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Travel Security Advice for Montserrat

Montserrat_National_Flag

montserrat_mapMontserrat_Overview

 


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Montserrat is a British overseas territory and part of the British West Indies.  The island rises in a series of mountainous slopes to a high point of over 3,000 feet at the Soufriere Volcano in the exclusion zone.  Montserrat is a highly active volcanic island.  The Government of Montserrat has issued several recent proclamations and warnings urging residents and visitors to be vigilant and to be prepared to move at short notice.  It last erupted in January 2009, requiring the large-scale evacuation of residents.  Since that evacuation, residents have returned to their homes.  On October 4, 2009, a series of eruptions began, but no one has been required to evacuate as of yet.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on the United Kingdom for additional information.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

Americans living or traveling in Montserrat 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 Montserrat.

The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados has jurisdiction over Montserrat.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The 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.  Assistance may also be provided by the U.S. Consular Agent Pamela Arthurton, resident in Antigua.  Her office is located in Suite #2, Jasmine Court, Friars Hill Rd, St. John’s, Antigua.  Contact information is as follows: telephone 1-268-463-6531, cellular 1-268-726-6531, or via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  The mailing address is P.O. Box W-1562, St. John’s, Antigua.  The Consular Agent is available Mondays from   9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Wednesdays from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, Thursdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, and by appointment.  The office is closed for Antiguan and U.S. holidays.

ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires all air travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada to have a valid passport to enter or re-enter the United States, including to and from Mexico.   U.S. citizens must now have a valid U.S. passport or a U.S. passport card for all land and sea travel.  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. 

A passport, if arriving by air, and a passport or passport card, if arriving by sea, is required for entry to Montserrat.  You will also have to provide proof of an onward/return ticket and sufficient funds to cover your expected stay.  A departure tax is required upon leaving Montserrat. 

For further information, travelers may contact the British Embassy, 19 Observatory Circle N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 588-7800; or the nearest consulate of the United Kingdom in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, or San Francisco.  Visit the British Embassy's web site 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:

For the latest security information, U.S. Citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs' website,

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:

The crime rate in Montserrat is low.  However, travelers should take normal common sense precautions.  Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and displaying expensive jewelry.  Use hotel safety deposit facilities to safeguard valuables and travel documents.

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 Montserrat is: 911 for an ambulance and 999 for the police.

See our information on Victims of Crime.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

St. John’s Hospital (telephone (664) 491-2843), Montserrat’s main hospital, can handle most routine and surgical emergencies.  However, there is no hyperbaric chamber in Montserrat.  Doctors in private practice are also available.  There is now a charter company based in Montserrat, outfitted with stretchers and other equipment that can quickly transfer emergency medical cases to Antigua, Guadeloupe, or Puerto Rico.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Montserrat.  Anyone who does not appear to be in good health may be required to undergo a medical exam (including HIV test) prior to being granted or denied entry.  Please verify this information with the Embassy of the United Kingdom before you travel.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  The 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 Montserrat is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In Montserrat, vehicles are operated on the left-hand (British) side of the road.  There is no organized government roadside assistance, but local residents are often willing to aid those with car trouble.  Roads are narrow, winding and steep.  For specific information concerning Montserrat driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it in Montserrat at tel. 1 (664) 491-2230 or 491-8730.  You can visit the web site for the Tourist Board, for additional information.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Visit the website of the Montserrat’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for local road safety information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

Civil aviation operations in Montserrat fall under the jurisdiction of United Kingdom authorities. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the United Kingdom’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Since 1995, ongoing volcanic activity on the south of the island has led to the evacuation and relocation of residents of the so called ‘exclusion zone'.  The most recent evacuation took place in January 2009.  Additional evacuations may occur when volcanic activity increases.  Because the volcano is still active and dangerous, access to the southern part of the island is restricted.  Persons entering restricted areas without authorization are subject to fine and/or imprisonment.

In early 2007, Montserrat government authorities warned residents and visitors of volcanic activity and an increase in pyroclastic flows in Tyres Ghaut, Gages Valley and behind Gages Mountain.  After placing sections of the lower Belham Valley off limits in January 2007 due to the danger posed by growth of the volcano’s dome, the government of Montserrat lifted those restrictions in September.  Access to all areas on the southern flanks of the Belham Valley east of the Belham Bridge and areas south remains prohibited, as is south of Jack Boy Hill to Bramble Airport and beyond.

When in Montserrat, citizens are advised to monitor Radio Montserrat (Radio ZJB) for the latest official guidance.  

In addition to the hazards posed by the Soufriere Hills Volcano as outlined above, Montserrat 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); information about the Atlantic hurricane season is available from the National Hurricane Center.

The official Montserrat Volcano Observatory website is helpful for updates on volcanic activity.  Updates on volcano activity can also be found on the website of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency

Please see our Customs Information.

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 Montserrat laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Montserrat 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 Montserrat dated February 25, 2009 to update sections on Entry/Exit Requirements and Registration/Embassy Location.

 


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Montserrat 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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