International Travel

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Country Information

French West Indies

French West Indies
French West Indies
Exercise normal precautions in Barbados.

Exercise normal precautions in Barbados.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Barbados:

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:
Must have six months validity at entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
1 page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays under 90 days
VACCINATIONS:
None
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
0 Min/10,000 Euro Max
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
0 Min/10,000 Euro Max

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown

Wildey Business Park
Wildey
St. Michael BB 14006
Barbados, W.I.
Telephone: +(246) 227-4399
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(246) 227-4000
Fax: +(246) 431-0179
BridgetownACS@state.gov

CONSULATES

U.S. Consular Agent - Martinique
Hotel Valmeniere, Suite 615
Avenue des Arawaks
97200, Fort de France
Telephone: +(596) 596-730-621
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(246) 227-4000 (U.S. Embassy Bridgetown)

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on France for information on U.S. – France relations. 

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Passports and visa: U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport with at least 6 months validity to enter the French West Indies. No visa is required for stays up to 90 days if you have an onward or return ticket, confirmation of accommodation, and can produce evidence of your ability to maintain yourself.

NOTE: Be aware that Caribbean cruises that begin and end in the United States (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, we strongly recommend that you always travel abroad with your valid passport.

HIV/AIDS: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions may. Please contact the Embassy of France before you travel.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our websites.

Safety and Security

Crime: Petty street crime, including purse snatching, does occur. Do not leave valuables unattended in public areas, unsecured hotel rooms or in rental homes.

Do not buy counterfeit or pirated goods. These are illegal in the United States, and you may also be breaking local law.

Victims of Crime: For police and medical emergencies call 911. For fire emergencies call 333. After you have contacted local authorities, contact the U.S. Embassy at (246) 227-4000.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at (246) 227-4000.

For further information:

Watersports Advisory: You should carefully assess the potential risks inherent in recreational water activities and measure your participation in them against your physical capabilities and skills. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking and always be mindful of jet ski traffic in the area. When in doubt, stay out!   

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  Persons violating local laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs or firearms are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, request that the police or prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Firearms:  Firearms entry restrictions may exist. Please contact the Embassy of France before you travel.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:  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 and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled persons.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not apply overseas and that doctors and hospital will expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Hyperbaric chambers are available in Guadeloupe at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Abymes and in Martinique at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Fort de France.

Chikungunya and dengue fever are present on all of the islands. Zika is present on Martinique and Guadaloupe. Travelers should carry and use CDC recommended insect repellents.

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.

Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information
:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety

Please be aware that much of the country’s infrastructure was impacted by the 2017 hurricane season.  Public transportation and services may not be running at full capacity, and travel around the island may be difficult.

The roads in the French West Indies are the best in the Eastern Caribbean. Roads are well paved and well maintained. Main roads are well marked; secondary roads and tourist sites are adequately marked. Excellent maps are available and local residents are helpful. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe have expressways. Traffic safety is enforced by the police. Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the mountains and on winding rural roads.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

Traffic Laws: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Children under 12 are not legally allowed in the front seat. Seatbelt laws are strictly enforced. For specific information concerning French West Indies driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the French National Tourist Organization offices.

Public Transportation: Public transportation consists of taxis, vans, and buses, all of which are relatively safe.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight:
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assesses whether local civil aviation authorities are in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Last Updated: November 3, 2017

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
Wildey Business Park
Wildey
St. Michael BB 14006
Barbados, W.I.
Telephone
+(246) 227-4399
Emergency
+(246) 227-4000
Fax
+(246) 431-0179

French West Indies Map