Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > French West Indies International Travel Information
Passports and visa: U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport with at least 6 months validity to enter the French West Indies. No visa is required for stays up to 90 days if you have an onward or return ticket, confirmation of accommodation, and can produce evidence of your ability to maintain yourself.
NOTE: Caribbean cruises that begin and end in the United States (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. Always travel abroad with your valid passport.
HIV/AIDS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the French West Indies.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs information on our websites.
Crime: Petty street crime, including purse snatching, does occur. Do not leave valuables unattended in public areas, unsecured hotel rooms, rental homes, or visible in vehicles.
Do not buy counterfeit or pirated goods. These are illegal in the United States, and you may also be breaking local law.
Victims of Crime: For police and medical emergencies call 911. For fire emergencies call 333. After you have contacted local authorities, contact the U.S. Embassy at (246) 227-4000.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at (246) 227-4000.
Watersports Advisory: Carefully assess the potential risks of recreational water activities and consider your physical capabilities and skills. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking and always be mindful of jet ski and boat traffic in the area. When in doubt, stay out!
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, hospitals are able provide urgent medical treatment, though very serious injuries often require medical evacuation. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs or firearms are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, request that the police or prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Firearms: Firearms entry restrictions may exist. Please contact the Embassy of France before you travel.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the French West Indies.
See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not apply overseas and that doctors and hospital will expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Hyperbaric chambers are available in Guadeloupe at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Abymes and in Martinique at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Fort de France.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of France to ensure the medication is legal in the French West Indies. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: The roads in the French West Indies are usually well paved and well maintained. Main roads are well marked; secondary roads and tourist sites are adequately marked. Excellent maps are available and local residents are helpful. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe have expressways. Traffic safety is enforced by the police. Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the mountains and on winding rural roads.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
Traffic Laws: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Children under 12 are not legally allowed in the front seat. Seatbelt laws are strictly enforced.
For specific information concerning French West Indies driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the French National Tourist Organization offices.
Public Transportation: Public transportation consists of taxis, vans, and buses, all of which are relatively safe.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of France’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of France’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to the French West Indies should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.