COUNTRY DESCRIPTION ^
Dominica is an English-speaking developing Caribbean island nation. The tourism industry in the early stages of development; first-class tourist facilities are limited, but medium-range facilities are widely available.
Petty street crime occurs in Dominica. Valuables left unattended, especially on beaches, are vulnerable to theft.
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 United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Dominica laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Dominica are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ^
Medical care is limited. There are four hospitals in Dominica, only one of which performs general surgery, and several clinics. There is no hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must be evacuated from the island. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS ^
Like all Caribbean countries, Dominica can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from 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) at
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 Dominica is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: None
Vehicles are driven on the left in Dominica. Seatbelt laws are not strictly enforced. Roads are narrow with steep inclines throughout the island. There are few guardrails in areas that have precipitous drop-offs from the road. Road signs are limited outside of the major towns. Drivers should be alert for minibus (taxi) drivers, who often make sudden stops or pull out into traffic without warning or signaling.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
For specific information concerning Dominica driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Dominica national tourist organization offices in New York via telephone number (212) 949-1711, fax number (212)949-1714, or e-mail
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT ^
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Dominica's civil aviation authority as Category 2 �- not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for the oversight of Dominica 's air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, the Dominica air carriers currently flying to the U.S. will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance. No additional flights or new service to the U.S. by Dominica '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.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, 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 U.S. Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
Please also refer to the separate Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
March 4, 2004