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 Fact Sheet on the United Kingdom for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Montserrat, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. By Downloading our free Smart Traveler app, available through the iTunes store and the Google Play store, you will have our latest travel information at your fingertips.
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown
Wildey Business park
St. Michael, Barbados
Telephone: (246) 227-4399
Emergency after-hours telephone: (246) 227-4000
Facsimile: (246) 431-0179
Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Barbadian and U.S. holidays.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: All U.S. citizens traveling outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to re-enter the United States. This requirement was extended to all sea travel (except closed-loop cruises), including ferry service on June 1, 2009. Travelers must now present a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document, such as a passport or passport card, for entry into the United States. While passport cards and enhanced driver's licenses are sufficient for entry into the United States, they may not be accepted by the particular country you plan to visit; please be sure to check with your cruise line and countries of destination for any foreign entry requirements.
NOTE: Be aware that Caribbean cruises that begin and end in the U.S. (closed loop cruises) do not require that you travel with a valid passport. However, should you need to disembark due to an emergency and you do not have a valid passport, you may encounter difficulties entering or remaining in a foreign country. You may also have difficulty attempting to re-enter the United States by air because many airlines will require a valid passport before allowing you to board the aircraft. As such, we strongly recommend that you always travel abroad with your valid passport.
In addition to a valid passport or passport card, U.S. citizens need onward or return tickets, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their entire stay in Montserrat. A departure tax is charged at the airport or ferry dock when leaving. For further information, travelers may contact the British Embassy, 19 Observatory Circle NW, Washington, DC 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 web site for the most current visa 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 sheet.
HIV/AIDS RESTRICTIONS: 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.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Visit the U.S. Embassy site for up-to-date messages for U.S. citizens.
Stay up to date by:
CRIME: While Montserrat’s crime rate is relatively low, both petty and violent crimes do occur. Take common-sense precautions to ensure your personal security, such as avoiding carrying large amounts of cash or displaying expensive jewelry. You should not leave valuables unattended in hotel rooms or on the beach. Use hotel safety deposit facilities to safeguard all valuables and travel documents. Similarly, keep your lodgings locked at all times, whether you are present or away, and do not leave valuables in vehicles, even when locked.
Take some time before you travel to learn how to improve your personal security—things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips for personal security.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
The local equivalent to the "911" emergency line in Montserrat is: 911 for an ambulance and 999 for the police.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Montserrat, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Montserrat, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
IF ARRESTED: If you are arrested in Montserrat, authorities of Montserrat are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest.
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'. 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.
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.
For customs information please see our Customs Information sheet.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender travelers should review the LGBT Travel Information page.
Accessibility: While in Montserrat, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for people with disabilities. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent. In general, restaurants, hotels and residential buildings have stairs at the entrance without wheelchair ramps (except perhaps major hotels and retail areas). Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled persons.
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.
You can find information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. 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 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 contact the Montserrat Tourist Board in Montserrat at tel. 1 (664) 491-2230 or 491-8730. You can visit the web site for the Tourist Board, for additional information.
Visit the website of the Montserrat's national tourist office and national authority responsible for local road safety information.
For general information on road safety, please refer to our Road Safety travel section.
For more information on travel within Montserrat please visit Montserrat's national tourist office.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: Civil aviation operations in Monserrat fall under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the UK’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.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Montserrat dated November 16 2009 without substantive changes.