U.S. Department of
Bureau of Consular
Washington, DC 20520
This information is
current as of today, Mon Jun 20 11:51:56 2005.
here for US Department of State information on
Behavior Modification Facilities in Jamaica.)
here for registration/embassy location.)
travel to Jamaica should read International Adoption Jamaica (http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/country/country_404.html),
International Parental Child Abduction Jamaica (http://travel.state.gov/family/abduction/country/country_500.html), and New Requirements
for Travelers Between the United States and the Western Hemisphere (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html)
available on the Department of State web site at http://travel.state.gov
November 29, 2004
: Jamaica is a developing nation of over 2.6 million people.
Facilities for tourists are widely available. International airports
are located in Kingston and Montego Bay. Read the Department of
State Background Notes on Jamaica for additional information.
REQUIREMENTS : U.S. citizens traveling as tourists may enter Jamaica
with a U.S. passport or a certified U.S. birth certificate and
current, government issued photo identification. Persons traveling
with U.S. passports tend to encounter fewer difficulties upon
departure than those who choose to use other documents. Visitors
must have a return ticket and be able to show sufficient funds for
their visit. U.S. citizens traveling to Jamaica for work or extended
stays are required to have a current U.S. passport and visa issued
by the Jamaican Embassy or a Jamaican Consulate. Travelers must pay
a departure tax when leaving the country.
information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Jamaica at 1520
New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202)
452-0660; the Jamaican Consulate in Miami or New York; honorary
consuls in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Seattle or Los
Angeles. Visit the Embassy of Jamaica's web site at http://www.congenjamaica-ny.org
for the most current visa information.
See our Foreign
Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Jamaica and
information on dual nationality and the prevention of international
child abduction . Link to Customs and ATA Information .
SAFETY AND SECURITY
: Gang violence and shootings occur regularly in inner-city areas of
Kingston. Some inner-city neighborhoods are occasionally subject to
curfews and police searches. Impromptu demonstrations sometimes
occur, during which demonstrators often construct roadblocks or
otherwise block the streets. These events usually do not affect
tourist areas, but travelers to Kingston should check with local
authorities or the U.S. Embassy for current information prior to
For the latest
security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly
monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov
where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement , Travel
Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling
1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., 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 .
including violent crime, is a serious problem in Jamaica,
particularly in Kingston. While the vast majority of crimes occur in
impoverished areas, the violence is not confined. The primary
criminal concern of a tourist is being a victim of theft. In several
cases, armed robberies of Americans have turned violent when the
victims resisted handing over valuables. Crime is exacerbated by the
fact that police are understaffed and ineffective. Therefore,
tourists should take their own precautions and always pay extra
attention to their surroundings when traveling, exercise care when
walking outside after dark, and should always avoid areas known for
high crime rates. As a general rule, valuables should not be left
unattended, including in hotel rooms and on the beach. Care should
be taken when carrying high value items such as cameras, or when
wearing expensive jewelry on the street. Women's handbags should be
zipped and held close to the body. Men should carry wallets in their
front pants pocket. Large amounts of cash should always be handled
The U.S. Embassy
advises its staff to avoid inner-city areas of Kingston and other
urban centers whenever possible. Particular caution is advised after
dark in downtown Kingston. The U.S. Embassy also cautions its staff
not to use public buses, which are often overcrowded and are a
frequent venue for crime.
To enhance security
in the principal resort areas, the Government of Jamaica has taken a
number of steps, including assignment of special police foot and
bicycle patrols. Particular care is still called for, however, when
staying at isolated villas and smaller establishments that may have
fewer security arrangements. Some street vendors and taxi drivers in
tourist areas are known to confront and harass tourists to buy their
wares or employ their services. If a firm "No, thank you" does not
solve the problem, visitors may wish to seek the assistance of a
tourist police officer.
Drug use is
prevalent in some tourist areas. American citizens should avoid
buying, selling, holding, or taking illegal drugs under any
circumstances. There is anecdotal evidence that the use of so-called
date rape drugs, such as Ruhypnol, has become more common at clubs
and private parties. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other illegal
narcotics are especially potent in Jamaica, and their use may lead
to severe or even disastrous health consequences.
Relatives of U.S.
citizens visiting Jamaica and U.S. citizens who are prisoners in
Jamaica have received telephone calls from people claiming to be
Jamaican police officers, other public officials, or medical
professionals. The callers usually state that the visitor or
prisoner has had trouble and needs financial help. In almost every
case these claims are untrue. The caller insists that money should
be sent to either themselves or a third party who will assist the
visitor or prisoner, but when money is sent, it fails to reach the
U.S. citizens in alleged need. U.S. citizens who receive calls such
as these should never send money. They should contact the American
Citizen Services Unit of the Embassy's Consular Section at telephone
(876) 935-6044 for assistance in confirming the validity of the
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, to 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.
See our information
on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html
AND HEALTH INFORMATION : Medical care is more limited than in the
United States. Comprehensive emergency medical services are located
only in Kingston and Montego Bay, and smaller public hospitals are
located in each parish. Emergency medical and ambulance services are
limited in outlying parishes. Ambulance service is limited both in
the quality of emergency care and in the availability of vehicles in
remote parts of the country.
problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the
United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and
hospitals often require cash payment prior to providing services.
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 Preventionís hotline for
international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax
1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDCís Internet site at
http://www.cdc.gov/travel . For information about outbreaks of
infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organizationís
(WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en . Further health information
for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith .
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 Jamaica is
provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate
in a particular location or circumstance.
pedestrians should remember that driving in Jamaica is on the
left-hand side of the road. Breakdown assistance is quite limited in
urban areas and virtually unavailable in rural areas. Nighttime
driving is especially dangerous and should be avoided whenever
possible. As noted above in the section on Crime, public buses are
often overcrowded and they are frequently a venue of crime.
Travelers who use taxicabs should take only licensed taxicabs having
red-and-white PP license plates.
passengers in the front seat are required to wear seat belts, and
motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets. A number of U.S.
citizens who have rented motorcycles and scooters have been
seriously injured, often because the riders were not wearing a
helmet and other motorcycle safety gear. Extreme caution should be
used in driving motor driven cycles.
Drivers should make
every effort to avoid areas of high crime and civil strife.
Roadblocks are sometimes employed by residents as protests intended
to draw attention to particular issues and require extreme caution
by drivers. The U.S. Embassy advises its staff to exercise caution
when traveling in areas described in the section on Crime. The
Embassy also advises its staff to always keep their window up and
doors locked when driving and to leave enough distance between
themselves and the preceding car at intersections to allow a roll
forward in case of harassment by pedestrian panhandlers. As a rule,
drivers should always avoid contact with large groups of
Most roads are
paved, but suffer from ill repair, inadequate signage and poor
traffic control markings. City roads are often subject to poorly
marked construction zones, pedestrians, bicyclists, and,
occasionally, livestock. Street corners are frequented by peddlers,
window washers, and beggars walking among stopped cars. Smaller
roads are often narrow and they are frequently traveled at high
speeds. Drivers should be aware of roundabouts, which are often
poorly marked and require traffic to move in a clockwise direction.
Motorists entering a roundabout must yield to those already in it.
Failure to turn into the correct flow of traffic can result in a
head on collision.
The A1, A2 and A3
highways are the primary links between the most important cities and
tourist destinations on the island. These roads are not comparable
to American highways, and road conditions may be hazardous due to
poor repair, inadequate signage and poor traffic control markings.
The B highways and other rural roads are often very narrow and
frequented by large trucks, buses, pedestrians, bicyclists and open
range livestock. Highways are traveled at high speeds, but they are
not limited-access and are subject to the hazards outlined above.
general information about road safety, including links to foreign
government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of
Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html
. For specific information concerning Jamaican drivers permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact
the Embassy of Jamaica's website: http://www.congenjamaica-ny.org or
the Jamaica Tourist Board at: 1-800-JAMAICA or on line at http://www.jamaicatravel.com
Please refer to our
Road Safety page for more information .
OVERSIGHT : The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has
assessed the Government of Jamaica as being in compliance with ICAO
international aviation safety standards for oversight of Jamaica's
air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit
the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Behavior Modification
Facilities: In recent years, there has been a growth of Behavior
Modification Facilities for the treatment of minors with
drug/alcohol and discipline problems. Parents enroll their children
in these facilities in the hope of improving their behavior. The
Department of State is aware of such facilities in Jamaica and
Mexico. There may be facilities in other countries that have not
come to the attention of the U.S. government.
considering enrolling their children in overseas Behavior
Modification Facilities should visit the facility, if at all
possible, and review the host country's rules regarding the facility
and its employees. Parents may contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in
the host country to inquire about the facility or speak to the
country officer in the Office of American Citizen Services, Bureau
of Consular Affairs at: (202) 647-5226. When such facilities are
known to exist, consular officials conduct periodic site visits,
sometimes in the company of host country government officials, to
monitor the general well being of U.S. citizen enrollees and to
check on specific individuals who have been the subject of welfare
and whereabouts inquiries. Further information can be found on the
Bureau of Consular Affairs Behavior Modification
information flyer, available at http://travel.state.gov/behavior_modification.html
The Department of
State warns U.S. citizens against taking any type of firearm or
ammunition into Jamaica without authorization from the Ministry of
National Security. Entering Jamaica with a firearm or even a single
round of ammunition is serious crime that can result in a long
prison sentence. Fresh fruits, vegetables and uncooked meats are not
permitted to be brought in or out of the country and may be
confiscated by customs officials. Pets may not be brought into
Jamaica, except for dogs from the United Kingdom that have not been
vaccinated for rabies and only after six months quarantine. It is
advisable to contact the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington or one of
the Jamaican consulates in the United States for specific
information regarding customs requirements. Please see our
information on customs regulations .
Jamaica, like all
Caribbean countries, can be affected by hurricanes. Hurricane season
runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. The Office of Disaster
Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has put measures in
place in the event of an emergency or disaster. General information
is available on the subject via the Internet from the U.S. Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
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
offences. Persons violating Jamaica's laws, even unknowingly, may be
expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or
trafficking in illegal drugs in Jamaica are severe, and convicted
offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Airport
searches are thorough and people attempting to smuggle narcotics are
in Jamaica differ greatly from prison conditions in the United
States. Prisoners are provided only the most basic meals and must
rely upon family and friends to supplement their diets, provide
clothing, and supply personal care items such as toothpaste and
shampoo. Packages shipped from the United States to prisoners are
subject to Jamaican import taxes and are undeliverable when the
recipient lacks the funds to pay the duties.
Engaging in illicit
sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child
pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the
United States. See more information here .
CHILDREN'S ISSUES :
For information on international adoption of children and
international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's
Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html .
REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION : Americans living or traveling
in Jamaica are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy
or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration
website, https://travelregistration.state.gov , and to obtain
updated information on travel and security within Jamaica. Americans
without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S.
Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it
easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of
emergency. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located on
the first floor of the Oxford Manor building, 16 Oxford Road,
Kingston 5, tel. (876) 935-6044. Office hours are 7:15 a.m. to 4:00
p.m. with window services available Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to
11:30 a.m., except local and U.S. holidays. For emergencies after
hours, on weekends, and holidays, U.S. citizens are requested to
call the U.S. Embassy duty officer through the main switchboard at
(876) 935-6000. The Chancery is located three blocks away in the
Mutual Life Building, 3rd Floor, 2 Oxford Road, Kingston 5; phone
(876) 929-4850 through 59.
The Consular Agency
in Montego Bay is located at St. James Place, 2nd Floor, Gloucester
Avenue, tel. (876) 952-0160. Office hours are Monday-Friday from
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The U.S. Embassy also has consular
responsibility for the Cayman Islands, a British dependent
territory. The Consular Agency in George Town is located in Unit 7
of the Grand Harbour Shops in Georgetown, Grand Cayman; telephone
(345) 945-1511; fax (345) 945-1811; e-mail: email@example.com .
Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday-Friday. For
additional information on travel conditions in the Cayman Island,
please refer to the Cayman Islands Consular Information Sheet.
* * *
This replaces the
Consular Information Sheet dated January 15, 2004, to update all