Monthly Archives: March 2014

Seychelles

The Republic of Seychelles consists of 115 islands off the east coast of Africa. The main islands of the archipelago include Mahé, which is the largest, followed by Praslin and La Digue. Seychelles has a stable government and a per capita GDP of US $12,674, one of the highest in the region. Facilities for tourism are well-developed. The total population is approximately 90,000. The capital, Victoria, is located on Mahé. The three official languages spoken in the Seychelles are Creole, English, and French. Seychelles lies within the consular jurisdiction of the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Seychelles for additional information. 

Travelers entering Seychelles must have a passport valid for the duration of stay in Seychelles, onward/return ticket, proof of accommodation, and proof of sufficient funds. A one-month entry visa may be obtained upon arrival and may be extended for a period of up to one year. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers who have passed through an infected area within six days preceding arrival in Seychelles. Infected areas include certain parts of Central and South America and Africa. The U.S. Embassy is unaware of any currency restrictions for entry or exit. Travelers should contact the Permanent Mission of the Seychelles to the United Nations, 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400C, New York, NY 10017; telephone number (212) 972-1785, for the most current entry requirements.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Republic of Seychelles.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations. It is dangerous to swim alone at some beaches due to strong currents. Prior to two years ago, pirate activities were occasionally reported in the waters surrounding the outer islands nearest the east coast of Africa, including the seizure of a private yacht; U.S. citizens should exercise caution when planning ocean activities. Currently, travel by ship to the outer islands including the Amirantes group, Coetivy, Platte, and the outer group of islands requires prior approval from Seychellois authorities. Two fatal shark attacks occurred in the waters off of Praslin Island in 2011. The government is monitoring the waters and, in some locations, installing safety nets around swimming areas.

Stay up to date:

CRIME: Petty crime is a problem, but violent crime against tourists is rare. To reduce the risk of theft, travelers should keep valuables in hotel safes and close and lock hotel windows at night, even while the room is occupied. Hotels that do not have private safes in the rooms will usually have one at the reception desk. Travelers are also advised to take precautions and not leave bags unattended on the beach while swimming or in plain sight in their vehicles. Foreigners should exercise caution on beaches and poorly lit or deserted areas at night, as all Seychellois coastline is public access property.

VICTIMS OF CRIME:  If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:

  • Replace a stolen passport.
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.  

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Seychelles is 999.

Please see our information on Victims of Crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Seychelles, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than those in the United States. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. Criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law for being in possession of such items. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Seychelles, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.  Drug-related crime is a growing problem in the country and a number of visitors, including U.S. citizens, have died after consuming illegal drugs obtained there.

Persons violating Seychellois laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Seychelles are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Arrest notifications in host countryWhile some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Automatic teller machines (ATMs) distribute Seychelles Rupees only. Traveler’s checks and some credit cards are accepted at many restaurants, hotels, and other tourist-related service providers; however, cash may be the only accepted form of payment for some services and establishments. Visitors should be aware that foreign transaction and other fees may apply to credit card purchases. A number of exchange bureaus operate on the main islands and are generally able to provide U.S. Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros in exchange for rupees and vice versa for most transactions. It is advisable to spend or change all Rupees prior to leaving the country, as the Seychellois Rupee is not commonly traded in overseas exchange bureaus. It can be difficult to obtain other forms of foreign currency aside from the U.S. Dollar, British Pound, and Euro while in Seychelles.

For more information on foreign exchange in Seychelles, please visit the Government of Seychelles’ Central Bank website.

The Government of Seychelles prohibits wearing any camouflage apparel in the country unless one is participating in a sanctioned military activity.

If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips on the Women Travelers page on Travel.State.gov.

LGBT RIGHTS:  Consensual sexual relations between men are criminalized in Seychelles. The penalty is up to fourteen years of imprisonment. Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any arrests or prosecutions for such activities, they remain illegal. Hotels and restaurants do not discriminate against LGBT travelers. However, travelers should consider exercising caution, especially with regard to expressing affection in public. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Seychelles, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.

ACCESSIBILITY: While in Seychelles, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States.

The constitution and law provide for the right of persons with disabilities to special protection, including reasonable provisions for improving quality of life; however, there are no laws mandating access to public buildings, transportation, or state services, and the government does not provide such access for persons with disabilities.

The 24-hour emergency number for all medical emergencies is 999. Medical facilities in Seychelles are limited, especially on the isolated islands where doctors are often unavailable.  There is one government-owned hospital and several clinics, private and government-run. The Seychellois Ministry of Health operates an ambulance service on the islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue which can be reached by dialing 999. Waiting times can vary considerably based on location. For more information, contact the Ministry of Health at P.O. Box 52, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles; telephone (248) 388-000. It is recommended that travelers bring and use insect/mosquito repellent while in Seychelles and use it at night on all exposed areas. Outbreaks of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus and yellow fever virus have been reported in recent years, as well as Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted to humans and animals by exposure to water contaminated by infected animals. For more information on these diseases and current outbreaks, please see the CDC’s fact sheets on chikungunya, leptospirosis, and yellow fever.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

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Seychelles

The Republic of Seychelles consists of 115 islands off the east coast of Africa. The main islands of the archipelago include Mahé, which is the largest, followed by Praslin and La Digue. Seychelles has a stable government and a per capita GDP of US $12,674, one of the highest in the region. Facilities for tourism are well-developed. The total population is approximately 90,000. The capital, Victoria, is located on Mahé. The three official languages spoken in the Seychelles are Creole, English, and French. Seychelles lies within the consular jurisdiction of the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Seychelles for additional information. 

Travelers entering Seychelles must have a passport valid for the duration of stay in Seychelles, onward/return ticket, proof of accommodation, and proof of sufficient funds. A one-month entry visa may be obtained upon arrival and may be extended for a period of up to one year. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers who have passed through an infected area within six days preceding arrival in Seychelles. Infected areas include certain parts of Central and South America and Africa. The U.S. Embassy is unaware of any currency restrictions for entry or exit. Travelers should contact the Permanent Mission of the Seychelles to the United Nations, 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400C, New York, NY 10017; telephone number (212) 972-1785, for the most current entry requirements.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Republic of Seychelles.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations. It is dangerous to swim alone at some beaches due to strong currents. Prior to two years ago, pirate activities were occasionally reported in the waters surrounding the outer islands nearest the east coast of Africa, including the seizure of a private yacht; U.S. citizens should exercise caution when planning ocean activities. Currently, travel by ship to the outer islands including the Amirantes group, Coetivy, Platte, and the outer group of islands requires prior approval from Seychellois authorities. Two fatal shark attacks occurred in the waters off of Praslin Island in 2011. The government is monitoring the waters and, in some locations, installing safety nets around swimming areas.

Stay up to date:

CRIME: Petty crime is a problem, but violent crime against tourists is rare. To reduce the risk of theft, travelers should keep valuables in hotel safes and close and lock hotel windows at night, even while the room is occupied. Hotels that do not have private safes in the rooms will usually have one at the reception desk. Travelers are also advised to take precautions and not leave bags unattended on the beach while swimming or in plain sight in their vehicles. Foreigners should exercise caution on beaches and poorly lit or deserted areas at night, as all Seychellois coastline is public access property.

VICTIMS OF CRIME:  If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:

  • Replace a stolen passport.
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.  

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Seychelles is 999.

Please see our information on Victims of Crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Seychelles, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than those in the United States. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. Criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law for being in possession of such items. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Seychelles, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.  Drug-related crime is a growing problem in the country and a number of visitors, including U.S. citizens, have died after consuming illegal drugs obtained there.

Persons violating Seychellois laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Seychelles are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Arrest notifications in host countryWhile some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Automatic teller machines (ATMs) distribute Seychelles Rupees only. Traveler’s checks and some credit cards are accepted at many restaurants, hotels, and other tourist-related service providers; however, cash may be the only accepted form of payment for some services and establishments. Visitors should be aware that foreign transaction and other fees may apply to credit card purchases. A number of exchange bureaus operate on the main islands and are generally able to provide U.S. Dollars, British Pounds, and Euros in exchange for rupees and vice versa for most transactions. It is advisable to spend or change all Rupees prior to leaving the country, as the Seychellois Rupee is not commonly traded in overseas exchange bureaus. It can be difficult to obtain other forms of foreign currency aside from the U.S. Dollar, British Pound, and Euro while in Seychelles.

For more information on foreign exchange in Seychelles, please visit the Government of Seychelles’ Central Bank website.

The Government of Seychelles prohibits wearing any camouflage apparel in the country unless one is participating in a sanctioned military activity.

If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips on the Women Travelers page on Travel.State.gov.

LGBT RIGHTS:  Consensual sexual relations between men are criminalized in Seychelles. The penalty is up to fourteen years of imprisonment. Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any arrests or prosecutions for such activities, they remain illegal. Hotels and restaurants do not discriminate against LGBT travelers. However, travelers should consider exercising caution, especially with regard to expressing affection in public. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Seychelles, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.

ACCESSIBILITY: While in Seychelles, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States.

The constitution and law provide for the right of persons with disabilities to special protection, including reasonable provisions for improving quality of life; however, there are no laws mandating access to public buildings, transportation, or state services, and the government does not provide such access for persons with disabilities.

The 24-hour emergency number for all medical emergencies is 999. Medical facilities in Seychelles are limited, especially on the isolated islands where doctors are often unavailable.  There is one government-owned hospital and several clinics, private and government-run. The Seychellois Ministry of Health operates an ambulance service on the islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue which can be reached by dialing 999. Waiting times can vary considerably based on location. For more information, contact the Ministry of Health at P.O. Box 52, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles; telephone (248) 388-000. It is recommended that travelers bring and use insect/mosquito repellent while in Seychelles and use it at night on all exposed areas. Outbreaks of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus and yellow fever virus have been reported in recent years, as well as Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted to humans and animals by exposure to water contaminated by infected animals. For more information on these diseases and current outbreaks, please see the CDC’s fact sheets on chikungunya, leptospirosis, and yellow fever.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Continue reading

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