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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Bermuda

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 the 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 extreme difficulties.

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 the 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 customs@bdagov.bm, or visit the Bermuda 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 or detained.

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 (202) 736-7000.

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.

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