French Guiana Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our French Guiana Traveler Information guide.
At AARDY we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following French Guiana Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to French Guiana.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Three months.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: Must have at least one blank page for stamps.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for stays under 90 days.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: 10,000 euros max.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: 10,000 euros max.
Embassies and Consulates
French Guiana is an overseas department of France. See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on France for information on U.S. - France relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Visit the Embassy of France website or the French government’s official visa information page for the most current visa information. Note that French Guiana is an overseas department of France but is not a part of the Schengen zone.
You may enter French Guiana for up to 90 days for tourist and business purposes without a visa.
Immigration officers may request evidence of travel or health insurance upon entry to French Guiana.
HIV/AID Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to French Guiana.
Safety and Security
French Guiana is an overseas department of France. Demonstrations and strikes impacting transportation, including airports and roads, may occur. Reconfirm any domestic and/or international flight reservations if you are traveling during one of these events.
When traveling or living in French Guiana, you should:
- Be aware of your local security situation and take appropriate steps to keep yourself safe.
- Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
- Address specific safety concerns to French law enforcement authorities who have responsibility for the safety and security of all residents and visitors.
In French Guiana, the Police Nationale have authority to respond to crimes in the area around Cayenne. Outside of Cayenne, the Gendarmerie is responsible for law enforcement.
Crime: Petty street crime occurs throughout the major cities. Violent crime occurs, but is rare.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
- Don’t display large amounts of money in public.
- Avoid isolated areas, including the beach, after dark.
- Drive with your windows closed and doors locked.
- Avoid placing valuables in plain sight.
If you plan to travel into the interior, use a well-established tour company.
Demonstrations: U.S. citizens should be aware that demonstrations and large events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. Avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gathering.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112. Operators may not speak English. You should also contact the U.S. Embassy in Suriname, which provides consular services for U.S. citizens in French Guiana, at (+597) 556-700 during business hours or (+597) 710-1112 during evenings and weekends.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide information on victim’s assistance programs in France
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities outside of major cities may not consistently occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in Suriname immediately. See our webpage for further information.
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in French Guiana are severe.
- Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
In French Guiana, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could land you immediately in jail.Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information:
Customs regulations: French authorities enforce strict regulations concerning firearms, artifacts, medications, business equipment, and sales samples. Contact the Embassy of France for information.
French Foreign Legion: U.S. citizens interested in joining the French Foreign Legion (FFL) should be aware that the cognitive and physical tests for acceptance are extremely challenging.
- Ensure you have access to sufficient funds to return home should your candidature be refused.
- Successful candidates report that the FFL provides a new identity and retains their U.S. passport during a long probation period. Lack of access to your passport can complicate routine or emergency travel.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in French Guiana. See our LGBTI travel information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: In French Guiana’s main cities there are some access ramps and parking spaces for travelers who require accessibility assistance, but many sidewalks are narrow and uneven. Outside the main cities, there are few facilities and limited infrastructure to support accessibility for the disabled.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical care within French Guiana is limited. Hospital facilities are available only in urban areas.
- Only one hospital, the Centre Hospitalier Andrée Rosemon in Cayenne, has intensive care and trauma units. The Centre Hospitalier de l’Ouest Guyanais in St. Laurent provides more limited hospital services in the western part of French Guiana.
- Not all medical facilities in French Guiana are air conditioned.
- You can find prescription and over-the-counter medicines in pharmacies in larger cities, but U.S. brands may not be available.
The U.S. government does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent in French Guiana:
In recent years, outbreaks of these diseases have also been detected in French Guiana:
Vaccinations: Proof of vaccination for yellow fever, or written proof from a doctor that yellow fever vaccination is not medically recommended, is required to enter French Guiana. Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State page for information on air quality at U.S. embassies and consulates.
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Primary roads are paved and well maintained. Roads in rural areas are less developed.
- Avoid driving at night due to unlit roads and vehicles, as well as stray livestock, especially in the remote interior regions or on less-developed rural roads.
- Regular service stations are not common outside of major cities.
Traffic Laws: You need a valid driver’s license and an International Driving Permit in order to drive in French Guiana. Follow generally accepted driving rules regarding seatbelts and mobile phone use. Be aware that traffic policing may be limited outside major cities, so be vigilant for other drivers’ behavior. French Guiana has strict laws regarding driving under the influence and authorities consider 0.05% blood alcohol concentration to be the limit.
Public Transportation: Taxis and vans are relatively safe.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of France’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of France’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to French Guiana should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Homeport website and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.