bring your own dive equipment to post.

Owning a personal boat allows for exploring of hard to reach parts of Timor and Atauro, doing boat dives, and camping on remote beaches. There are no designated camping sites.

Within driving distance of Dili are several beautiful day trips. Maubisse, approximately a two hour drive through the mountains of East Timor, is located in the heart of the coffee fields. An historic fort has been converted into a lodge that offers rooms at reasonable rates and serves meals. It is a nice weekend get away, or a pleasant dry trip. Com and Jaco Island are also a popular weekend get away with beautiful beaches and diving. Baucau, the second-largest town in East Timor, is still charming, despite the ravages of 1999. The 2-hour drive east along the coast from Dili via Manatuto to Baucau is gorgeous, with clear water and beaches along the way. To really learn about the culture of East Timor, take trips outside of the city. The scenery will change drastically throughout drives through the country.

There are many opportunities for hiking and mountain biking in East Timor. Cristo Rei, a large statue of Christ overlooking the harbor of Dili is one of the more popular hikes, taking about an hour round trip. Gunung Tatamailau is the highest point in East Timor and is a popular choice for serious hikers.

The Island of Bali in Indonesia is one of the most popular vacation spots for tourists. It has beautiful beaches and striking volcanic scenery. Accommodations range from four-star hotels to simple guest houses and bungalows. Balinese culture is particularly interesting. As Islam swept through Indonesia, many Hindus fled to Bali, where Hindu and Indonesian culture and customs mix in an interesting fashion. The island abounds in cultural activities and performances and shopping opportunities. Bali is about 2 hours by air from Dili.

Dili's R&R location is Sydney, Australia. Many employees take advantage of their tour in Dili to visit countries throughout the region. Air connections are available through both Bali and Darwin and many companies offer excellent package tours, including airfare and hotel accommodations at the destination.

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:50 PM

Fun in Dili is often the home-made variety. There are no cinemas, theaters, museums, or libraries. There are a few restaurants that turn into nightclubs late in the evening. For security reasons, American employees and family members are cautioned against going to these nightclub establishments late at night. Families should come with a supply of games and movies to entertain themselves, especially during the evening hours when little outside recreation is available.

DVD movies are widely available, but are pirated and often poor in quality.

Social Activities Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:24 PM

Most social life centers around private homes and includes dinners, movie parties, and game nights. Within the Embassy there are no organized groups. Outside of the Embassy, employees enjoy organizations such as the Hash House Harriers, Rotary Club which has a local chapter. Embassy staff are known to throw an occasional movie night on the patio of the Chancery with a movie projector and screen, which is always enjoyable.

For its size Dili has many restaurants catering to different pocketbooks and tastes. A variety of international food can be found in Dili, such as Portuguese, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, and American. For Americans, the most notable cuisine lacking is likely Mexican food. Foreigners own most of the restaurants.

The Embassy throws parties for the Fourth of July and for Christmas. The past year a small Halloween party was informally organized for Embassy employees with children and the DCM threw a large Thanksgiving celebration for American citizens.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:24 PM

Dili is extremely informal with few strict protocol requirements. The Embassy hosts an annual Fourth of July Reception at the Ambassador's residence. The Ambassador holds a number of receptions at his residence to which some employees are invited, depending on the nature of the event. Most other entertaining is done in the home in the form of dinner parties or luncheons. It is also relatively easy and inexpensive to arrange a party at a local restaurant or obtain catering for an event.

Employees can expect to be invited to an array of receptions for both local government and other foreign missions. These functions, too, are informal and usually include drinks and mingling. Due to the casual nature of East Timor, it is not uncommon to see all walks of life mingling together, such as high-level officials, including the President and Prime Minister of East Timor, and lower-level support staff.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:25 PM

Business cards are an important part of functions and are best purchased through the U.S. Embassy Jakarta. Exchanging cell phone numbers is the most common way to keep in touch with those met at receptions. Dress is casual and most receptions are held outdoors.

Special Information Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:26 PM


All residences provide ample space for parking at least two vehicles. Casa Nova has a two car garage, and such garages are planned for the new housing compound. The Ambassador's residence has covered parking for one vehicle and the DCM does not have any covered parking. Parking on the Chancery grounds is more than adequate for both Embassy vehicles and personal cars with diplomatic plates. All vehicles parked on the Chancery grounds will have to undergo the routine vehicle inspection before being allowed on the grounds. Parking is also available for visitors and those without diplomatic plates outside the Chancery wall.

Post Orientation Program

There is currently no organized post orientation program. Upon arrival at post, employees and family members can expect to be briefed by the RSO regarding security procedures. The RSO will also prepare ID badges for officers and EFMs. A complete tour of the Chancery, including meeting the employees, takes only 5-10 minutes.

Tetun language instruction is available through the Embassy and can be arranged for both employees and family members.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:27 PM

The most common route to East Timor from the U.S. is by air via the Pacific. Two main routes are used, either routing from Tokyo directly to Bali, or from Tokyo through Singapore to Bali. Regardless of routing there is a forced overnight in Bali. The only airline flying from Bali to Dili is Merpati Airlines. It is also possible to route through Darwin, Australia, but this is rarely utilized as it is a more expensive route to fly. Before coming to post make sure to check the consular information sheets for countries you are routing through for current visa requirements, if any.

Newcomers are met on arrival in Dili. Inform the Embassy early of your travel plans, including the number of accompanying dependents, number of bags, and flight itinerary. If plans are changed en route, inform the Embassy immediately. If you are not met at the airport, call the Embassy at (670) 332-4684.

Employees should refer to their TM2 telegram and contact the GSO for the latest shipping information. Airfreight is usually 3-4 weeks en route and is cleared through Customs within 8-10 days. HHE, vehicles, and consumables are sent to Dili by sea and should be containerized. Surface shipments may take up to 4 months to arrive and are routed through Surabaya, Indonesia. All shipments should be privately insured.

Customs, Duties, and Passage Last Updated: 6/2/2005 1:54 AM

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:28 PM

Diplomatic personnel attached to the Embassy have free-entry privileges for airfreight, HHE, consumables shipments, and vehicles. Clearance sometimes is slow but is improving, averaging 10 days for total import and customs clearance. In order to complete customs clearance procedures, forward as soon as possible an advance bill of lading for HHE or an airway bill for unaccompanied baggage, copies of all packing lists, and a copy of your diplomatic passport. Accompanied baggage may be brought right in. Shipments can be cleared and temporarily stored pending arrival of the employee.

Passage Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:29 PM

A passport valid for 6 months beyond the intended date of departure from East Timor is required. Tourist visas are not required prior to arrival, but travelers arriving in East Timor without a visa will need to pay the requisite $25 fee for a 30-day visa. There is an additional $25 fee for each 30-day renewal of this tourist visa.

Diplomats and families of diplomats are exempt from these fees and do not require visas. Employees arriving at post for the first time can expect to pay the $25 fee for entry. After arrival the East Timor Government will issue all employees and family members diplomatic identification cards. These cards should be used each time upon entry into East Timor, allowing the traveler to forego the visa fee, and also serve as a form of identification within the country. These cards should be carried at all times, especially when traveling outside of Dili as they establish your diplomatic status.

Pets Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:30 PM

It is possible to bring pets into East Timor, though careful advance planning is essential. Many of the countries commonly transited through, including Australia and Singapore, do not allow for the transit of pets. Careful plans must be made to assure that your pet can arrive safely at Post. Employees also must check careful with airlines and/or Post to determine proper procedures for transporting pets to Post. All residences are pet friendly, so if you choose to bring you pet to Post be sure to communicate with Post regarding this issue so proper planning and paperwork can be arranged.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:30 PM

East Timor currently prohibits the importation of firearms and ammunition. In no instance should an employee ship a firearm of ammunition.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:50 PM

The monetary unit in East Timor is the U.S. dollar.

The international metric system of weights and measures is used in East Timor. Gasoline and other liquids are sold by the liter (1.0567 liquid quarts); cloth, by the meter (39 inches); and food and other weighted items, by the kilogram (2.2 pounds). Distance is measured by the kilometer (0.625 miles); speed, in kilometers per hour (40 kph =25 mph).

Facilities All U.S. personnel should establish and maintain a U.S. checking account. There is one ATM in Dili, at the ANZ Bank, which is reliable. This machine dispenses a maximum of $200 per day in U.S. dollars. The Embassy cashier can cash personal checks up to $500. Higher amounts can be cashed with written approval. East Timor is a cash based society so having a supply of easily accessible cash is advised. Credit cards are only accepted at a handful of nicer hotels and restaurants and should not be relied on.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:32 PM

The international metric system of weights and measures is used in East Timor. Gasoline and other liquids are sold by the liter (1.0567 liquid quarts); cloth, by the meter (39 inches); and food and other weighted items, by the kilogram (2.2 pounds). Distance is measured by the kilometer (0.625 miles); speed, in kilometers per hour (40 kph =25 mph).

Restrictions U.S. Government personnel are exempt from local income and certain other taxes. Direct consumer taxes and service charges, such as those imposed on hotel and restaurant bills, and airport departure, are paid. U.S. Government personnel are technically exempt from taxes on gasoline and other items, but an efficient method for enforcing this has yet to be established. All items imported duty free by U.S. Government employees must be for the exclusive use of the employee or dependents. Such property may not be imported for the sole purpose of sale, barter, or exchange. Personal property imported with free-entry privileges is not normally authorized for sale to persons without free-entry privileges. All sales of motor vehicles to those without free-entry privileges are subject to appropriate taxes and duties.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:34 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Belo, Carlos Filipe Ximenes. The Road to Freedom: A Collection of Speeches, Pastoral Letters and Articles from 1997-2001. Caritas Australia and the Centre for Peace and Development Studies: East Timor, 2001.

Cristalis, Irena. Bitter Dawn: East Timor, A People's Story. Zed Books: New York NY, 2002.

Dunn, James. East Timor: A Rough Passage to Independence. Longueville Books: Australia, 2004.

Gusmao, Kirsty Sword. A Woman of Independence. Macmillan: Australia, 2003.

Hainsworth, Paul and McCloskey, Stephen, ed. The East Timor Question: The Struggle for Independence from Indonesia. I.B.Tauris: London, 2000.

Hajek, John and Tilman, Alexandre Vital. East Timor Phrasebook. Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd: Victoria Australia, 2001.

Hull, Geoffrey. Tetun Language Manual for East Timor. University of Western Sydney: Sydney, Australia, 1999.

Hull, Geoffrey. Ma Kolia Tetun- A Beginner's Course in Tetum-Praça, the Lingua Franca of East Timor. Caritas Australia: Australia, 1999.

Martinkus, John. A Dirty Little War. Random House: Australia, 2001.

Nicol, Bill. Timor A Nation Reborn. Equinox Publishing (Asia) Pte. Ltd: Jakarta, 2002.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 8/2/2005 3:49 PM

The U.S. Mission observes the following East Timor holidays, as well as authorized U.S. holidays.

Good Friday Varies International Labor Day May 1 Independence Day May 20 Assumption Day August 15 Consultation Day August 30 All Saints Day November 1 Santa Cruz Day November 12 Independent Day November 28 Immaculate Conception December 8

All holidays falling on a Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday. All holidays falling on Sunday will be observed on the following Monday.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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