COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Mauritius is a small island nation consisting of four inhabited and several other islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Mauritius has a stable government and a diverse economy. Its 2011 per capita GDP of USD 8,524 is one of the highest in Africa. Facilities for tourism are well-developed. Although English is the official language, Creole and French are the languages used in daily life. English may not be understood outside of main towns and tourist areas. The capital city is Port Louis. Read the Department of State’s information on relations with Mauritius for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Mauritius, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll your trip with us through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, 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.
U.S. Embassy Mauritius
4th floor of the Rogers House on John F. Kennedy Street
Port Louis, Mauritius
Telephone: ( 230) 202-4400
Facsimile: ( 230) 208-9534
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S.CITIZENS: A valid passport, onward/return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds are required. The passport should be valid for the
duration of stay, and have at least one blank visa page. Travelers must provide a local address where they will be staying
in Mauritius. Visas are issued at the point of entry. Travelers coming from yellow fever-infected areas may be asked to present
a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Visit the website of the Mauritius Ministry of Health for a list of countries considered
as infected. The U.S. Embassy is unaware of any currency restrictions for entry or exit. Travelers should obtain the latest
information and details from the Embassy of the Republic of Mauritius, 1709 N St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202)
244-1491/2. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Mauritian embassy or consulate. Visit the Embassy of Mauritius'
website for 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 Mauritius.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website, www.travel.state.gov. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Thefts in tourist areas are a concern, and visitors should keep track of their belongings at all times. Women are advised against walking alone, particularly on public beaches and at night. There have been reports of sexual assault and harassment of foreign travelers. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds and street demonstrations, and maintain a low profile.Stay up to date by:
CRIME: Although violent crime is uncommon, petty crime is a problem. There is potential for pick-pocketing and purse snatching, especially in crowded areas. Residential break-ins are reported frequently on the island. Most break-ins are surreptitious and do not involve violence, however some burglars have brandished weapons, such as knives or machetes. Although uncommon, there have been reports of armed robbery and assault. It is unwise to walk alone at night outside the immediate grounds of hotels. Foreigners should exercise caution on beaches and poorly lit or deserted areas at night.
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. We can:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Mauritius is: 999 for police, 114 for emergency medical assistance, and 115 for the fire service.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Mauritius, 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 of alcohol 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 Mauritius, 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.
Arrest notifications in host country: 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: Spear fishing equipment may not be imported into Mauritius. Animals may be required to undergo a quarantine period of up to six months, depending on the country of origin andresidence history. Please contact the Mauritian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at ( 230) 464-5084 for specific information related to pet importation.
Accessibility: While in Mauritius, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from that which is commonly provided in the United States.
The Mauritian government partially implemented a law mandating access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, many older buildings remain difficult to access.
Special Issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Travelers: Consensual sexual relations between men are criminalized in Mauritius. The penalty is up to five years of imprisonment. Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any arrests or prosecutions for such activities, they remain illegal. Hotels and restaurants do not discriminate against LGBT travelers. However, travelers should consider exercising caution, especially with regard to expressing affection in public. For further information on LGBT travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical facilities are available, but are more limited than in the United States. Emergency assistance is limited. While public hospitals provide free care, visitors may choose to be treated by private doctors and clinics. Prescription and over-the-counter medicine is generally available, though they may not be specific U.S. brand names. Service Aide Medicale Urgence (SAMU) is a government organization that provides free ambulance and emergency assistance in response to calls to 114 (Address: Volcy Pougnet Street, Port Louis). MegaCare is a private organization that provides assistance to subscribers only (Address: 99 Draper Avenue, Quatre Bornes; phone: 116; 464-6116). Private Clinic Darne tel: 118 and Private Clinic Apollo Bramwell tel: 132 also provide for paid Ambulance Service.
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.
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 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.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Mauritius, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Driving is on the left side of the road. Roads are sometimes narrow and uneven with inadequate lighting, making night driving hazardous. Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour and all road and traffic signs are posted in English. Drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts. Drivers and passengers on motorcycles are required to wear helmets. Babies and toddlers should be placed in child seats. Many accidents occur due to excessive speed and violations of road regulations.
Drivers involved in an accident are required by law to remain at the scene until the police arrive. However, if an angry crowd gathers and those involved in the accident feel threatened, police and judicial authorities have in the past not taken action against drivers who leave the scene if they have proceeded directly to a police station. In cases of accidents involving two parties but which involve no injuries and where drivers are not under the influence of alcohol/drugs, drivers may fill out and sign an “Agreed Statement of Facts.” Police presence is not required for this. Each party should retain one copy of the statement to claim auto insurance reimbursement.
While there are organizations that provide emergency or roadside assistance, their resources and capabilities are limited and on occasion they are unable to respond in non-life threatening incidents.
Public transportation by bus is available between the main towns until 9:00 p.m. and in remote areas until 6:00 p.m. Taxis are also available.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Mauritius, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Mauritius’ Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
* * *
This replaces the Country Specific Information for Mauritius dated December 19, 2012 to update the sections on Entry/Exit Requirements and Special Circumstances.