Bermuda - Consular Information Sheet
April 30, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Bermuda is a highly developed British
overseas territory with a stable democracy and modern economy.
Tourist facilities are widely available.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens entering Bermuda must
present a U.S. passport or a certified U.S. birth certificate,
and photo identification. A U.S. driver's license or a voter registration
card is not sufficient for entry into Bermuda. For additional
information on entry requirements, travelers may contact the British
Embassy at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W, Washington, DC 20008,
telephone (202) 462-1340, or the
British consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los
Angeles, New York or San Francisco; Internet: http://www.britain-info.org.
CRIME: Although Bermuda has a low crime rate and incidents
of violent crime are infrequent, pickpocketing and thefts of unattended
baggage and from rental motorbikes can occur. Valuables left unattended
on beaches or in hotel rooms, occupied and unoccupied, are also
subject to theft. Popular tourist attractions such as museums,
beaches, restaurants and hotels, and transportation systems are
often areas where criminals operate. There have been a number
of serious incidents of sexual assault and acquaintance rape.
Use of Rohypnol and other "date rape" drugs have been
confirmed by local authorities and reported in the local media.
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. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad,
for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. This publication
and others, such as Tips for
Travelers to the Caribbean, are available by mail from
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Good medical care is available. There
is only one quality hospital, where general surgery is performed
and intensive care units exist. Serious or complex medical problems
will likely require medical evacuation to the United States.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: 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 U.S. Doctors
and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face
Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your
policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation,
and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ascertain whether payment
will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you
will be reimbursed later for expenses you that incur. Some insurance
policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for
disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: U.S. citizens who are taking
medication for a particular illness must inform Bermuda customs
officials at the point of entry. Medicines must be in labeled
containers. Travelers should carry a copy of the written prescription
and a letter from the physician or pharmacist confirming the reason
the medicine is prescribed.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions 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);
fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299); or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
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 Bermuda is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: poor
Under Bermudan law, non-residents are not allowed to own, rent,
or drive four-wheeled vehicles. Non-residents must rely on taxis,
the excellent local bus system, or motor scooters. Traffic is
moderate and Bermudans generally follow the rules of the road.
Licensing and registration are strictly enforced, as are driving
and parking regulations. Because Bermuda does not allow the importation
of used vehicles, most vehicles are in good condition. Driving
is on the left side of the road and the maximum speed limit in
the capital city of Hamilton is 25 kph (15 mph) and 35 kph (21
mph) on the rest of the island. Those unused to driving on the
left are likely to find the roundabouts and regulations for yielding
at junctions confusing and dangerous. In addition, vehicles often
stop on the side of the road, blocking one lane of traffic. Main
roads, while generally in good condition, are extremely narrow
and tend to be bordered by heavy vegetation or low stone walls.
There are pedestrian crosswalks, marked by white lines on all
roads. Vehicles must, and do, stop when a pedestrian is seen approaching
a crosswalk. Horns are seldom used aggressively or as a warning.
Instead, horn honking is used as a general form of greeting in
Bermuda. As almost everyone knows everyone else, horns are heard
honking all the time, for no apparent reason.
Motor scooters are the greatest road peril, as local operators
tend to abuse the speed limit more than other drivers, and will
pass on the left or right with no warning. Renters should be aware
that there are frequent scooter accidents - sometimes fatal or
involving very serious injuries - involving visitors. Rental motor
scooters are readily available and the required helmet is provided.
Renting a scooter for daytime activities in good weather should
be reasonably safe. However, visitors should carefully consider
whether or not it is worth the risk to ride a scooter during rainy
weather or at night. Taxis are readily available and the excellent
and relatively inexpensive local bus system services the length
of the island and stops close to most beaches, hotels, the downtown
shopping area, and other points of interest. In addition, water
ferry service to a variety of stops around the island is available
seven days a week and is a very safe and enjoyable mode of transportation.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs home
page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific
information concerning Bermuda driver's permits, vehicle inspection,
road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the
Bermuda Department of Tourism offices at 310 Madison Avenue,
Suite 201, New York, N.Y., telephone (212) 818-9800, or via the
Internet at http://www.bermudatourism.com.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the government of Bermuda's Civil Aviation
Authority as category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Bermuda's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
FAA Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Bermuda customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Bermuda of items such as animals, arms, ammunition and explosives,
building sand, crushed rock, gravel, peat and synthetic potting
media, foodstuffs (animal origin), fumigating substances, gaming
machines, historic articles (relating to Bermuda), lottery advertisements
and material, motorcycles, motor vehicles, obscene publications,
organotin anti-fouling paint, plants, plant material, fruits and
vegetables (living or dead, including seeds), pesticides, prescription
drugs, prohibited publications, seditious publications, soil,
VHF radios, radar and citizens band (CB) radios. For additional
information on temporary admission, export and customs regulations
and tariffs, contact Bermuda
Customs at 1-441-295-4816, email email@example.com, or visit
Customs web site at http://www.customs.gov.bm.
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 offenses. Persons violating
Bermuda's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Bermuda are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry
a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that,
if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship
are readily available. In accordance with the Vienna Convention
on Consular Relations, Bermudan authorities are required to notify
the U.S. Consulate General in the event a U.S. citizen is arrested
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: ATM machines are fairly widely
available in Bermuda, though operation is somewhat erratic. At
various times, the local ATM system has deposited money into the
wrong account and has refused to dispense cash to both locally-
and foreign-issued debit and ATM card holders. The system regularly
goes down for varying periods of time. No local banks accept checks
drawn on a U.S. account, but some Front Street stores catering
to the tourist trade do accept U.S. checks as payment. The local
American Express office will cash U.S. checks up to $500.00 for
a three-percent fee. Credit cards are widely accepted at all establishments.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Bermuda is a hurricane-prone country.
The worst of these storms generally skirt the island, however,
and little or no property damage is incurred. Cruise ships regularly
alter their schedules and courses to and from the U.S. due to
hurricanes in the Atlantic. General information about natural
disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/CONSULATE LOCATION: U.S. citizens may register
with the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General, located
at Crown Hill, 16 Middle Road, Devonshire DV03, telephone 1-441-295-1342,
where they may also obtain updated information on travel and security
in Bermuda. Office hours for American citizens services are 8:30
A.M.-11:30 A.M. AND 1:30 P.M.-3:30 P.M., Monday-Friday, except
Bermudan and U.S. holidays. American citizens in need of after-hours
emergency assistance may call the duty officer at 1-441-235-3828.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
14, 1999, to update sections on Entry Requirements, Crime, Medical
Facilities, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Customs Regulations,
Disaster Preparedness, Special Circumstances, and Consular Access,
and to delete Y2K information.