TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Trinidad and Tobago Flag
Country Description: Trinidad and Tobago is a developing nation comprised of two islands. Tourist facilities are widely available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport is required for travel to Trinidad and Tobago. 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 at 1708 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 467-6490 or the Consulate in New York City.

Medical Facilities: Medical care is limited. 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 most public health facilities, but doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Ambulance service is extremely limited both in the quality of emergency care and availability of vehicles in many parts of the country. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside of the United States. Supplementary medical insurance with specific coverage for locations outside the United States has proven useful, particularly for medical evacuation, which is extremely expensive. For additional health information, travelers may contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: The government of Trinidad and Tobago has taken several initiatives to curb the growing crime rate, which is a major concern among the populace. The occurrence of violent crime, including murder, armed robbery and assault, is on the rise. Foreign visitors have been the victims of these types of crime in both urban and isolated areas. An American was recently murdered while hiking alone near Port of Spain and serious crimes have occurred on major public beaches after dark. While crime is significantly lower on the island of Tobago, which is the destination of most tourists, travelers may wish to exercise normal precautions and avoid traveling alone.

The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Birth certificates and/or driver's licenses generally cannot be replaced outside of the United States. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad." This publication, as well as "Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean," is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Criminal penalties for possession, use, and dealing in illegal drugs are severe and strictly enforced. Many of the Americans 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. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines.

Aviation Oversight: As a result of an assessment conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in June 1994, the FAA has found the government of Trinidad and Tobago's Civil Aviation Authority to not be in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Trinidad and Tobago air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, Trinidad and Tobago air carriers are permitted to conduct limited operations to the U.S. subject to heightened FAA surveillance. The FAA is not providing heightened surveillance for operations to destinations other than the U.S. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation at 1 (800) 322-7873.

Embassy Location/Registration: U.S. citizens may register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy, located at 15 Queen's Park West in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; telephone (809) 622-6372. U.S. citizens may obtain from the U.S. Embassy updated information on travel and security in Trinidad and Tobago.

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