The Cook Islands is a country comprised of fifteen small islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It is governed by a self-governing parliamentary democracy that is in free association with New Zealand. The islands only have an area of 240 square kilometers, but the country incorporates 1.8 million square kilometers of ocean territory. Most of the population lives on the island of Rarotonga, which has an international airport and about 14,000 inhabitants. Many people from these islands reside in New Zealand. New Zealand also defends the Cook Islands. Its main source of economy is tourism. Its official languages are English and Cook Islands Maori, and its capital and biggest city is Avarua.
Nationals of many countries do not need a visa to enter the Cook Islands and stay for up to 31 days. You just need to provide a valid passport and proof that you will exit the islands. If you are staying as a tourist for longer than this, you can then apply for a tourist visa month-by-month for up to six months at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration in Rarotanga. You must be able to support yourself financially, be able to accommodate yourself, and have future arrangements of leaving the Cook Islands.
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If you wish to work in the Cook Islands, you must obtain a work permit and a residence permit. You must have a job lined up; your employer applies for this permit on your behalf. The permit is issued for the duration of one year, and it can be renewed. Work permits are only granted to individuals to their specific job. Work permits are generally granted to foreigners who have special skills that are not available within the Cook Islands.
You must have a valid passport and fill out an application. You must also send a medical certificate and a police report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. You must do this from outside the country. You must also fill out an Entry Form to enter the Cook Islands and obtain your residence permit.
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Pets can only be imported from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Pets are required to be sent as cargo in durable containers. Seeing eye dogs may accompany passengers on board, otherwise there are no exceptions.
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Click here for a general overview on history in the Cook Islands.
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