Travelling from the United States to the Maldives

June 12, 2024

There are no direct flights from the United States to Maldives. You will have at least one stopover in cities like Dubai, Singapore, or Doha. Total travel time to the Maldives from the United States can range from 20 to 30 hours.

Most travellers that visit the Maldives from the US depart from major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, or Chicago.

Flying from the United States to Maldives

You will need to make at least one stop as there are no direct flights from the United States to Maldives. Here are some airlines that offer routes from major U.S. cities to Velana International Airport (MLE) in Maldives:

  • Emirates: Fly from cities like New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), or San Francisco (SFO) to Dubai (DXB), then take their direct flight to MLE
  • Qatar Airways: Depart from cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Washington D.C. (IAD), stop in Doha (DOH), and then fly to MLE
  • Etihad Airways: Fly from New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago to Abu Dhabi (AUH), then to MLE
  • Singapore Airlines: Depart from New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, stop in Singapore (SIN), and then fly to MLE
  • Turkish Airlines: Fly from cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago to Istanbul (IST), then to MLE
  • United Airlines and American Airlines: You can fly with these airlines to a major international hub, then switch to the partner airline

Tips for Travelling from the United States to Maldives

  • Book 3-6 months in advance for the best deals
  • Midweek flights (Tuesday to Thursday) can be cheaper than weekends
  • Book through a travel agent or directly with resorts for package deals that include accommodation, transfers, and meals since resorts in the Maldives cater to those seeking high-end holidays with premium amenities, which can come at a cost
  • Aim for layovers between 2-4 hours so that you have time to navigate large airports and handle any delays without rushing

Arrival in the Maldives

When you arrive in the Maldives, you'll land at Velana International Airport (MLE) in Malé, the capital. Upon arrival, you will have to go through immigration first.

All nationalities, including U.S. citizens, get a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival to the Maldives. The only required documents are:

  • A valid passport
  • Return ticket
  • Proof of accommodation

After the immigration process, collect your baggage and pass through customs. Declare any goods over the duty-free limit.

Note: You cannot bring alcohol, pork products, and religious materials into the Maldives.


Resort representatives usually wait outside the arrival area with name boards. They will guide you to your transfer, which would be via speedboat, a domestic flight, or seaplane. The mode of transfer will depend on the location of your resort.

Time Difference Between the United States and Maldives

The time difference between the United States and the Maldives depends on which part of the U.S. you are in and whether it's daylight saving time. The Maldives uses Maldives Time (MVT), which is UTC+5 (5 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time). The island nation does not observe daylight saving time.

Here's how the time in Maldives compares to U.S. time zones:

Eastern Time (ET): New York, Miami

  • In standard time: Maldives is 10 hours ahead
  • In daylight saving: Maldives is 9 hours ahead

Central Time (CT): Chicago, Houston

  • In standard time: Maldives is 11 hours ahead
  • In daylight saving: Maldives is 10 hours ahead

Mountain Time (MT): Denver, Phoenix

  • In standard time: Maldives is 12 hours ahead
  • In daylight saving: Maldives is 11 hours ahead

Pacific Time (PT): Los Angeles, Seattle

  • In standard time: Maldives is 13 hours ahead
  • In daylight saving: Maldives is 12 hours ahead

Alaska Time (AKT): Anchorage

  • In standard time: Maldives is 14 hours ahead
  • In daylight saving: Maldives is 13 hours ahead

Hawaii-Aleutian Time (HST): Honolulu

  • Always 15 hours ahead (Hawaii doesn't use daylight saving)

Best Time to Fly from the United States to Maldives

Evening departures are the best for long-haul flights. You can sleep during the first leg, arriving at your connecting city (like Dubai or Singapore) in the morning. This can help with jet lag.


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