French West Indies - Tips
French West Indies
French West Indies Consular
June 07, 2007
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The French West Indies consists of the
islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin (the French side) and St.
Barthelemy. These islands are well developed. In St. Martin and St. Barthelemy,
English is widely spoken and U.S. currency is accepted. Read the Department of State Background
Notes on France
for additional information.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Passports are required of U.S.
citizens entering the French West Indies. Visas are generally not required for
visitors planning to remain for up to 90 days. For further information,
travelers can contact the Embassy of
at 4101 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone
1-202-944-6000; or the nearest French consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago,
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans or San Francisco. Visit the
web site for the Embassy of France athttp://www.info-france-usa.org
for the most current visa information.
See Entry and Exit
for more information pertaining to dual
and the prevention of international
parental child abduction. Please refer to our Customs
to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: For the latest security information,
Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site
, where the
Warnings and Public Announcements
, including the Worldwide
Caution Public Announcement, can be found.
Up-to-date information of safety and security can also be obtained by calling
1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S.
and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available
from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S.
The Department of State urges American 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 pamphlet A Safe
CRIME: Petty street crime, including purse snatching, occurs
throughout the French West Indies. Visitors should take care whenever traveling
to safeguard valuables and always lock hotel rooms and car doors.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad
of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while
overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest
U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for
example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members
or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the
investigation and prosecution of the crime is 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.
See our information on Victims
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Good medical care
is available throughout the French West Indies. Not all doctors speak or
understand English. 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.
Cases of dengue fever have been reported in Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and
water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at
1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel
. For information
about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health
Organization’s (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en
. Further health
information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling
abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will
cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our
information on medical
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly
from those in the United States. The information below concerning the French
West Indies is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally
accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving in the French West Indies is on the right side of the road. Children
under 12 are not legally allowed in the front seat. Seatbelt laws are strictly
enforced. 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, especially if greeted in a friendly
manner. 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. Public transportation in the form of
taxis, vans, and buses is relatively safe. For specific information concerning
French West Indies driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory
insurance, contact the French National
offices at http://www.franceguide.com/
Please refer to our Road
page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: Civil aviation operations in the
French West Indies fall under the jurisdiction of French authorities. The U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of
France’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International
Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight
of France’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit
the FAA’s web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: In addition to being subject to all
French laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other
laws that impose special obligations on French citizens. Although France
recognizes dual nationality, dual nationals are considered French citizens and
are subject to French laws without regard to the other nationality. For
additional information, please see our dual nationality
French customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning
temporary importation into or export from the French West Indies of items such
as firearms, medications, animals, etc. For questions, travelers may wish to
contact the Embassy of France or a French Consulate for specific information
regarding customs requirements. Please see our information on customs
The French West Indies can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season
normally runs from 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
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes
differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the
protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking
the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences.
Persons violating French laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in
the French West Indies are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail
sentences and heavy fines. Under French law, no bail is offered for those
arrested with illegal drugs in their possession and they can expect to wait
several months before their case is heard. Detained persons are presumed guilty
and must prove their innocence.
Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child
pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.
Please see our information on Criminal
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption
of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's
REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living or
traveling in the French West Indies are encouraged to register with the nearest
U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel
registration web site
, and to obtain updated information on travel and
security within the French West Indies. Americans without Internet access may
register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, which has jurisdiction over
the French West Indies. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the
Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is
located in Wildey Business Part in St. Michael, Barbados. Internet: http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov
Consular Section is open for American Citizens Services from 8:30am to 4:00pm,
Monday-Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays. For after-hours service,
American citizens may contact the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados,
telephone 1-246-436-4950. The U.S. Consular Agency in Martinique is
located at the Hotel Valmeniere #615, Avenue des Arawaks, 97200 Fort de France,
telephone (011) (596) (596) 75-6754, fax (011) (596) (596) 70-8501, email: [email protected]
Hours are Monday
through Friday from 9:00am to 12:00pm, except French and U.S. holidays.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated October 13, 2006, 2006, to
update Entry/Exit Requirement, Medical Facilities and Health Information,
Aviation Safety Oversight and Registration/Embassy Location sections.
http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel
To change your subscription, go to http://www.state.gov/misc/echannels/66822.htm
French West Indies