COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Curaçao is a semi-autonomous part of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands. The economy is well-developed and tourist
facilities are widely available. Tourism and the financial services
sector have been the mainstays of the Curaçao economy since the 1970s.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION:
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Curaçao are encouraged to
sign up for the
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program in order to obtain updated
information on local travel and security. U.S. citizens without Internet
access may sign up directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Enrolling is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S.
citizens in an emergency.
information is available below and at the
Department of State’s list of embassies
United States Consulate
J.B. Gorsiraweg 1, Willemstad, Curaçao
Telephone: (599-9) 461-3066
Emergency after-hours telephone: (599-9) 510-6870
Facsimile: (599-9) 461-6489
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS: All U.S.
citizens must have a valid U.S. passport for all air travel, including
to and from Curaçao. All sea travelers must also now have a passport or
passport card. We strongly encourage all American citizen travelers to
apply for a U.S. passport or passport card well in advance of
anticipated travel. American citizens can visit travel.state.gov or call
1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for
their passports. Visitors to Curaçao may be asked to show onward/return
tickets, proof of sufficient funds and proof of lodging accommodations
for their stay. Length of stay for U.S. citizens is granted for thirty
days and may be extended to 180 days by the office of immigration. For
further information, travelers may contact the Royal Netherlands
Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202)
244-5300, or the Dutch Consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York,
Houston or Miami. Visit the web site for the
Embassy of the Netherlands
and the island of
Curaçao website for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any
HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of
dual nationality or the prevention of
international child abduction can be found on our web site. For
further information about customs regulations, please read our
Customs Information sheet.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: There are no known terrorist or extremist
groups, areas of instability or organized crime on Curaçao, although
drug trafficking rings do operate on the island.
Stay up to date by
bookmarking our Bureau of Consular
Affairs website, which contains the current
Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the
Worldwide Caution. Follow us on
Twitter and the Bureau of
Consular Affairs page on
Facebook as well.
You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within
the United States and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line,
1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from
8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S.
Take some time before
travel to improve your personal security—things are not the same
everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips
traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: The crime threat in Curaçao is generally considered low
although travelers should always take normal precautions when in
unfamiliar surroundings. Drug smuggling and trafficking in persons
continue to be issues in Curaçao. Drug smuggling, in particular, has
been significantly reduced through intensive cooperation among U.S.,
Dutch, Curaçao and international law enforcement authorities. Valuables
left unattended on beaches, in cars and in hotel lobbies are easy
targets for theft. Car theft, especially of rental vehicles for joy
riding and stripping, can occur. Vehicle leases or rentals may not be
fully covered by local insurance when a vehicle is stolen or damaged. Be
sure you are sufficiently insured when renting vehicles, jet skis, and
Parents of young travelers should be aware that
the legal drinking age of 18 is not always rigorously enforced in
Curaçao, so extra parental supervision may be appropriate. Young
travelers in particular are urged to take the same precautions they
would when going out in the United States, e.g. to travel in pairs or in
groups if they choose to frequent Curaçao’s nightclubs and bars, and if
they opt to consume alcohol, to do so responsibly. Anyone who is a
victim of a crime should make a report to Curaçao police as well as
report it immediately to the nearest U.S. consular office. Do not rely
on hotel/restaurant/tour company management to make the report for you.
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.
INFORMATION FOR 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 (see the
Department of State’s list of embassies
and consulates). If your passport is stolen we can help you replace
it. For violent crimes such as assault and rape, we can help you find
appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and help
them send you money if you need it. Although the investigation and
prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local
authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local
criminal justice process and to find an attorney if you need.
The emergency line in Curaçao is 911.
Please see our
information on victims of crime, including possible victim
compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are
traveling in Curacao, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S.
citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our
own. 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. These 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 if you buy pirated
goods. 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
Curacao, 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
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Dutch law in
principle does not permit dual nationality. However, there are several
exceptions to the rule. For example, American citizens who are married
to Dutch citizens are exempt from the requirement to abandon their
American nationality when they apply to become a Dutch citizen by
naturalization. For detailed information, contact the Embassy of the
Netherlands in Washington, DC, or one of the Dutch consulates in the
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care is good
in Curaçao. There is one general hospital, St. Elisabeth Hospital, whose
medical standards can be compared with to a small hospital in the U.S.
St. Elizabeth's hospital has a decompression chamber and qualified staff
to assist scuba divers suffering from decompression sickness. The
hospital has three classes of services and patients are accommodated
according to the level of their insurance: First Class: one patient to a
room, air conditioning, etc.; Second Class: two to six patients to a
room; Third Class: 15 to 30 people in one hall. Several private clinics
such as Dr. Taams Clinic and Advent Clinic, provide good to excellent
medical service. The many drug stores or “boticas” provide prescription
and over the counter medicine. Emergency services are usually quick to
respond. There have been cases of dengue fever in recent months.
You can find good
information on vaccinations and other health precautions, on the
CDC website. For
information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the
Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional
health information for travelers, including
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with
you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave
whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need
to ask your insurance company two questions:
- Does my policy apply when I’m out of the
- Will it cover emergencies like
a trip to a foreign hospital or a medical evacuation?
In many places, doctors
and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your
regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits
in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel,
it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more
information, please see our
medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Curaçao,
U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly
from those in the United States. Driving in Curaçao is on the right-hand
side of the road. Local laws require drivers and passengers to wear seat
belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children under 5 years of age
should be in a child safety seat; older children should ride in the back
seat. Right turns on red are prohibited in Curaçao.
Curaçao's main roads are fairly well lit and most
hotels and tourist attractions can be easily located. Nonexistent or
hidden and poorly maintained street signs are the major road hazard in
Curaçao. Therefore, drivers should proceed through intersections with
caution. Roads in Curaçao are extremely slippery during rainfall. Night
driving is reasonably safe as long as drivers are familiar with the
route and road conditions. There are speed limits in Curaçao and driving
while intoxicated may result in the loss of a driver’s license and/or a
fine. However, these are not consistently enforced. Drivers should be
alert at all times for speeding cars, which have caused fatal accidents.
In the rural areas of the island, drivers should be alert for herds of
goats that may cross the roads unexpectedly. Minibuses are inexpensive
and run non-stop during the daytime with no fixed schedule. Each minibus
has a specific route displayed in the front windshield. Buses, which run
on the hour, have limited routes. Taxis, while relatively expensive, are
safe and well regulated. As there are no meters, passengers should
verify the price before entering the taxi.
The emergency service telephone number is 911.
Police and ambulances tend to respond quickly to emergency situations.
Please refer to our
Road Safety page for more information. Travelers may also wish to
visit Curaçao’s tourist office website
for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: Prior to October 10, 2010,
Curaçao was a part of the Netherlands Antilles. On that date, Curaçao
acquired a new independent status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assessed the government
of the Netherlands Antilles as being in compliance with International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for
oversight of Netherlands Antilles air carrier operations. However, under
its new status, Curaçao has not been assessed by the FAA for compliance
with ICAO aviation standards.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: Please see our Office of Children’s Issues
web pages on intercountry adoption
international parental child abduction.
* * *
This replaces the Country Specific Information for
the Netherlands Antilles dated November 16, 2009, to reflect Curaçao's
newly autonomous status.
JEWISH AND KOSHER CURACAO: