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XYZ Consular Info Suriname
Suriname Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 29, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Suriname is a developing nation
located on the northern coast of South America. While Dutch is the official
language of Suriname, English is widely used, and most tourist arrangements
can be made in English. Tourist facilities are widely available in the
capital city of Paramaribo, but they are less developed and in some cases
non-existent in the rugged jungle interior. The Government of Suriname
encourages ecotourism, and it has expanded tourism to the interior by
establishing guest houses and tour packages. Credit cards are not widely
accepted outside the major hotels, and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are
not available. Travelers should contact their intended hotel or tour
company to confirm that credit cards are accepted.
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport, visa and, if traveling by air,
return ticket are required for travel to Suriname. There is a processing
fee for business and tourist visas. A business visa requires a letter from
the sponsoring company detailing the reason for the visit. There is an
airport departure charge and a terminal fee. Travelers arriving from
Guyana, French Guiana and Brazil are required to show proof of a yellow
fever vaccination. For further information, travelers can contact the
Embassy of the Republic of Suriname, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite
460, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 244-7488, email:
email@example.com, or the Consulate of Suriname in Miami, 7235 NW 19th
Street, Suite A, Miami, Fl 33126, telephone (305) 593-2697.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have
initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring
documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel
from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation
on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: In the summer of 2000, tensions surfaced between
Suriname and neighboring Guyana after Guyana granted a foreign oil company
permission to drill in disputed territorial waters. Talks between Guyana
and Suriname regarding the maritime border issue are ongoing.
Although there were no significant protests in 2001, demonstrations can
occur at any time. American citizens traveling to or residing in Suriname
should take common-sense precautions and avoid large gatherings or other
events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest.
Travelers proceeding to the interior may encounter difficulties due to lack
of government authority and inadequate or nonexistent medical facilities.
Limited transportation and communications may hamper the ability of the U.S.
Embassy to assist in an emergency situation.
CRIME: Criminal activity throughout the country is on the rise, and
foreigners, including Americans, are viewed as targets of opportunity.
Burglary, armed robbery and violent crime occur with some frequency in
Paramaribo and in outlying areas. Pickpocketing and robbery are
increasingly common in the major business and shopping districts in the
capital, with pickpocketing being most common. Visitors should avoid
wearing expensive jewelry or displaying large amounts of money in public.
Although there are few reports of criminal incidents in the vicinity of the
major tourist hotels, night walks outside the immediate vicinity of the
hotels are not recommended. Visitors should avoid the Palm Garden area
('Palmentuin' in Dutch) after dark since there is no police presence, and it
is a common site for illicit activity.
Theft from vehicles is infrequent, but it does occur, especially in areas
near the business district. Drivers are cautioned not to leave packages and
other belongings in plain view in their vehicles. When driving, car windows
should be closed and doors locked. The use of public minibuses is
discouraged, due to widespread unsafe driving and poor maintenance.
While travel to the interior is generally trouble-free, there have been
reports of tourists being robbed. Police presence outside Paramaribo is
minimal, and banditry and lawlessness are on the rise in the cities of
Albina and Moengo, as well as along the East-West Highway between Paramaribo
and Albina. Travelers proceeding to the interior are advised to make use of
well-established tour companies for a safer experience.
The emergency number 115 is used for police, fire and rescue. Fire and
rescue services provide a relatively timely response, but police response,
especially during nighttime hours, is a rarity for all but the most serious
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the
local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens may
refer to the Department of State's pamphlets,
"A Safe Trip Abroad"and "Tips for Travelers to Central and South America,"
for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlets are
available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs
home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care, including emergency medical care, is
limited and does not meet U.S. standards. There is one public emergency
room in Paramaribo, and only a small ambulance fleet to provide emergency
transport. As of November 2001, the emergency room is without a
neurosurgeon, and other medical specialists may not always be available.
Hospital facilities are not air- conditioned, although private rooms with
individual air- conditioning are available at extra cost. Emergency medical
care outside Paramaribo is limited, and is virtually non-existent in the
interior of the country.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to
consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to
confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency
expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom
cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental
coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not
provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However,
many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will
cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services
such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider
that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to
providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may
cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical
care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your
insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to
the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for
expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for
psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of
Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling
Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or
autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Many visitors find the water in Paramaribo to be
potable; but some travelers have reported that the water made them ill.
Sealed bottled water is safe to drink, and it can be purchased in local
hotels, restaurants and grocery stores.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for
international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP
(1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.
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 Suriname is provided
for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a
particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
In Suriname, traffic moves on the left, although left-hand-drive cars are
allowed on the road. Excessive speed, unpredictable driving habits, poorly
maintained roads and a lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are
daily hazards on Surinamese roads. Visitors are encouraged to use
automobiles equipped with seat belts and to avoid the use of motorcycles or
scooters. An international driver's license is necessary for renting a car.
The roads in Paramaribo are usually paved, although upkeep is often a
problem. Large potholes are common on city streets, especially during the
rainy seasons, which last from approximately mid-November to January, and
from April to June (rainy seasons can differ from year to year by as much as
six weeks). Roads are often not marked with traffic lines. In addition,
many main thoroughfares do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians,
motorcycles and bicycle traffic to share the same space.
The East-West Highway, a paved road that stretches from Nieuw Nickerie in
the west to Albina in the east, runs through extensive agriculture areas; it
is not uncommon to encounter slow-moving farm traffic or animals on the
road. Police recommend that travelers check with the police station in
Albina for the latest safety information regarding travel between Paramaribo
Roads in the interior are sporadically maintained dirt roads that pass
through rugged, sparsely populated rain forest. Some roads are passable for
sedans in the dry season. However, these roads deteriorate rapidly in the
rainy season. Interior roads are not lit, nor are there service stations or
emergency call boxes. Bridges in the interior are in various states of
repair. Travelers are advised to consult with local sources, including The
Foundation for Nature Conservation in Suriname, or STINASU, at telephone
(597) 421-683 or 476-579, or with their hotels regarding interior road
conditions before proceeding.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to
foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of
Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For
specific information concerning Suriname driving permits, vehicle
inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Embassy of
Suriname in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate of Suriname in Miami
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has assessed the Government of Suriname's civil aviation authority as
Category 2 -- not in compliance with international aviation safety standards
for the oversight of Suriname's air carrier operations. While consultations
to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, the Suriname air carriers currently
flying to the United States will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance.
No additional flights or new service to the U.S. by Suriname's air carriers
will be permitted unless they arrange to have the flights conducted by an
air carrier from a country meeting international safety standards. Miami
Air International has been contracted by Suriname's national air carrier to
operate the route from Suriname to the United States. For further
information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within
the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet
web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In
addition, the DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from
Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating
from or terminating in the United States. Local exceptions may apply. For
information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may
contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject
to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly
from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available
to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be
more severe than in the U.S. for similar offenses. Persons violating
Surinamese laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Suriname
are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Visitors can exchange currency at banks, hotels and
official exchange houses, which are called "cambios." Exchanging money
outside of these locations is illegal and can be dangerous. Telephone
service within Suriname can be problematic, especially during periods of
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children
and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202)
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or
visiting Suriname are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo to obtain updated information on travel and
security within Suriname. The Embassy is located at Dr. Sophie
Redmondstraat 129, telephone (011)(597) 472-900. The Consular Section hours
of operation for routine American citizen services are Mondays and
Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., or by appointment, except on
American and Surinamese holidays. U.S. citizens requiring emergency
assistance evenings, weekends, and holidays may contact an Embassy duty
officer by pager at (011)(597) 088-08302. The U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo
also provides consular services for
French Guiana. For further information on French Guiana, please refer to
Consular Information Sheet on French Guiana.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated January 5, 2001, to
update sections on
Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime,
Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Other Health Information, Traffic
Safety and Road Conditions, Aviation Oversight, and Registration/Embassy and