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Travel Security Advice for French Guiana

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french_guianaGuiana_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

French Guiana is an overseas department of France.  It is a sparsely populated tropical area located on the northeast coast of South America.  French is the predominant language; English is not widely spoken.  Tourist facilities are available, especially in the larger cities such as Cayenne and Kourou, but in some instances are not highly developed. Read the Department of State Background Notes on France for additional information.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in French Guiana are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates .

U.S. Embassy Paramaribo ,


Drs. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo, Suriname
Telephone:  (597)-472900
Emergency after-hours telephone: (597)-0710-1112
Facsimile: (597)-425788

U.S. Embassy/Consular Section in Paris


4 Avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris (Place de La Concorde, metro stop
Concorde)
Telephone: (43)-12-22-22
Emergency after-hours telephone: (42)-61-61-40

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires all travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada to have a valid passport to enter or re-enter the United States. U.S. citizens traveling by air must have a valid U.S. passport, including to or from Mexico.  As of June 1, 2009, all land and sea travelers will require a passport or passport card.  We strongly encourage all American citizen travelers to apply for a U.S. passport or “passport card” well in advance of anticipated travel.  American citizens can visit travel.state.gov or call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for their passports.

Passports are required for U.S. citizens entering French Guiana.  Visas are generally not required for visitors planning to remain  for 90 days or less..  A passport is required and should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.  Anyone intending to stay more than 90 days must obtain the appropriate visa issued by one of the French Consulates in the U.S., prior to departure for French Guiana. Visit the Embassy of France website for the most current visa information, or contact the Embassy of France at 4101 Reservoir Road N W, Washington, DC  20007; telephone (202) 944-6000; or the nearest French Consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans or San Francisco.

HIV/AIDS restrictions . The U.S. State Department is unaware of any HIV/AIDS related entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of France.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:

The Government of France maintains a threat rating system known locally as “Vigipirate.” This system is similar to the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory System. Under this plan, in times of heightened security concerns, the Government of France augments police with armed forces and increases visibility at airports, train and metro stations, and other high-profile locations such as schools, major tourist attractions, and government installations. Over the last year in France, there have been numerous arrests of suspected Islamic militants involved in various terrorist plots. France maintains open borders with its European neighbors, allowing the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity, including air travel to French Guiana.

Although Americans have not been specifically targeted in terrorist attacks in France within the past few years, travelers should maintain vigilance. They should immediately report unattended packages observed in public places or any other suspicious activities. French law enforcement authorities are proactive and will respondappropirately.  If there is a security incident or suspicious package, do not linger in the area to observe.

Although violent civil disorder is rare in France, in the past, student demonstrations, labor protests, and other demonstrations have developed into violent confrontations between demonstrators and police.  Although the distance of French Guiana from “la Métropole,” the part of France located on the European continent, keeps it relatively isolated from civil disturbances and domestic issues, Americans are advised to avoid street demonstrations, particularly if riot police are on the scene.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' website , which contains current the Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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 extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad .

CRIME:

An increase in criminal activity, such as assault, armed robbery, and theft, and in rare instances a stabbing or shooting, has been reported by Americans traveling in French Guiana, particularly in major cities.  Petty street crime occurs throughout the major cities.  Individuals should make sure to keep valuables out of sight, especially if left unattended in an automobile.  There have been reports that the local police have not been responsive to U.S. citizen victims of crime.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

VICTIMS OF CRIME:

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates ).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are 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. Under French law, compensation is available to victims of a crime committed on French soil under certain circumstances.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in French Guiana is 112.  Emergency operators normally do not speak English.

Please see our information on victims of crime , including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

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.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States .

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

French customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from France of items such as firearms, antiquities, medications, business equipment, sales samples, and other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C., or one of France's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements

Customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes.  ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For additional information call (212) 354-4480, or visit USCIB website

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Medical care within French Guiana is limited, and hospital facilities are available only in major urban areas.  Patients' rooms in hospitals are primarily open-air facilities; instead of glass panes, hospital windows are fitted with wooden slats. Prescription and over the counter medicines can be purchased from pharmacies in the larger cities, however U.S. brands or names may not be available.  Portions of French Guiana periodically experience outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever.  Appropriate precautions, including mosquito nets, are recommended outside of the major cities.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

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 French Guiana is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Primary roads in French Guiana are well paved and well maintained.  Emergency call boxes are available at regular intervals on the main highways. Usually, lane markings and sign placements are not as clear as in the United States.  Roads in rural areas are less developed.  Roads leading to more remote regions in the interior are often improved dirt roads.  French Guiana has a relatively moderate to high volume of traffic and police enforce traffic safety.  Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the remote interior regions or on less-developed rural roads. Public transportation in the form of taxis and vans is relatively safe.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. More information is available concerning French driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance on the French National Tourist Office website.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

Civil aviation operations in French Guiana 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.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for French Guiana dated January 23, 2009 to update sections on Registration/Embassy Location, Entry/Exit Requirements, Threats to Safety and Security, Victims of Crime, Special Circumstances, and Travel Safety and Road Conditions.

 


 

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Travel to French Guiana HERE......

There is a Malaria Warning for French Guiana, you can access it HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy, You can also check out our World Wide Embassy Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens).......

Regards

The SW Team......

 

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