Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic is extremely chaotic throughout the country and is frequently congested in urban areas. Lanes are not marked, and signs indicating the flow of traffic seldom exist. Roads are generally unmarked, and detailed, accurate maps are not widely available. GPS-based systems do usually work accurately, but the lack of road signage makes it hard to determine the indicated route. There are only a handful of stoplights in the country. Pedestrians regularly walk on the side of the road, and animals often dart into traffic. Even though driving is on the right side of the road, huge potholes may cause drivers to swerve unpredictably and dangerously into the opposite lane of traffic. Speeding, aggressive driving, lack of traffic lights and signs, lack of right of way, unlit vehicles, and poor maintenance are the cause of many fatal traffic accidents in Haiti, as are overloaded vehicles on winding, mountainous and degraded roads. Motorcycles weave through traffic at high speeds. Driving under the influence is common at night. Traffic accidents are a major cause of death and injury, and extreme caution should be exercised. Those lacking knowledge of Haitian roads and traffic customs should hire a driver through a tour company or hotel. Heavy rains can cause mudslides and flooding that can quickly make conditions perilous. The Haitian government lacks adequate resources to assist drivers in distress or to clear the road of accidents or broken-down vehicles. If you are involved in an accident, do not expect medical or law enforcement assistance.
Public Transportation: Public transportation consists of ?tap-taps? (collective buses), private motorcycles for hire, and public buses and taxis in some cities or inter-city routes. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using any public transportation, and U.S. citizens are advised to avoid doing so due to the risk of crime. There is a significant risk of ejection in any accident, or even rough driving, due to lack of seat belts. See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: Please visit the FAA safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Haiti should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts on the Maritime Administration website. Information may also be posted to the websites of the United States Coast Guard and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (select ?broadcast warnings?).
Medical facilities, including ambulance services, are scarce and generally sub-standard, especially outside the capital. Life-threatening emergencies often require evacuation to a point outside of Haiti by air ambulance at the patient’s expense. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. Lists of doctors, hospitals, and air ambulance services are available at the Embassy website. We do not pay medical bills. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid do not apply overseas. 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.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription.
Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, Cholera, and Zika are all common in Haiti. For additional information, see www.cdc.gov.
Ensure your vaccines are up-to-date as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information, visit http://www.who.int/.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: U.S citizens are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be deported, arrested, or imprisoned. Some acts committed in Haiti may be prosecuted in the U.S., even if there is no prosecution in Haiti. See our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website. Release on bond is not typically available to those arrested for serious crimes. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe. If convicted, expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The judicial process in Haiti is extremely slow for both private business disputes and criminal cases. Progress in a case is often dependent on unrelated factors, such as political connections.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Real Estate Investments: Be highly cautious. Property rights are irregularly enforced. Clear title to land is difficult or impossible to obtain. Consult an attorney before signing documents or closing on any real estate transactions. Undeveloped land is vulnerable to legal and physical takeover. Absentee owners may be assaulted by squatters when trying to reclaim their property. Litigation and eviction proceedings can take years. U.S. citizens involved in business/property disputes are sometimes arrested without charge and can spend months or years in pre-trial detention, waiting for their cases to be heard. The Embassy does not attend property dispute hearings but, as above, can assist U.S. citizens who have been arrested.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our Faith-Based Travel Information, as well as the Department of State?s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Anti-LGBTI sentiment exists. Persons identified as LGBTI may be targeted for harassment, discrimination, or physical attacks. See our LGBTI travel information page and section 6 of the Department of State’s Human Rights report on Haiti for further details.
Mobility Issues: Businesses rarely accommodate persons with disabilities. Haitian authorities do not enforce laws mandating public access for the disabled. Sidewalks, when present, are frequently congested by sidewalk commerce and parked cars, and often end abruptly.
Students: See our Students Abroad page.
Women Travelers: Domestic violence and sexual assault are unfortunately common and not always investigated or prosecuted consistently or vigorously. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
See the Department of State?s travel advisory for Haiti.
Embassy employees are prohibited from using public transportation and visiting certain areas of Port-au-Prince due to high crime. Political violence and violent crimes are common in Haiti, including murders, robberies, assaults, vehicle break-ins, and home invasions. Travelers are often targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport. For this reason, Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling in personal vehicles to and from the airport. Also, the Embassy has procedures in place to detect surveillance and deter attacks on its employees.
Labadee, a port near Cap Haitien in the north – only accessible by cruise ship passengers – has private security and low rates of reported crime. Travelers should exercise reasonable precautions.
- Be careful about providing your destination address in Haiti. Do not provide personal information to unauthorized individuals located in the immigration, customs, or other areas inside or near any airports in Haiti.
- Arrange airport transfers and hotels in advance, or have your host meet you upon arrival.
- As you leave the airport, make sure you are not being followed. If you notice you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station immediately.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Keep a low profile.
- Do not display signs of wealth, such as jewelry or watches.
- Embassy employees are prohibited from visiting banks and using ATMs. U.S. citizens are often followed, attacked and robbed soon after withdrawing money. If you must use an ATM, select one that is out of sight from the general public (such as inside your hotel), and be cautious at all times.
- Do not resist a robbery or car-jacking attempt. Criminals may kill those who resist.
- If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable, leave immediately.
- Be aware: drug traffickers have duped travelers into transporting narcotics aboard on commercial flights.
- Be aware: crime rates tend to go up during holidays, particularly in crowded street festivities.
Victims of Crime, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. Police investigations may not meet U.S. standards and forensic medical services are very basic. Rape kits do not exist in Haiti. Report crimes to the local police at (+509) 3838-1111 or (+509) 3733-3640, then call the U.S. Embassy at (+509) 2229-8900 during business hours, or (+509) 2229-8000 after hours.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends if we receive your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of attorneys in Haiti
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States
- in cases of destitution, provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support
- help you find hotel accommodations and arrange a flight home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Hurricanes: Hurricane season runs from June 1 ? November 30 in the Atlantic. Roads and bridges may become impassible. Poor rescue services and weak infrastructure hamper the government?s ability to respond to storms.
For information on how to prepare and respond to storms and hurricanes:
- Haiti M?t?o website
- Local media broadcasts in Creole or French
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency
Earthquakes: Haiti is prone to earthquakes. For information on what to do before, during, and after an earthquake, visit https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities are not standardized throughout the country. 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 a minor injury, appropriate medical treatment may be available on site. In the event of a major injury, appropriate medical treatment may only be available in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Visit the Embassy of Haiti website for the most current visa information.
Requirement for Entry: Passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival. For further details see the Embassy of Haiti website.
HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or foreign residents of Haiti.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Haiti for information on U.S. ? Haiti relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
Boulevard du 15 October,
Tabarre 41, Route de Tabarre
Telephone: +(509) 2229-8000 / 2229-8900
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(509) 2229-8000
Fax: +(509) 2229-8027
American Citizen Services Unit office hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Most routine services require an appointment; visit our Embassy webpage. The Embassy is closed on U.S. and local holidays.