COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: St. Kitts and Nevis is a developing Eastern Caribbean nation consisting of two islands. Tourist facilities are widely available. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on St. Kitts and Nevis for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP)/EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to visit or live in St. Kitts and Nevis, please take the time to tell our Embassy in Bridgetown about your trip. If you enroll in the 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.
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: U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport to enter St. Kitts and Nevis. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis at Tel: (202) 364-8123, Fax: (202) 364-8121, for the most current visa information.
All U.S. citizens traveling outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter the United States. This 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 a passport card for entry to 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. We strongly encourage all U.S. citizen travelers to apply for a U.S. passport or passport card well in advance of anticipated travel. U.S. citizens can visit travel.state.gov or call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for their passports.
Visitors may be asked to present an onward/return ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover the cost of their visit in St. Kitts and Nevis. Stays of up to three months are granted at immigration. Anyone requiring an extension must apply to the Ministry of National Security. There is an airport departure tax and environmental levy charged when leaving the country. Visit the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis website for the most current visa information. U.S. students planning to study in St. Kitts and Nevis must contact their individual school’s Registrar or Dean’s Office to make arrangements for obtaining a student visa.
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.
HIV/AIDS entry restrictions may exist for visitors to and foreign residents of St. Kitts and Nevis. Please verify the most current information with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis before you travel.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Stay up to date on safety and security information:
CRIME: The government is currently working to combat an influx of illegal weapons onto the islands. Violent crime—including murder, petty street crime, automobile break-ins and burglary—continue to occur. To combat these problems, St. Kitts has hired a new police chief to guide the police force and implement higher standards in crime fighting. Visitors and residents must exercise common-sense precautions such as traveling in groups, avoiding walking alone at night or carrying large amounts of cash, other valuables or travel documents. Hotel safety deposit facilities should be used to safeguard valuables and travel documents. Visitors should also avoid leaving bags, valuables and other belongings in rental vehicles or on beaches. Some American universities in St. Kitts and Nevis have instituted strict curfew hours for students, as many have recently been victims of crime in downtown Basseterre.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law too.
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 (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates ). If your passport is stolen we can help you replace it. For violent crimes such as assault and rape, we can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and help you get money from them if you need it. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are 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.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in St. Kitts and Nevis is: 911.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in another country, 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, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. 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 or engage in child pornography. While you are overseas, U.S. laws don’t apply. If you do something illegal in your host country, your U.S. passport won’t help. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating St. Kitts and Nevis laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs or firearms in St. Kitts and Nevis are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. It is important to note that the prison on St. Kitts was built in the 1800s and is not on par with U.S. prisons. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in St. Kitts and Nevis. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados is responsible for consular issues on St. Kitts and Nevis, including U.S. citizen services.
If you are a women traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Sexual activity between men is illegal and carries a penalty up to 10 years in prison. The law does not prohibit sexual activity between women. For more detailed information about LGBT rights around the world, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from early 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 on hurricane preparedness abroad is provided at, Hurricane Season: Know Before You Go.
St. Kitts and Nevis use eminent domain laws that allow the government to legally expropriate private property for the betterment of the public. The concept of eminent domain and the expropriation of private property is typically governed by laws that require governments to adequately compensate owners of the expropriated property at the time of its expropriation or soon thereafter. The government of St. Kitts and Nevis uses eminent domain to acquire private property, and the law in St. Kitts and Nevis requires the government to compensate owners. However, in practice, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis has often not paid compensation for private property expropriated under its eminent domain laws. Currently the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown is aware of several cases involving the seizure of private land by the government. One such case has been under litigation since 1987 and is yet to be resolved, despite a favorable court ruling for the property owner. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown therefore recommends caution when investing in real estate in St. Kitts and Nevis.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their citizenship documents with them at all times so, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care is limited. The main hospitals are Joseph N. France General Hospital (telephone (869) 465-2551) on St. Kitts and Alexandria Hospital (telephone (869) 469-5473) on Nevis. St. Kitts has two additional hospitals and both islands have several health clinics. Neither island has a hyperbaric chamber. Divers suffering from decompression illness are transported to the island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Good Information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website 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. 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. Generally, traffic in St. Kitts and Nevis moves on the left-hand side of the road. Roads are reasonably well paved
but narrow and sometimes poorly marked. Drivers often stop on the side of or in the middle of the road to visit with other
drivers, blocking traffic lanes. Honking one's horn is a common form of greeting, not a warning.
Travelers are required to obtain a visitor's driver’s license, which may be obtained from the Traffic Department or the Fire Station for a small fee on presentation of a valid home or international license. Public Transportation consists of mini-buses and taxis. Established, reasonable fares are available from airport dispatchers and local hotels. Complaints regarding taxi or minibus services may be lodged with The Department of Tourism or with your hotel.
More detailed information on roads and traffic safety can be obtained from the Ministry of National Security or Ministry of Tourism and International Transport located in Port Zante, Bay Road, Basseterre, St. Kitts, telephone (869) 465-4040. For specific information concerning St. Kitts and Nevis driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis or the St. Kitts and Nevis Tourism Board.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of St. Kitts and Nevis’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 St. Kitts and Nevis dated March 7, 2013 to update the section on Special Circumstances.