Guyana - Consular Information Sheet
September 27, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Guyana is a developing nation. Tourist
facilities are not fully developed, except for hotels in the capital
city of Georgetown and a limited number of eco-resorts.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid U.S. passport is required
for U.S. citizens to enter and depart Guyana. On arrival in Guyana,
visitors are granted a 30-day stay. Extensions of stay may be
obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs at 60 Brickdam Street,
Georgetown. The Central Office of Immigration located on Camp
Street, Georgetown, must then note the extension in the visitor's
passport. Travelers for other than tourism purposes should check
with the Ministry of Home Affairs for information about requirements
for work permits and extended stays. U.S.-Guyanese dual nationals
departing Guyana for the U.S. under a Guyanese passport must present
to Guyanese authorities a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or
similar document establishing that they may freely enter the United
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
For further information about entry, exit and custom requirements,
travelers may consult the
Embassy of Guyana at 2490 Tracy Place, N.W., Washington, D.C.
20008, telephone (202) 625-6900, the Consulate General in New
York, or honorary consuls
in California, Florida, Ohio and Texas. Internet: http://www.guyanaca.com
or http://www.guyana.org; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Guyana continues to suffer from political
and labor unrest. Following national elections in March 2001,
demonstrations, assaults, road blockages, vandalism, looting and
confrontations with law enforcement authorities occurred both
in Georgetown and outlying areas. These events have continued
on a sporadic and unpredictable basis. Although protests in the
past have not been directed at U.S. citizens, and violence against
Americans in general is rare, visitors should nevertheless remain
alert and take prudent personal security measures to deal with
the unexpected while in Guyana. When protests occur, avoid areas
where crowds have congregated, take common-sense precautions,
monitor news broadcasts closely, and maintain a low profile.
CRIME: Serious crime is primarily confined to the more
populated areas of the country. Robberies and thefts occur frequently
in Georgetown, and foreigners, in particular, are viewed as wealthy
targets of opportunity. Pick-pocketing, purse snatching, assaults
and thefts occur in all areas of Georgetown. The areas adjacent
to the sea wall and the National Park in Georgetown, although
frequented by joggers, have been the scenes of crimes ranging
from pick-pocketing to armed assaults. The risk increases after
dusk. Travelers should exercise extra care in visiting these areas.
There has been a rise in the number of thefts from vehicles and
carjackings in Georgetown. Vehicle occupants should keep their
doors locked and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Police are cooperative, but they are often hampered by lack of
resources. Americans who are victims of crime are encouraged to
contact the police as well as the American Citizens Services Unit
of the U.S. Embassy Consular Section.
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 may refer to the Department of State's
A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free
journey. The pamphlet is 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,
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care is available for minor
medical conditions. Emergency care and hospitalization for major
medical illnesses or surgery is available, but it is limited due
to lack of appropriately trained specialists, outdated diagnostic
equipment and poor sanitation. Ambulance service is substandard
and may not routinely be available for emergencies. Visitors are
advised to bring prescription medicine sufficient for their length
of stay and should be aware that Guyana's humid climate may affect
some medicine. Some prescription medicines (mainly generic rather
name-brand) are available.
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 if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.
U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred
outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased.
Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment
for medical services outside the United States. However, many
travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that
will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency
services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face
extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior
to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to
the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed
later for expenses that you 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)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: 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 Guyana is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair to Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair to Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
The Traffic Division of Guyana's National Police Force is responsible
for road safety, but it is ill-trained and ill-equipped. Driving
in Guyana is hazardous because of very poor road surfaces; an
almost total lack of street lights; farm animals bedded down on
or wandering by the roads; and poor driving habits including speeding,
reckless driving, tailgating, quick stops without signaling, failure
to dim headlights and weaving in and out of traffic. Visitors
should exercise caution at all times while driving and limit driving
at night as much as possible.
Penalties for drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury
or death are severe, including life imprisonment. If involved
in an accident, call 911 for police and 913 for an ambulance.
Police may be slow to respond and an ambulance may not be immediately
Drivers use the left side of the road in Guyana. There presently
are no laws in Guyana concerning use of seat belts or child car
seats. Both drivers and passengers on motorcycles must wear protective
helmets that meet certain specifications.
Mini-buses (small twelve to fifteen-passenger vans) ply various
routes both within and between cities on no fixed schedule. Mini-bus
drivers have come under severe criticism by the government, press
and private citizens for speeding, aggressive and reckless driving,
overloading of vehicles, poor vehicle maintenance and repair,
and offensive remarks directed at passengers. Mini-buses have
been involved in a number of fatal accidents.
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, please see the Department of
State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning Guyana driving permits, vehicle
inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the
Embassy of Guyana in Washington, D.C.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Guyana's civil aviation authority
as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of Guyana's air carrier operations. For
further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
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 the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Guyana customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Guyana of items such as firearms. For information on the
export of animals and exotic birds, please see the paragraph on
Special Circumstances below. It is advisable to contact the Embassy
of Guyana in Washington, D.C. or any of Guyana's consulates in
the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
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
Guyana's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Guyana are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: TRANSPORT OF ANIMALS: Many exotic
birds found in Guyana are protected species. The Guyana Ministry
of Agriculture will permit only those persons who have been legally
residing in Guyana for more than one year to take an exotic bird
out of the country when they leave. Those Americans who have legally
resided in Guyana for more than a year and who would like to take
back to the United States any birds or animals, including pets,
listed in Appendices I, II and III of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), must have a Wild Bird Conservation
Act (WBCA) import permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS). Please note that this is a U.S. regulation that applies
regardless of distinctions among the three Appendices. U.S. residents
and non-residents continue to arrive at U.S. ports of entry without
WBCA permits, and they encounter difficulties. Individuals can
obtain WBCA fact sheets and permit applications from the USFWS
Office of Management Authority, Branch of Permits, 4401 North
Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, telephone (703) 358-2104,
fax (703) 358-2281.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE: American citizens are advised to exchange
currency only with banks, hotels, and established money exchange
houses ("cambios"). Many foreigners who opt to exchange
money on the streets, lured by promises of higher exchange rates,
are increasingly becoming victims of fraud and recipients of counterfeit
currency. There is no legal recourse unless the police are successful
in apprehending the perpetrator; even then there is no guarantee
that the money will be recovered. Street vendors usually offer
rates very near to bank or "cambio" rates, so there
is little advantage to be gained by changing money outside the
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: Guyana is not party to the Hague Convention
on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. 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/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Guyana are encouraged to register at the Consular Section
of the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown and obtain updated information
on travel and security within Guyana. The U.S. Embassy is located
at 100 Young and Duke Streets, telephone 011-592-225-4900 through
54909, fax 011-592-225-8497. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday,
7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except on local and U.S. holidays. For
emergencies after hours, on weekends and on holidays, U.S. citizens
are requested to call the U.S. Embassy duty officer at telephone
011-592-226-2614 or 226-8298 or 227-7868 and to leave a message
for pager number 6516.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated March 6, 2001
to update sections on Safety and Security, Crime, and U.S. Embassy