Entering the Maldives is simple and hassle-free. However, you must know the name of your resort, hotel or guesthouse, so if you haven’t got accommodation pre-arranged for your first night, pick a place from to write down on the immigration form.
The immigration cards issued to you on your flight to Male include a great list of items that are banned from the republic. Alcohol, pornography, pork, narcotics, dogs, firearms, spear guns and ‘idols of worship’ cannot be brought into the country and you’re advised to comply. Baggage is always X-rayed and may be searched carefully, and if you have any liquor it will be taken and held for you till you’re about to leave the country. This service will not extend to other prohibited items, and the importation of multiple bibles (one for personal use is fine), pornography and, in particular, drugs, will be treated very seriously. The export of turtle shell, or any turtle-shell products, is forbidden.
The Maldives issues a 30-day stamp on arrival to holders of all passports. Citizens of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Nepal are given a 90-day stamp. If you want to stay longer you’ll either need to apply for an extension to the 30-day stamp or leave the country when your 30 days is up, then return. You should know the name of your resort or hotel and be able to show a return air ticket out of the country if asked by immigration officials.
To apply for an extension, go to the Department of Immigration & Emigration, near Jumhooree Maidan in Male. Fill in the Application for Permit Extension form, which will need to be co-signed by a local sponsor. The main requirement is evidence that you have accommodation, so it’s best to have your resort, travel agent or guesthouse manager act as a sponsor and apply on your behalf. Have your sponsor sign the form, and bring it back to the office, along with your passport, a passport photo and your air ticket out of the country. You have to have a confirmed booking for the new departure date before you can get the extension – fortunately, the airlines don’t ask to see a visa extension before they’ll change the date of your flight. You’ll be asked to leave the documents at the office and return in a couple of days to pick up the passport with its extended visa (get a receipt for your passport). Extensions are for a maximum of 30 days.
There are no restrictions on foreign nationals entering the country. Visas are not needed for visits of 30 days or less.