Nauru Travel Information

Photo Nauru's phosphate deposits began to be mined early in the 20th century by a German-British consortium; the island was occupied by Australian forces in World War I. Nauru achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999. Nauru is the world's smallest independent republic.


Nauru is a small oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, located just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean--the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia--though its phosphate reserves are nearly depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged coral pinnacles, up to 15 meters (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the total land area.


Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Grouped in clans or tribes, early Nauruans traced their descent on the female side. They believed in a female deity, Eijebong, and a spirit land, also an island, called Buitani. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct during the 20th century.


Nauru had little contact with Europeans until whaling ships and other traders began to visit in the 1830s. The introduction of firearms and alcohol destroyed the peaceful coexistence of the 12 tribes living on the island. A 10-year internal war began in 1878 and resulted in a reduction of the population from 1,400 (1843) to around 900 (1888).


The economy depends almost entirely on the country's declining phosphate deposits. These were depleted in 2000 on a large-scale commercial basis; however, small-scale mining is still occurring. The government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC) controls the mining industry.


The United States has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make periodic visits.

While resisting U.S. and other international pressure with regards to passport sales and shell banks, Nauru is generally supportive of U.S. positions at the United Nations and other international fora.

Trade between the United States and Nauru is limited due to the latter's small size and economic problems. In 2001, U.S. exports to Nauru totaled $4.2 million while U.S. imports from Nauru totaled $0.1 million.

Important: Travel to Nauru may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Nauru visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Nauru
Capital city: Nauru Bwiema"
Area: 21 sq km
Population: 9,378
Ethnic groups: Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%
Languages: Nauruan
Religions: Protestant 45.8%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Sprent DABWIDO
Head of Government: President Sprent DABWIDO
GDP: 60 million
GDP per captia: 5,000
Annual growth rate: NA%
Inflation: NA%
Agriculture: coconuts
Major industries: phosphate mining, offshore banking, coconut products
Natural resources: phosphates, fish
Location: Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands