Trinidad and Tobago - Consular Information Sheet
April 27, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Trinidad and Tobago is a developing
nation composed of two islands. Tourist facilities are widely
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required of U.S. citizens
for entry to Trinidad and Tobago. U.S. citizens do not need a
visa for stays of 90 days or less. Work permits are required for
certain types of compensated and non-compensated employment, including
missionary work. For further information concerning entry, employment
and customs requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of
Trinidad and Tobago, 1708 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 467-6490 or the
consulates of Trinidad and Tobago in Miami at (305) 374-2199
or New York City at (212) 682-7272, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: In general, Trinidad and Tobago is
considered safe. While some non-violent demonstrations occasionally
occur, civil disorder is not a major threat. American citizens
traveling to or residing in Trinidad and Tobago are advised to
take common-sense precautions should they come upon a demonstration
CRIME: Visitors should exercise normal caution and good
judgment when visiting Trinidad and Tobago. Petty crime continues
to be a problem, and reported incidents of violent crime have
been on the rise. In response, local authorities and the hospitality
industry have implemented an action plan aimed at protecting visitors
to Tobago. Hotel guests should always lock their doors and should
never leave valuables unattended, especially in cars or on beaches.
Visitors should not travel alone at night on deserted beaches
or in poorly-lit areas, such as scenic overlooks. When in doubt,
visitors should consult the establishment where they are staying.
Particular care is called for at isolated villas that may have
fewer security arrangements. The U.S. Embassy advises its staff
to exercise caution when traveling from Port-of-Spain's Piarco
Airport to town, especially after dark, and to avoid using maxi-taxis
(mini-buses) or buses.
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
pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad
and Tips for Travelers to The
Caribbean for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey.
The pamphlets are available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.D. 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: Medical care is more limited than
in the United States. Care at public health facilities is significantly
below U.S. standards for treatment of serious injuries and illness.
Care at some private facilities is better than at most public
health facilities. Ambulance service is extremely limited both
in the quality of emergency care and in the availability of vehicles
in many parts of the country.
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. 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 U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical
insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs, found it life-saving.
When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses 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
of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
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 its 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 Trinidad and Tobago is provided for general reference
only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: poor
Urban Road Conditins/Maintenance: fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: poor
Traffic moves on the left; oncoming traffic is on the right.
While most vehicles are right-hand drive, left-hand drive vehicles
are permitted. Rental cars are available. Both a U.S. driver's
license and/or an International Driving Permit are valid for up
to 90 days after arrival. The driver and front-seat passenger
are required to wear seatbelts. Cars may be stopped and drivers
fined solely for this offense. There are no special child restraint
Many Trinidadian drivers use a series of hand signals to indicate
they are turning or slowing/stopping; none of these signals correspond
to hand signals used in the United States. Trinidadian drivers
are generally courteous and will often stop to let traffic from
side streets enter or cross, but there are speeders on the highways.
Attentive defensive driving is strongly encouraged.
Trinidad has several good four-lane highways and one controlled-access
highway; however, road quality decreases quickly as you move away
from the main roads. Rural roads are generally narrow; many are
in poor repair and often congested. Night travel in the cities
of Port-of-Spain and San Fernando is generally safe, but should
be avoided in other areas except on major highways. While there
are local emergency numbers (990 for ambulance/fire, 999 for police),
roadside assistance is likely to be sporadic and subject to lengthy
delays. A recently established Highway Patrol unit may improve
this situation on major roads. The Ministry of Works and Transport
is responsible for road conditions and safety in the country.
The country has an extensive system of taxis, maxi-taxis (vans)
and some larger buses. While not necessarily dangerous, their
utilization by tourists is generally restricted to the most adventurous
visitors. Fares should be agreed upon in advance. Taxis will often
stop at any point along the road to pick up or discharge passengers,
often with little or no warning. The railroad system was dismantled
some years ago.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information
concerning Trinidad and Tobago driver's permits, vehicle inspection,
road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Trinidad and Tobago
Tourist Information office at 1-888-595-4TNT. See also road
safety information from the Consular Services section of the U.S.
Embassy home page at http://www.usembassy.state.gov/posts/td1/wwwhemb.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation administration
(FAA) has assessed the government of Trinidad and Tobago's Civil
Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for oversight of Trinidad and Tobago'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's Internet website 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 (618) 229-4801.
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 U.S. 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 U.S. for similar offenses. Persons violating Trinidad and
Tobago's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Trinidad and Tobago are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines. Many of the U.S.
citizens convicted for drug offenses in Trinidad and Tobago were
caught taking suitcases or packages containing drugs out of the
country. Even if the package or suitcase is being carried for
someone else, the traveler is liable for its contents.
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
EMBASSY LOCATION/REGISTRATION: Americans living in or
visiting Trinidad and Tobago are encouraged to register at the
Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
and obtain updated information on travel and security. The U.S.
Embassy is located at 15 Queen's Park West in Port-of-Spain, telephone
1-868-622-6371, Consular Section fax 1-868-628-5462. Hours of
operation are 7:30 a.m.-12:00 noon, Monday-Friday, except U.S.
and Trinidad and Tobago holidays.