COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory consisting of three main islands with a total area of approximately 100 square miles and located about 500 miles west of Jamaica. There is an international airport located in Grand Cayman, and facilities for tourists are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, has consular responsibility for the Cayman Islands. Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Cayman Islands for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM(STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live or visit the Cayman Islands, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll, 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.
U.S. Consular Agency Cayman Islands
Cayman Centre Unit B-1, 118 Dorcy Drive
George Town, Grand Cayman
Public Hours are M-F, from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Telephone: (345) 945-8173
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Visas are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to the Cayman Islands for short-term visits. U.S. citizens traveling to the Cayman Islands for work must obtain a work permit from the Department of Immigration of the Cayman Islands, telephone (345) 949-8344. There is a departure tax for travelers age twelve and older, which is regularly included in airfare. Visit the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism offices in Miami at (305) 599-9033, New York (212) 889-9009, Houston (713) 461-1317 and Chicago (630) 705-0650for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Cayman Islands.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Since a surge of gang-related criminal activity in 2011, the Royal Cayman Island Police have aggressively addressed the gang activity and murders are down dramatically. Guns remain a problem however, and sentencing for people found with guns or ammunition is strict.
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The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: The crime threat in Cayman Islands is generally considered low, although travelers should always take normal precautions when in unfamiliar surroundings. Petty theft, pick-pocketing and purse snatchings occur. A few cases involving sexual assault have been reported to the Embassy. Police in the Cayman Islands rigorously enforce laws against illegal drugs. U.S. citizens should avoid buying, selling, holding or taking illegal drugs under any circumstances.
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 purchase them you may also 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. We can:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in the Cayman Islands is “911”.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in the Cayman Islands, 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, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail for the night. In most cases, the passport is confiscated until you appear before a Magistrate Judge and a fine is imposed. 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 the Cayman Islands, 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 wherever you go.
Persons violating Caymanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Cayman Islands are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Cayman Islands customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from the Cayman Islands of items such as firearms of any kind, ammunition, spear guns (or pole spears or Hawaiian slings), live plants and plant cuttings. Raw fruits and vegetables are also restricted. Visitors from the United States should be aware that products made from farmed green sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm Ltd. are offered for local consumption; however, the importation of genuine sea turtle products is strictly prohibited by the United States, as well as other countries that have signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. In addition, U.S. Customs prohibits the transshipment of turtle products through the United States and any products discovered will be confiscated. It is advisable to contact the Cayman Government Collector of Customs (345) 949-2473 for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our Customs Information.
The Cayman Islands, like all Caribbean countries, can be affected by hurricanes. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Hazard Management Cayman Islands is responsible for disaster preparedness and response on the islands. General information on the subject of hurricane preparedness is also available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Accessibility: While in the Cayman Islands, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. The Cayman Islands lack comprehensive disability legislation and while many hotels and resorts well-equipped for disabled guests, other tourist facilities, such as the airport and dock, are much less so. The Cayman Islands lack a suitable dock for large passenger ships, for instance, so passengers aboard cruise vessels who wish to visit the Cayman Islands are transported to shore in smaller vessels. You may wish to consult websites and blogs that focus on accessible travel for practical information and first-hand accounts of traveling in the Cayman Islands.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: The quality of medical care in the Cayman Islands is generally comparable to that available in the United States; however, some procedures and cases requiring critical care may require medical evacuation to the United States. Several American citizens each year drown or suffer cardiac arrest while snorkeling or SCUBA diving in the Cayman Islands. These deaths may be attributed in part to tourists attempting to do more than they are trained to do or to poor physical conditioning or preexisting medical conditions that are exacerbated when snorkeling or diving. A hyperbaric chamber is available for treatment of decompression illness. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate payment for health services.
Emergency response services in the Cayman Islands are on par with those generally available in the United States.
You can find detailed 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.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
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 doctor 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.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in the Cayman Islands, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning the Cayman Islands is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
As in Great Britain and its other territories, vehicles in the Cayman Islands travel on the left-hand side of the road (the opposite side compared with driving in the United States). Due to their size, the Caymans have little highway infrastructure to maintain. Local driving standards, the risk of accidents, the availability of emergency roadside service, quality and frequency of signage, and enforcement of traffic laws, generally meet the standards of the United States. Visitors must obtain a temporary driver's license, easily granted upon presentation of a valid state driver's license and payment of a small fee, at a car rental agency or a police station. Laws against driving while intoxicated are strictly enforced, with a legal maximum blood alcohol level set at 100 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood (equivalent to a .10 blood/alcohol level in the United States). Seatbelt laws are also enforced and require the driver and all passengers to wear seatbelts while in motion.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the websites of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the National Roads Authority of the Cayman Islands, the office responsible for road safety.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the UK’s 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 the Cayman Islands dated November 17, 2011 to update sections on Threats to Safety and Security and Entry/Exit Requirements.