is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas, which oversees security for U.S.
interests in Turks & Caicos. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Turks &
Caicos. For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Turks &
Caicos page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact
information, some of which may be available only to private-sector
representatives with an OSAC password.
The current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Turks
& Caicos at Level 2, indicating travelers should exercise increased caution
due to crime. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the
Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime & Safety Situation
There is moderate risk from crime in Turks
& Caicos. Crime represents the
primary security threat in Providenciales,
where most crime occurs. The Government
of Turks & Caicos highlights a 30% drop in overall crime over the past five
years. Murders have more than doubled, albeit from four to ten, in three
years. The small population means this nominal increase has placed Turks &
Caicos among the 20 countries with the highest murder rates, commensurate with
many other Caribbean island nations. (Depending on year, small Caribbean
nations or territories popular with tourists make up half of the top 20.) One U.S.
citizen was among the murder victims in 2018. The Turks & Caicos Government
has placed concern on the increase of firearms-related crimes, which more than
doubled from 2018 to 2019. Two U.S. citizen
victims were the victims of shootings in 2018, receiving serious injuries.
Residential security remains a
major concern. An increase
in burglaries remains a threat facing Turks & Caicos, with local tourism
authorities noting that “between zero and four” hotel room invasions occur each
year. U.S. citizens have fallen victim to armed home invasions while in
hotel rooms and private homes, as well as armed robbery while walking after
dark. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The Inns and
Outs and Considerations for
U.S. citizens are not specific
targets for crime. However, crimes of opportunity (e.g. petty larceny,
burglary, automobile break-ins) as well as incidents of violent crime (e.g. murder,
sexual assault, robbery, shootings) occur occasionally. Do not leave belongings
unsecured outside your residence. Vehicles, bicycles, generators, and other
property will attract criminals. If you cannot store items inside, visibly
secure them with a chain and lock as a deterrent. Review
OSAC’s report, All That You Should
holiday season historically serves as a potential catalyst for an increase in
crime and violence in Turks & Caicos.
Instead of carrying large amounts of cash, use
a debit/credit card for payments when possible. Avoid using
ATMs located in isolated areas; only use machines that have security coverage.
Be particularly aware of your surroundings when making withdrawals. Skimmers create duplicate cards with
stolen information, and then withdraw money from the victim’s account. If you
observe a skimming device on an ATM, take a picture of it (if it is safe to do
so) and contact police immediately. Review OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s
Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.
is a major challenge for computer network operators across the Caribbean. There
is limited technical capacity, outdated legislation, and the absence of
compliance and disclosure polices. There has been an increase in data breaches,
network attacks, and computer viruses in the region. Turks
& Caicos has signaled its intent to bolster its cybersecurity framework; there
is no indication of implementation. Take normal security precautions when using
electronic devices. Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics,
Best Practices for
Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile
Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones:
Critical or Contraband?
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Traffic drives on the
left in Turks & Caicos. Primary roads are in generally good condition,
while secondary roads are often unpaved. Hazards such as blind intersections, construction,
unmarked changes in road conditions, and a lack of familiarity with roundabouts
may cause problems while driving. Due to a rising trend in traffic deaths, Turks
& Caicos Police have enhanced their presence on roadways, specifically
targeting drivers who do not wear seatbelts, those impaired by drugs or
alcohol, careless and dangerous driving, and speeding. Enforcement of traffic laws remains below U.S.
standards. Pedestrians, cyclists, and runners should exercise extreme caution
At a roundabout, drivers
must yield to those on their immediate right, and to those who enter the
roundabout first. Animals often wander on the roads, presenting a hazard to
drivers, especially at night.
Vehicles are available
for rent, and normally are left-side drive. Right-side drive vehicles imported
from the United States may be available, posing a safety challenge for
travelers unfamiliar with driving on the left. You need a
valid driver’s license to drive in Turks & Caicos. A valid U.S.
or International Driving Permit is good for up to a month; after that,
you must obtain a Turks & Caicos license from the Department of Road
Safety. Speed limits are 20 mph in town and on side roads, and 40 mph on the
highway. Despite the low speed limits, traffic accidents are on the rise and are
often fatal. The use of seatbelts is mandatory. Driving under the influence of
alcohol is illegal.
Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad,
Driving Overseas: Best
Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques;
and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
There is no public
transportation, but taxi-buses are readily available. Only use marked taxis and
wear a seatbelt. Car and scooter rentals are available, but renters must have a
valid driver’s license and be at least 21 years of age.
The U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Turks & Caicos Civil
Aviation Authority as compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of TCI’s air carrier operations.
Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is the major airport in
Turks & Caicos, with most flights coming from Nassau in the Bahamas. Passengers
should always maintain awareness of their belongings, use Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, and retrieve checked bags as soon
as possible. Review OSAC’s report, Security In Transit:
Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
There is minimal risk from terrorism in Turks & Caicos. Terrorist groups native to the Western Hemisphere do
not typically operate in the northeastern Caribbean, and there is no indication
of international terrorist interest in the islands. Nevertheless, All travelers
should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. These
could take place in public areas; terrorists tend to target sites expatriates
and foreign travelers frequent.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
There is minimal risk from political violence in Turks &
Caicos, and no prevalent anti-U.S. sentiment.
Turks & Caicos is a low-lying area subject to natural
disasters during the hurricane season that runs from June 1 through November 30.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Turks & Caicos in 2017, resulting in severe
damage; damaged infrastructure has been restored. Although Turks & Caicos
is located at the far eastern end of the string of islands that includes the
Bahamas, it was unaffected by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Hurricane activity
frequently causes flooding along the coastline, often creating potholes and causing
disruption to the infrastructure and essential services. Public services (e.g.
water, electricity, transportation) are likely to be unavailable for a
significant period following a powerful hurricane.
Consider devoting resources and time to
emergency planning for the possibility of inclement weather, particularly
during hurricane season. Pay close attention to the weather forecast during
Many buildings in Turks & Caicos do not have fire alarms or
fire suppression equipment nearby. Fire alarms at tourist hotels are sporadic, with
some evacuation plans in place. For more information on fire safety in hotels, review
OSAC’s report, Fire Safety Abroad.
Counterfeit and illegitimately reproduced goods
are accessible; transactions involving such products may be illegal under Turks
& Caicos law, and bringing such products into the United States may result
in forfeitures/fines. Organized, systematic criminal activity centers on the
illegal importation and smuggling of illicit drugs, weapons, and people
throughout the region. There is no need to exchange money prior to travel to Turks
& Caicos; the country pegs its currency to the U.S. dollar, and merchants
accept U.S. dollars widely.
Personal Identity Concerns
There are no legal
restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI+ events
in Turks & Caicos. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+
There are very few
buildings with special facilities for people with physical challenges and
disabilities. The government does not mandate accessibility of buildings, and
communications and information for persons with disabilities. There are no
special accommodations for persons with disabilities. Review
the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers
The northeast Caribbean has a long history of
being a route for smugglers of narcotics, illegal immigration, and weapons, but
this activity has been trending down in recent years. Turks & Caicos is a
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the U.S. and
including marijuana, are illegal. Arrested individuals can expect to serve
prison time and/or pay a substantial fine.
There is minimal threat from
kidnapping in Turks & Caicos. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
laws provide for specific fishing limits, and the protection of plants and wild
birds. National Park Zones prohibit certain activities harmful to ecology. Find
further information from the Turks and Caicos Government’s Department of Environment & Maritime Affairs.
All other hunting is illegal. Many protected species live in Turks &
Caicos. You may receive severe penalties if you disturb, harass, or otherwise
OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and
Don’ts for Photography.
the State Department’s webpage on customs
and import restrictions for information on what you
cannot take into or out of other countries.
The emergency lines in Turks & Caicos are 911 and 999. In general, police
respond to reports of crime and takes crimes against visitors seriously. The
current police command structure is proactive about deterring crime, but a lack
of resources or physical constraints, such as geography, infrastructure, and
traffic, can hinder response. Unmarked streets and houses can impede first
responders from locating affected residences or victims quickly. To ensure a
faster response, victims may need to go to the local police station. Reporting
crime can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process.
Police harassment of U.S. citizens is rare. Attempting to bribe an
RTCIPF officer is a serious offense; strictly avoid doing so. Do not attempt to
tip police officers for their services.
Report crime to the RTCIPF as soon as possible. Prompt reports to
the police increase the prospect they can identify and arrest the perpetrators.
The police respond rapidly to crime reports from hotels and establishments
The Royal Turks
& Caicos Island Police is
the primary agency that handles all law enforcement matters for Turks &
Caicos (+649-338-5901). RTCIPF officers wear bright white dress coats, light
blue or white short-sleeve shirts, a black patrol cap emblazoned with a red
stripe, and black trousers with a red stripe. Officers also wear a more subdued
navy-blue uniform with solid black pants when responding to crime scenes.
Officers regularly walk foot patrols or ride bicycles in areas tourists
emergency lines in Turks & Caicos are 911 and 999. In
the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available
only in/near major tourism zones. First responders may be unable to access
areas outside of major tourism zones. Two hospital facilities on Providenciales
and Grand Turk are able to handle non-life-threatening medical needs. Find
contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance
services on the U.S. Embassy in Nassau’s Medical Assistance webpage.
Turks & Caicos physicians and hospitals do
not usually accept U.S. medical insurance policies, and typically expect
immediate cash or credit card payment/deposits for professional services. Due to the surgical
limitations of hospitals in Turks & Caicos, emergency care in even the best hospitals frequently requires
medical evacuation (medevac) to the United States. Check in advance with your
insurance company that your health insurance covers the cost of medevac to the
United States, or obtain traveler’s insurance that offers such coverage. Serious health problems requiring
hospitalization/medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands
of dollars. The U.S. Department of State strongly
recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling
internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on insurance overseas.
The repatriation of the remains of those who die in Turks &
Caicos can take weeks because Turks & Caicos does not always have a
pathologist available to perform autopsies. Periodically scheduled nonresident
foreign pathologists often travel to Turks & Caicos to perform this public
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health
guidance for Turks & Caicos.
OSAC Country Council Information
There is no OSAC Country Council in Turks & Caicos. Interested
private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Americas Team with any
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
There is no U.S.
diplomatic representation in Turks & Caicos.
U.S. Embassy Nassau oversees security for U.S.
P.O. Box N-8197, 42
Queen Street, Nassau, The Bahamas
Embassy Operator 1-242-322-1181
Before you travel, consider the following
OSAC Risk Matrix
State Department Traveler’s Checklist
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
Turks & Caicos Country Information