Foreign travel advice

Barbados

Summary

UK health authorities have classified Barbados as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. You should monitor updates from the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the instructions of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

Most visits to Barbados are trouble free, but there have been incidents of crime including armed robbery and sexual assault.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Barbados, attacks can’t be ruled out.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

The UK-Barbados reciprocal healthcare agreement has terminated with effect from 1 October 2016.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Safety and security

Crime

Most visits are trouble-free, but there have been incidents of violent crime including armed robbery and sexual assaults.

Barbados’ annual Crop Over festival takes place in July and August. During the festival there will be large gatherings of people at events across the island.

You should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your accommodation is secure. This also applies if you are staying on a yacht. Be vigilant at all times. Incidents of petty theft and street crime do occur. Take care when walking alone off the busy main roads and when withdrawing money from ATMs. Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, particularly after dark.

Only use licensed taxis and take particular care at late night street parties, especially during the festival season.

Don’t carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. If possible, leave valuables and travel documents in a safety deposit box or hotel safe. You should check that the hotel safe is securely fixed before using it to store your items.

The local police have advised residents and visitors against wearing visible gold jewellery due to a spate of robberies particularly in Bridgetown and other popular tourist areas.

Road travel

Driving is on the left. To drive on the island you must get a local temporary driving licence. The car hire companies will usually help with this. You must present a valid UK driving licence.

Take care when driving on the roads as there can be potholes and speed bumps.
Observe the speed limits. You should take extra care on minor roads and in rural areas where there are narrow roads and blind corners. Pedestrians often walk on the roads and indicators are not always used.

Take extra care when driving at night as some roads are unlit. Road signs and hazards may not be easily visible.

Don’t stop if you’re flagged down by pedestrians. Keep car doors locked when driving. Don’t place personal belongings and valuables where they can be easily reached and consider putting everything in the boot of the car or on the floor of the back seat.

In the event of an accident, call the police and don’t move the vehicle.

Taxis aren’t metered. Standard taxi fares exist for most destinations. Agree the fare in local currency with the driver before you set off. You can often pay in US dollars as well as Barbados dollars.

Public transport is available and cheaper. Minibus drivers might drive above the speed limit.

Air travel

You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

The FCO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes lists of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices – IATA Operational Safety Audit and IATA Standard Safety Assessment. These lists aren’t exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Barbados.

Mustique Airways, which operates flights between Barbados, Grenada, Martinique, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, has been placed on the EU Air Safety List by the European Commission due to safety deficiencies. You can find the full EU Air Safety List on the European Commission website. Refusal of permission to operate is often based on inspections of aircraft at EU airports. The fact that an airline isn’t included in the list doesn’t automatically mean that it meets the applicable safety standards.

Swimming

Take great care at all times when swimming. Currents can be deceptively strong, including on some of the popular beaches on the south and west coasts. Some beaches don’t have lifeguards and/or warning flags and drownings have occurred.

Swimming isn’t recommended on many of the east coast beaches where currents are particularly strong. You should monitor all beaches carefully and obey any local warnings.

Terrorism

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Barbados, attacks can’t be ruled out.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Local laws and customs

There are severe penalties for all drug offences. Pack all luggage yourself and don’t carry anything through customs for anyone else.

It’s an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.

Certain homosexual acts are illegal under the laws of Barbados.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

British passport holders don’t need a visa to visit Barbados.

On entry, you will normally be granted a specified period to stay. If you wish to stay longer, you must apply and pay for an extension of stay through the Barbados Immigration Department.

It’s an offence to overstay the entry period or to work without a work permit.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Barbados.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

The UK-Barbados reciprocal healthcare agreement has terminated with effect from 1 October 2016. For more information see the NHS Choices website. Medical treatment in Barbados can be expensive. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.

UK health authorities have classified Barbados as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Dengue fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year.

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Barbados. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

The main government hospital can cope with many types of treatment but serious cases may mean emergency evacuation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 511 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. Before choosing to be treated at a private facility, you should check their policies on pre-payment. Private clinics may not accept medical travel insurance as payment for treatment.

Natural disasters

Hurricanes

The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the advice of the local authorities.

See our Tropical Cyclones page for advice about what to do if you’re caught up in a storm.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are a potential threat and tremors are felt occasionally in the Caribbean, In the event of an earthquake, you should follow the advice of the local authorities. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Volcanoes

You should monitor the alert level of the underwater volcano ‘Kick’em Jenny’, located 5 miles off the coast of Grenada, which showed an increased level of activity in April 2017. Observe any maritime exclusion zones and follow the advice of the local authorities in the event of an eruption.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send us a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.