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Haiti travel guide

About Haiti

Haiti is a country guaranteed to shock and awe. Tragedy-scarred but tenacious, this small Caribbean nation has great beauty and great need. Boasting verdant mountains, white sandy beaches and plenty of African spontaneity, Haiti might be financially poor, but it is rich in natural beauty, culturally affluent.

Sharing the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, Haiti has all the hallmarks of a classic Caribbean destination. And so it was, in the 1960s and 70s, when the wealthy flocked here to relax in the tropical climate, tread upon powdery beaches and explore vertiginous mountain ranges.

However, decades of political instability and a series of natural disasters devastated Haiti’s tourist industry, and saw the country go from the travel sections of newspapers straight to the front pages.

But, slowly, holidaymakers are returning. Led by the luxury end of the market, new hotels are opening all the time in Port au Prince, which is a sign of how the tide is finally turning. As well as new hotels, numerous tourism development projects are also underway.

Haiti’s unique selling proposition as a Caribbean destination is its history and culture. It has a vibrant arts scene, irresistible fusion cuisine and many talented musicians, who pack out bars and clubs with their unique brand of African, European and Caribbean beats.

However, travelling around Haiti is not always easy. The country’s infrastructure has not recovered from decades of instability and the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Political uncertainty endures, too; the United Nations’ Stabilization Force for Haiti – known by its French acronym MINUSTAH – is still here ten years after it was sent in to restore political order.

In the short term, then, the best option for those travelling to Haiti is to use the services of a known tour operator. This might not feel particularly adventurous, but it will take the hassle out of visiting a nation that is still finding its feet after years in the wilderness.

Key facts

Area:

27,750 sq km (10,714 sq miles).

Population:

10,848,175 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

360.2 per sq km.

Capital:

Port-au-Prince.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

Transitional Presidential Council since April 2024.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Garry Conille since 2024.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

FCDO advises against all travel to Haiti  

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

FCDO advises against all travel to Haiti due to the volatile security situation. There are currently no British consular officials in Haiti and our ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited and cannot be delivered in person in Haiti.

British nationals may get consular services assistance at our diplomatic mission in the Dominican Republic.    

If you choose to travel to or stay in Haiti against FCDO advice, try to avoid all crowds and public events, and take appropriate security precautions.

Hurricane Beryl

A major hurricane impacted the Caribbean from 1 July, causing disruption to some services. Airports have reopened and are operating as usual. You should follow and monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. See Extreme weather and natural disasters.

State of Emergency

There is a State of Emergency in Port-au-Prince until 8 June, which can include a curfew between 10pm-5am.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications  when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Haiti set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Haitian Embassy in the UK

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Haiti.    

Travel to Haiti

You must fill in a health declaration form on your flight and give it to immigration authorities when you arrive. The form will include your contact and location information while in Haiti.

Entry requirements may change at short notice. For more information check with your airline.

Passport validity requirements

Your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You do not need a visa to visit Haiti for up to 90 days. 

To stay longer (or to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons), you must meet the Haitian government’s entry requirements.

Applying for a visa

For more information about how to apply for a visa, call the Haitian Embassy in London: 0203 771 1427.

Entry tax

Tourists must pay an entry fee of 10 US dollars in cash on arrival.

Departure tax

Tourists must pay a departure tax of 55 US dollars. For most international flights, this is included in the price of the ticket. Check this with your airline or tour operator before you travel. If the departure tax is not included in your air fare, make sure you have enough US dollars or local currency on departure. 

Vaccination requirements

You must have a certificate to prove you’ve had:  

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Haiti guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Haiti. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Haiti

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Haiti, attacks cannot be ruled out.

Haiti-Dominican Republic border closure

The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is closed. However, the Dominican government announced the reopening of air travel between Haiti and the Dominican Republic on 30 October. The status of the border remains subject to change at short notice. Monitor local media for updates.

Political situation

There are sometimes violent demonstrations, protests and roadblocks. Stay away from political rallies and crowds. Public transport is often disrupted because of blocked roads and security incidents, which can lead to fuel and food shortages.

Crime

If you choose to travel to or stay in Haiti against FCDO advice, check local media and make sure you have contingency plans in place. Be vigilant at all times, tell family and friends about your travel plans and carefully consider your movements in advance, taking the safest routes available.

The security situation is unpredictable and crime levels are high. There is usually an increase in crime leading up to the:

  • holiday season in December
  • Carnival (in February or March)
  • beginning of the school year (late August/early September)

Criminal and gang activity

Theft, including armed robbery, purse snatching and pickpocketing, is common in Haiti. Criminal and gang activity is especially common in:

  • Bel Air
  • Carrefour
  • Cité Soleil
  • downtown Port-au-Prince
  • Martissant
  • Petion-Ville

People using cash machines have been targeted by criminals. Gangs, often on motorbikes, target people making withdrawals or leaving banks, particularly those travelling on foot. Take care when withdrawing money at public ATMs and use supermarkets or hotels with security guards.  

Armed robbery is common. Victims are often attacked in the daytime by armed thieves on motorcycles. Some attacks have resulted in fatalities. Single women drivers in traffic have been targeted.

Criminal kidnaps

There is a high threat of criminal kidnaps in Haiti. Incidents of criminal kidnap can occur in any part of the country, at any time.

Criminal groups often use firearms and extreme violence to kidnap victims. Kidnappers regularly target vehicles, using other vehicles or improvised barriers to stop traffic and snatch individuals at gunpoint. Public and mass transit services are targeted in addition to private vehicles. These can be both opportunistic or targeted towards specific individuals.  

There is a high threat particularly throughout the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince and across major road routes entering/leaving the city.

Criminal groups may target whole communities or individuals, including children. Missionary and humanitarian aid workers are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to protect you or secure your safe release.

Most victims have been released after the payment of a ransom. In some exceptional cases, however, victims have disappeared or been killed.

Be alert to the threat of kidnap and pay attention to local government announcements and media reporting. Be vigilant across the country, remaining alert to small groups, especially near where you’re staying.

Keep doors and windows secure at all times and be wary of inviting anyone into your residence who you do not know or were not expecting. Security guards are recommended at residential properties.

Haiti-Dominican Republic border

The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is closed, however the Dominican government announced the reopening of air travel between Haiti and the Dominican Republic on 30 October. The status of the border remains subject to change at short notice. Monitor local media for updates.

Laws and cultural differences

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy legal proceedings, jail sentences and fines.

Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry items through customs for anyone else.

If you’re caught in possession of drugs or suspected of drug trafficking, you may be arrested and jailed for weeks or months before appearing in court. Prison conditions in Haiti are very poor.

Personal ID

You should always carry proof of your identity. Keep a copy of the photo page of your passport and visa stamp separately in a safe place.

LGBT+

Local attitudes towards the LGBT+ community are mostly conservative throughout the Caribbean. In Haiti, same-sex sexual activity is legal. However, the attitude of many Haitians to the LGBT+ community is hostile.

LGBT+ travellers should be mindful of local attitudes and be aware that showing affection in public could result in unwanted and negative attention.

It is uncommon for opposite or same-sex couples to show affection in public.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Road travel

Road travel is highly dangerous. Armed carjacking is common and criminal groups often use improvised road blocks to extort or kidnap motorists.

If you are planning to drive a hire car or a UK vehicle, see information on driving abroad.

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Haiti for up to 90 days. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP).

After 90 days you’ll need an IDP.  

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Basic services such as transport and communications are likely to be severely disrupted if a major disaster happens.

Flash floods and landslides happen regularly.

Hurricanes

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to November. During this period, tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes. Monitor local and international weather updates from the National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

See extreme weather and natural hazards for information about how to prepare, and what to do if there is a warning of a hurricane.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are a risk in Haiti. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

There is a risk of tsunamis if a major earthquake happens close to shore, follow the instructions of the local authorities.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 116 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Haiti. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro

Medication

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Medicines sold in Haiti may be poor quality and pharmacies may sell expired medicines. Some medicines may not be available to buy in Haiti. You should bring enough essential medicines, especially for specific medical conditions like diabetes.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Haiti

Medical services are extremely limited, easily overwhelmed and offer a poor standard of care.

Emergency response is not guaranteed as there are not enough ambulances and they may not have basic medical supplies. Many people rely on private healthcare and ambulance services. Check with your travel insurance provider if these services are covered.

If you have a life-threatening emergency you may need to pay for evacuation by air ambulance, which can be very expensive.

Doctors and hospitals generally expect immediate cash payment for care even if you have a proof of a valid travel health insurance. You will have to pay the full amount for your treatment before leaving the hospital.

FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Haiti.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Haiti

Due to the security situation in Haiti, emergency services may be unable to respond or face long delays in reaching you. 

Ambulance: 116

Fire: 115

Police: 122    

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Haiti and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Santo Domingo.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

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