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Travel Security Advice for Suriname

Surinamese_National_Flag

suriname_mapSuriname_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: 

The Republic of Suriname is a developing nation located on the northern coast of South America. Tourist facilities are available in the capital city of Paramaribo, but are less developed and in some cases non-existent in the country's rugged jungle interior. Most Surinamese speak English; accordingly most tourist arrangements can be made in English. Please read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Suriname for additional information.



REGISTRATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Suriname are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo or 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 as it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.  



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A passport, valid visa and, if traveling by air, return ticket are required for travel to Suriname.  Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Suriname. A business visa requires a letter from the sponsoring company detailing the reason for the visit. A n airport departure charge and a terminal fee are normally included in the price of airfare. Travelers arriving from Guyana, French Guiana and Brazil are required to show proof of a yellow fever vaccination. For further information, travelers can contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 460, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 244-7488/7592, or the Consulate of Suriname in Miami, 6303 Blue Lagoon Drive, Suite 325, Miami, Fl 33126, telephone (305) 265-4655/4918. Visit the Embassy ofSuriname web site for the most current visa information.

Important information for foreigners who have the intention of staying longer than three months:
As of October 1, 2008, persons who intend to stay longer than three months must apply for an Authorization for Temporary Stay (MVK) before traveling to Suriname. The above implies that foreigners (with the exception of foreigners of Surinamese origin) who have traveled to Suriname on a tourist or business visa will not be able to apply for residence during their stay in Suriname.

HIV/AIDS restrictions. The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Suriname. For further information, please visit the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for the most current information.

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:

Demonstrations do occur, primarily in the capital or second cities, and are usually peaceful, but American citizens traveling to or residing in Suriname should take common-sense precautions and avoid large gatherings or other events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest. Travelers proceeding to the interior may encounter difficulties due to limited government authority. Limited transportation and communications may hamper the ability of the U.S. Embassy to assist in an emergency situation.

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 the current 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: 

Criminal activity throughout the country is on the rise and foreigners, including Americans, may be viewed as targets of opportunity. Burglary, armed robbery and violent crime occur with some frequency in Paramaribo and in outlying areas. Pick-pocketing and robbery are increasingly common in the major business and shopping districts of the capital. Visitors should avoid wearing expensive or flashy jewelry and should not display large amounts of money in public.
There have been several reports of criminal incidents in the vicinity of the major tourist hotels.  Night walks outside the immediate vicinity of the hotels are not recommended. Visitors should avoid the Palm Garden area (“Palmentuin” in Dutch) after dark, as there is no police presence and it is commonly the site of criminal activity. 

Theft from vehicles is infrequent, but does occur, especially in areas near the business district.  Drivers are cautioned not to leave packages and other belongings in plain view in their vehicles.  There have been reports of carjackings within Paramaribo, particularly in residential areas. When driving, car windows should be closed and doors locked. The use of public minibuses is discouraged, due to widespread unsafe driving and poor maintenance.

Travel to the interior is usually trouble-free, but there have been reports of tourists being robbed. Police presence outside Paramaribo is minimal, and banditry and lawlessness are occasionally of concern in the cities of Albina and Moengo and the district of Brokopondo, as well as along the East-West Highway between Paramaribo and Albina and the Afobakka Highway in the district of Para. There have been reports of attempted and actual carjackings committed by gangs along the East-West Highway.  Travelers proceeding to the interior are advised to make use of well-established tour companies for a safer experience.

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.  The
Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Division in the U.S. Department of Justice has more information on this serious problem.



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. Victims of crime in the Republic of Suriname can also contact the “Bureau Slachtofferzorg” (Victim’s Assistance Office), Ministry of Justice and Police, Keizerstraat 155, Phone/Fax # (597)-424016, opening hours: Monday through Friday  8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Suriname is 115. Reliability and response time of emergency services vary, but are generally not up to U.S. standards. Emergency operators may or may 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:

Credit cards are not widely accepted outside the major hotels and upscale restaurants. Travelers should contact their intended hotel or tour company to confirm that credit cards are accepted. Currently, only one bank, the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT), has Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) that accept foreign ATM cards. In order to withdraw money from the ATM machines of other banks, you must have a local Surinamese bank account and ATM card. Visitors can exchange currency at banks, hotels and official exchange houses, which are called “cambios.” Exchanging money outside of these locations is illegal and can be dangerous. Telephone service within Suriname can be problematic, especially during periods of heavy rains.



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Medical care, including emergency medical care, is limited and does not meet U.S. standards. There is one public emergency room in Paramaribo, and only a small ambulance fleet providing emergency transport with limited first response capabilities. The emergency room has no neurosurgeon, and other medical specialists may not always be available. As a rule, hospital facilities are not air-conditioned, although private rooms with individual air-conditioning are available at extra cost and on a space-available basis. Emergency medical care outside Paramaribo is limited, and is virtually non-existent in the interior of the country.

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

Traffic moves on the left in Suriname; left-hand-drive cars are allowed on the road. Excessive speed, unpredictable driving habits by both vehicles and motorcyclists/bicycles, unusual right of way patterns, poorly maintained roads and a lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards on Surinamese roads. As of January 2007, seatbelts are required for all automobile passengers, and drivers must use a hands-free device if using a mobile phone while driving. Visitors are encouraged to avoid the use of motorcycles or scooters. An international driver's license is necessary to rent a car.

The major roads in Paramaribo are usually paved, but are not always well maintained. Large potholes are common on city streets, especially during the rainy season, which lasts from approximately mid-November to January, and from April to July (rainy seasons can differ from year to year by as much as six weeks). Roads often are not marked with traffic lines. Many main thoroughfares do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians, motorcycles and bicycle traffic to share the same space.

The East-West Highway, a paved road that stretches from Nieuw Nickerie in the west to Albina in the east, runs through extensive agriculture areas; it is not uncommon to encounter slow-moving farm traffic or animals on the road. Travelers should exercise caution when driving to and from Nieuw Nickerie at night due to poor lighting and sharp road turns without adequate warning signs.  There are few service stations along the road, and western-style rest stops are non-existent.  The road is not always well maintained, and during the rainy season, large and sometimes impassable sinkholes develop along the road.  Police recommend that travelers check with the police station in Albina for the latest safety information regarding travel between Paramaribo and Albina.

Roads in the interior are sporadically maintained dirt roads that pass through rugged, sparsely populated rain forest. Some roads are passable for sedans in the dry season, but deteriorate rapidly during the rainy season. Interior roads are not lit and there are no service stations or emergency call boxes. Bridges in the interior are in various states of repair. Travelers are advised to consult with local sources, including The Foundation for Nature Conservation in Suriname, or STINASU, at telephone (597) 421-683 or 476-579, or with their hotels regarding interior road conditions before proceeding. 

For specific information concerning Surinamese driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Embassy of Suriname in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate of Suriname in Miami.

Please refer to our
Road Safety page for more information. ) Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Suriname’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government ofSuriname’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Suriname’s air carrier operations.  For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s website .



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

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



EMBASSY LOCATION: 

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

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Suriname dated December 19, 2008, to update all sections. 


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Suriname 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)...........

There is a Malaria Warning for Suriname provided by the Centers for Disease Control HERE......

Regards

The SW Team.........

 

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