Travel Alert Status
Level 4: Do Not Travel
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution when visiting Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti each year, but the poor state of Haiti’s emergency response network should be carefully considered when planning travel. Travelers to Haiti are encouraged to use organizations that have solid infrastructure, evacuation, and medical support options in place.
Haiti's infrastructure remains in poor condition and inadequate. Medical facilities, including ambulance services, are particularly weak. Some U.S. citizens injured in accidents and others with serious health concerns have been unable to find necessary medical care in Haiti and have had to arrange and pay for medical evacuation to the United States. We strongly encourage visitors to Haiti to obtain evacuation insurance.
U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, predominately in the Port-au-Prince area. To date in 2013, two U.S. citizens arriving in Port-au-Prince on flights from the United States were attacked and robbed shortly after departing the airport. It is recommended that U.S. citizens have their host/organization meet them at the airport upon arrival and/or have pre-arranged airport transfers and hotels. While the government of Haiti has made progress in recent months to arrest and disrupt perpetrators, kidnapping for ransom can affect anyone in Haiti, particularly those maintaining long-term residence in the country.
Regions of Haiti outside the capital have lower reported incidents of crime. However, authorities' ability to respond to emergencies is limited and in some areas nonexistent. Should a traveler find him or herself in an emergency, local health, police, judicial and physical infrastructure limitations mean there are few local resources available to help resolve the problem. Embassy employees are required to adhere to certain required security and safety measures when traveling outside of Port-au-Prince, which constrains our ability to provide emergency services to U.S. Citizens outside of Port-au-Prince.
U.S. Embassy personnel are under an Embassy-imposed curfew of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. and must remain at home or other safe facility during curfew hours. Additionally, there are restrictions on travel by Embassy staff in certain areas or times. This may constrain the Embassy’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside Port-au-Prince.
The Haitian National Police (HNP), with assistance from MINUSTAH, is responsible for keeping peace and rendering assistance. However, given the possibility and unpredictability of violent protests, its ability to assist U.S. citizens during disturbances is very limited. U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Haiti in 2010, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist.
U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Haiti are urged to review our Country Specific Information page. U.S. private sector organizations with operations in Haiti can obtain additional information on the security situation in the country through the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). OSAC’s mission is to promote security cooperation between U.S. private sector interests worldwide and the U.S. Department of State. OSAC also maintains an active Country Council in Haiti to promote the exchange of security-related information. The Council is comprised of security professionals and is co-chaired by the Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince and a private sector representative. U.S. private sector entities can obtain additional information on OSAC by visiting the OSAC website.
U.S. citizens are also urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive the most up-to-date security information. While the Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services is extremely limited, travel enrollment will enable receipt of security messages via email. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States; callers outside the United States and Canada can receive the information by calling 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 Embassy of the United States of America is located in Port-au-Prince at Boulevard du 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41, Tabarre, Haiti, telephone: (509) (2) 229-8000, facsimile: (509) (2) 229-8027, email: email@example.com American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit office hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Consular Section is closed on U.S. and local holidays. After hours, on weekends and on holidays, please call (509) (2) 229-8000. The Marine guard will connect you with the Embassy Duty Officer.
Safety and Security:
While hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti every year, the Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consider carefully all travel to Haiti. Travel fully supported by organizations with solid infrastructure, evacuation options, and medical support systems in place is recommended.
If you intend to work for an organization involved in humanitarian efforts in Haiti, be aware that living conditions are difficult. You should confirm that the organization has the capability to provide transportation and shelter for its paid and volunteer workers. All relief organizations should have a security plan in place for their personnel. Please note that space in hotels is extremely limited.
While most crime victims are residents of Haiti, temporary visitors share the risk of falling victim. There remains a persistent danger of violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, rape, and kidnapping. While the size of the Haitian National Police (HNP) force has been growing and its capabilities improving, its ability to maintain citizen security is limited. The presence of MINUSTAH peacekeeping troops and UN-formed police units remain critical to maintaining an adequate level of security throughout the country. The limited capability of local law enforcement to respond to and investigate crimes further compounds the security threat to U.S. citizens. In particular, there have been cases in which travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince on flights from the United States were attacked and robbed after exiting the airport by car (two such cases involving U.S. citizens have been reported in the first six months of 2013). Police authorities believe criminals may be targeting travelers arriving on flights from the United States, following them, and attacking once they are out of the area. Use extra caution in arranging transportation from the airport. Most kidnappings are financial crimes of opportunity, and kidnappers make no distinctions of nationality, race, gender, or age. Some kidnap victims have been killed, shot, sexually assaulted, or physically abused.
While MINUSTAH remains fully deployed and is assisting the Government of Haiti in providing security, travel within Port-au-Prince can be hazardous. U.S. embassy personnel are under an embassy-imposed curfew of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. and must remain in their homes or in U.S. government facilities during the curfew. Some areas are off-limits to Embassy staff after dark, including downtown Port-au-Prince, Cite Soleil, Martissant, Carrefour, Croix Des Bouquets, among other areas. The embassy restricts travel by its staff to some areas outside of Port-au-Prince because of the prevailing road, weather, or security conditions. This may constrain the embassy’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside Port-au-Prince. Demonstrations, which are common occurrences in Haiti and can become violent, may occasionally limit embassy operations to emergency services, even within Port-au-Prince.
We recommend that you avoid all large gatherings, as crowd behavior can be unpredictable. Visitors encountering roadblocks, demonstrations, or large crowds should remain calm and depart the area quickly and avoid confrontation. Assistance from Haitian authorities is often unavailable. Be particularly cautious on days when political activities are planned. Take common-sense precautions and avoid any event where crowds may congregate.