COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Barbados is an independent Caribbean island nation with a developed economy. The capital is Bridgetown. Facilities for tourism are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados has consular responsibility for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as the British dependent territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, and the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthélemy and St. Martin. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Barbados for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Barbados, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you check in, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. We encourage U.S. citizens traveling to Barbadosto download our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes and the Android market
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown
Wildey Business Park
St. Michael, Barbados
Telephone: (246) 227-4399
Emergency after-hours telephone: (246) 227-4000
Facsimile: (246) 431-0179
Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Barbadian and U.S. holidays.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport to enter Barbados. No visa is needed to enter Barbados for stays up to 28 days. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Barbados, 2144 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-9200, fax (202) 332-7467, e-mail: email@example.com; or the consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami or New York.
All U.S. citizens traveling outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter the United States. This extended to all sea travel (except closed-loop cruises), including ferry service on June 1, 2009. Travelers must now present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document such as a passport or a passport card for entry to the United States. While passport cards and enhanced driver’s licenses are sufficient for entry into the United States, they may not be accepted by the particular country you plan to visit; please be sure to check with your cruise line and countries of destination for any foreign entry requirements. We strongly encourage all U.S. citizen travelers to apply for a U.S. passport or passport card well in advance of anticipated travel. U.S. citizens can call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for their passports.
NOTE: Be aware that Caribbean cruises that begin and end in the U.S. (closed loop cruises) do not require that you travel with a valid passport. However, should you need to disembark due to an emergency and you do not have a valid passport, you may encounter difficulties entering or remaining in a foreign country. You may also have difficulty attempting to re-enter the United States by air because many airlines will require a valid passport before allowing you to board the aircraft. As such, westrongly recommend that you always travel abroad with your valid passport.
HIV/AIDS entry restrictions may exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Barbados. Please contact the Embassy of Barbados before you travel at:
2144 Wyoming Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 939-9200 through 9202
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.
You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and become a fan of the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on facebook as well.
Take some time before travel to improve your personal security—things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Crime in Barbados is characterized primarily by petty theft and street crime. Incidents of violent crime, including rape, do occur. Visitors should be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. In 2012 several female tourists were reportedly sexually assaulted in separate attacks while walking alone in the Holetown area on the West Coast of Barbados.
As always, visitors to and residents in Barbados should always be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution, especially when walking alone and even during the day. If walking alone, avoid secluded areas. Always secure valuables in a hotel safe, and always lock and secure hotel room and rental home doors and windows.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purcahase them you may be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates). If your passport is stolen we can help you replace it. For violent crimes such as assault and rape, we can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and help you get money from them if you need it. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Barbados are: Fire: 311, Police: 211, Ambulance: 511.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Barbados, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods.Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Barbados, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating Barbados laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Barbados are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from early June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their citizenship documents with them at all times so, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.
Please see our Customs Information.
Accessibility: While in Barbados, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. There are no laws that specifically prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, or the provision of other state services, other than constitutional provisions asserting equality for all. While no legislation mandates provision of accessibility to public thoroughfares or public or private buildings, the Town and Country Planning Department set provisions for all public buildings to include accessibility to persons with disabilities. As a result, many new buildings have ramps, reserved parking, and special sanitary facilities for such persons.
However, in general, access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with disabilities. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent. Many restaurants, hotels and residential buildings have stairs at the entrance without wheelchair ramps, except perhaps major hotels and retail areas. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled persons.
The law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults, and no laws prohibit discrimination against a person
on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, or health care. A recent study of
attitudes toward gay men and lesbians among local university students found that stigma against lesbian, gay, bisexual or
transgender (LGBT) persons continued to exist. While the overall findings of the study revealed moderately negative attitudes,
participants demonstrated a broad range of attitudes toward gay men and lesbians.
Anecdotal evidence suggests LGBT persons face discrimination in employment, housing, and access to education and health care. LGBT persons are reluctant to report incidents of violence or abuse out of fear of retribution or reprisal due to their sexual orientation. Although statistics were unavailable, anecdotal evidence suggests that while many individuals live open LGBT lifestyles, societal discrimination against gay men and lesbians occurs.
For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Barbados, travelers should review the 2012 Human Rights Report and the LGBT Travel Information page.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: The main medical facility in Barbados is Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Medical care is good for the region, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport. Minor problems requiring a visit to the emergency room can involve a wait of several hours; private clinics and physicians offer speedier service. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions, on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
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In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance
may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a
very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
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TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Barbados, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side of the road. Registered taxis and large public buses are generally safe. Private vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at excessive speeds. Travelers are cautioned against riding in private mini-buses, known as “Z buses”, as the owners frequently drive erratically. Night driving should be done with caution because of narrow roads with no shoulders and pedestrian/bicycle traffic. Visitors are warned to be extremely careful when driving, riding in a vehicle, or crossing roads on foot.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Barbados’ Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Barbados’ air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Barbados dated March 7, 2013 to update the section on Special Circumstances.