Guidance

Living in Seychelles

Information for British nationals in Seychelles, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.

Introduction

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Seychelles including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See the information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.

Health

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. See the health and security information on our travel advice for Seychelles.

Essential health services are provided free to Seychellois and expatriates may have their health costs covered by their employer depending on their contract. The main hospital is in Victoria on Mahe and health centres are situated in most of the residential areas.

Victoria Hospital on Mahe has an A&E department, MRI and CT facilities and is located at Mont Fleuri (telephone +248 4388000 or in an emergency 999). Foreign nationals are expected to pay for treatment.

Mahe also has several private medical and dental clinics. No international immunisation is required for entry into Seychelles except for yellow fever, which is required from passengers travelling through or from infected areas.

Education

Free State school education is available from the age of five to sixteen years old and teaching is conducted in all three national languages: Creole, English and French. In addition, two fee paying schools offer schooling in English.

Fee paying nursery schools, crèches and locally employed nannies are also available.

Employment and recognised qualifications

Employment opportunities are limited – teachers, doctors and nurses have the best prospects. Remuneration is relatively low and in local currency.

All expatriate workers in Seychelles require a Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP). Without this, non-Seychellois are not permitted to work full time or part time, paid or unpaid. Applications for GOPs should be made to the Department of Immigration.

People interested in setting up a business should contact the Seychelles Investment Bureau.

Entry and residence requirements

See our travel advice information on entry requirements for Seychelles and the official Seychelles Tourism Board website.

There is no yellow fever, but those visiting Seychelles should be vaccinated, as a yellow fever certificate has to be produced if you are travelling through or from infected areas, such as East Africa.

Benefits

See our information on claiming benefits if you are abroad and advice for those moving or retiring abroad.

Driving licences and vehicles

Driving is on the left and the Highway Code and traffic laws are based largely on their UK equivalents. Care should be taken as driving standards are not the same as in the UK.

Roads are steep, narrow and winding and potholes can often appear over night following particularly heavy rain. Many roads have significant drop-offs and there are seldom barriers.

Unleaded petrol and diesel are available. Cars must be right-hand drive – Japanese, Korean and French are the most popular models. Spare parts even for popular models are not always available locally, and are therefore expensive. Second hand cars are available but they are not cheap as they tend to hold or even increase in value (due to the high tax on the price).

Third party insurance is compulsory, and comprehensive insurance is also available locally.

Finance

Our travel advice for Seychelles has information on money.

Barclays Bank has branches in Seychelles, and a UK cheque can be used to open an account in Rupees with Barclays. Barclays issue a cash card for use with the account and this is becoming more usable as a debit card, but cash and cheques are still commonly used to pay for goods and services. Most shops and restaurants also accept credit and debit card payments.

Credit cards issued by UK banks can be used in many establishments. Many other banks also operate in Seychelles.

Guidance on bringing medication into Seychelles

See the Ministry of Health website for medical guidance specific to Seychelles.

Sponsoring family members

See the Seychelles Department of Foreign Affairs website if you are considering sponsoring a family member to enter Seychelles.

Social ethics and traditions

Our travel advice for Seychelles has information on local laws and customs.

Seychelles is a diverse and multi-racial country, with little overt discrimination on race, creed, religion, gender or disability. French names are commonplace, although there are a wide variety of ethnic origins, predominantly African, but also European, Chinese and Indian.

There are large groups of expats, some of whom socialize in their own communities. If you are here for an extended stay, joining community activities and groups is a great way to make friends and see the country. For example, community beach clean-ups organised by The Ocean Project, or fortnightly hikes by the Seychelles Hash House Harriers. Both are advertised on Facebook.

The Seychellois tend to have large extended families. People often live together and have children prior to marriage. It is not uncommon for family units to be centred on the mother and familial bonds are often very strong.

There are three official languages: English, Creole and French. Creole is the most widely spoken day-to-day language, but English is the language of government, commerce and education, and most Seychellois are fluent. French is the least widely used of the three, particularly among the younger generations.

Social media

Use of social media in Seychelles is extremely prevalent, especially Facebook. Many Seychellois use social media groups as the primary means for advertising properties for rent and vehicles for sale.

Sustainability

Seychelles is home to one of the world’s most bio-diverse and unique ecosystems, and the importance of the ocean to its economy means carefully balancing tourism (and fishing) with sustainability.

Many organizations promote sustainability in Seychelles and the government has taken steps to promote the development of a ‘Blue Economy’, preserving its ocean for future generations. Eco-friendly community activities such as public beach-clean ups are common. Visitors should note that Seychelles banned the sale of most single-use plastic bags in 2016 – reusable bags are common and their use is encouraged.

The British High Commission promotes sustainable tourism and we urge visitors to help protect this fragile environment. Below are some tips which visitors and residents can follow:

  • bring a reusable water bottle with you and refill from larger containers

  • where possible, use ocean safe/coral reef safe sunscreen. Pollutants such as oxybenzone, butylparaben, octyl methoxycinnamate and enzacamene are four common sunscreen ingredients which are non-biodegradable and can wash off of skin and harm ocean wildlife such as coral

  • take a bag for rubbish with you when out and about in case you can’t find a bin. Do not leave any rubbish, especially not on the beach

  • refuse plastic straws and cutlery when you can – make your views known to the hotel staff and General Manager when possible

  • bring or purchase a canvas shopping bag

  • do not leave the air conditioner on in your hotel room when you go out. Set a timer for the air conditioner to switch off once you are asleep

  • you should consider the impact you have on the local economy when you go shopping. Consider buying local produce, including crafts, spices, chilli, coconut oil and nutmeg. The Sir Selwyn-Selwyn Market (named after a British ex-Governor) in Victoria is a wonderful place to “buy local”

For further information, please visit the Seychelles Ministry of Environment website.

Waste

Visitors to Seychelles might also consider taking some of their rubbish back home with them, such as empty sunscreen bottles, after-sun or mosquito spray. There are very limited recycling facilities in Seychelles, and local landfills are filling up fast.

Glass, such as local beer bottles, can be returned to the brewers for re-use. Some locals will collect glass bottles in order to return them. Plastic bottles and cans can also be brought for recycling in exchange for money. You will see collectors carrying large bags – they are collecting “PET” (plastic) bottles. They will be pleased if you give them your empties.

Certified accommodation

The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) currently certifies 15 hotels in Seychelles. This is managed by the Ministry of Tourism. For further information, please visit the SSTL website.

Flight compensation

For most, travel by air to Seychelles is unavoidable, but there are opportunities to offset your carbon footprint. Direct flights reduce emissions, as can taking longer trips rather than shorter ones (what better excuse to stay longer?!). Using low emission transportation, such as bicycles, public transport (the buses are very cheap and you can buy a timetable from the bus station in Victoria) and sail boats can also be effective and an enjoyable way to see the islands.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 11 March 2014
Last updated 3 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updates to living in Seychelles guidance
  2. First published.