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Travel Security Advice for Martinique

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martinique_mapMartinique_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

The French West Indies consists of the islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin (the French side) and St. Barthélemy. These islands are well developed. French is the official language on these islands; English is widely spoken in St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, but much less so in Martinique and Guadeloupe.  U.S. currency is widely accepted in St. Martin and St. Barthélemy.  If visiting Guadeloupe and Martinique, you will need to use a credit card or change your U.S. currency to Euros.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on France for additional information.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

Americans living or traveling in the French West Indies are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within the French West Indies. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, which has jurisdiction over the French West Indies. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Wildey Business Park in St. Michael, Barbados. The Consular Section is open for American Citizens Services from 8:30am to 4:00pm, Monday-Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays. For after-hours service, American citizens may contact the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, telephone 1-246-436-4950.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Henry Ritchie, is located at the Hotel Valmeniere #615, Avenue des Arawaks, 97200 Fort de France, telephone (011) (596) (596) 75-6754, fax (011) (596) (596) 70-8501, and via email. Consular Agent Henry Ritchie is available Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 12:00pm, except French and U.S. holidays.

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.  All land and sea travelers now 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 of U.S. citizens entering the French West Indies. Visas are generally not required for visitors planning to remain for 90 days or less. For further information, travelers can contact the Embassy of France at 4101 Reservoir Road, N.W., Washington, DC 20007; telephone 1 202 944-6000; or the nearest French consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans or San Francisco. Visit the web site for the Embassy of France for the most current visa information.

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

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Demonstrations and strikes, usually caused by labor disputes,  do occur -- most recently in February/March 2009 on the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.  These strikes can have a substantial effect on all sectors of society.  The 2009 strikes led to a halt in many social services.  Most commercial activities, including flights, were curtailed significantly or shut down entirely.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  While not common, these strikes significantly impact the tourism industry in the French West Indies, and Americans should consider deferring travel to the islands when a strike is ongoing.  U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.  For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website, where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  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 pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

CRIME:

Petty street crime, including purse snatching, occurs throughout the French West Indies.  On occasion, tourists are injured during the commission of these crimes.  Visitors should take care whenever traveling to safeguard valuables and always lock hotel rooms and car doors.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME:

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.  If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.  The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is 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.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in the French West Indies is: 18 for Fire, 17 for Police, and 15 for Medical Emergencies.

See our information on Victims of Crime.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Relatively good medical care is available throughout the French West Indies with the exception of St. Barthelemy, where there is no hospital. Not all doctors speak or understand English. Hyperbaric chambers are available in Guadeloupe at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Abymes and in Martinique at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Fort de France.  Cases of dengue fever and H1N1 influenza have been reported in Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the French West Indies. 

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 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.  Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

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

Driving in the French West Indies is on the right side of the road. Children under 12 are not legally allowed in the front seat. Seatbelt laws are strictly enforced. The roads in the French West Indies are the best in the Eastern Caribbean. Roads are well paved and well maintained. Main roads are well marked; secondary roads and tourist sites are adequately marked. Excellent maps are available and local residents are helpful, especially if greeted in a friendly manner. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe have expressways. Traffic safety is enforced by the police. Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the mountains and on winding rural roads. Public transportation in the form of taxis, vans, and buses is relatively safe. For specific information concerning French West Indies driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the French National Tourist Organization offices.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Visit the website of France's national authority responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

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.  For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s web site.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

 In addition to being subject to all French laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on French citizens. Although France recognizes dual nationality, dual nationals are considered French citizens and are subject to French laws without regard to the other nationality. For additional information, please see our Dual Nationality page.

French customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from the French West Indies of items such as firearms, medications, animals, etc.  For questions, travelers may wish to contact the Embassy of France or a French Consulate for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our information on customs regulations.

The French West Indies can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. 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/.

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 French West Indies’ laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the French West Indies are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.  Please see our information on Criminal Penalties

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

For information 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 West Indies dated April 13, 2009, to update sections on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements,Threats to Safety and Security and Medical Facilities and Health Information.

 


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Martinique HERE....

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

Regards

The SW Team.....

 

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