About the United States
The United States, officially the United States of America, is a sovereign country located in North America, which is constituted of fifty states. Each state has a local legislature which is independent of, and separate to, the U.S. Congress. Laws can therefore vary across the United States.
Population: 333 million
Currency: US dollar (USD)
Religion: Christanity (63%)
Government: Federal presidential constitutional republic
Political Rights and Civil Liberties: 76/100 (Free country)
Head of State: Joe Biden
Head of Government: Joe Biden
U.S. States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
U.S. Territories: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam and Virgin Islands of the United States.
Associated States: Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau.
Information for Barbadians
This information pertains to the United States only. The entry requirements for the U.S. territories and associated states may be different and are not covered by this article.
If you have only a Barbadian passport
Barbadians need a B-2 visitor visa to enter the United States for tourism purposes, or to visit friends / family. To be considered for this visa, you are required to have an interview with the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown (a non-refundable application fee of USD $185 applies).
During the interview, you are required to prove that you intend to visit the United States for a legitimate purpose and that you will depart the United States after your trip. You may be able to satisfy this requirement by providing evidence of your employment and/or ongoing commitments in Barbados. You may also be asked to prove that you have the means to pay for all the costs of your proposed visit to the United States. If your application for a B-2 visa is approved, it is usually valid for multiple visits.
Persons with a B-2 visa can usually stay in the United States as a visitor for up to six months, but this is at the discretion of the U.S. border authorities. Having a B-2 visa does not mean that you are guaranteed entry into the United States. You will still be assessed by an officer of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on arrival to determine your suitability for admission.
To apply for a B-2 visa, you must first complete Form DS-160 via the Consular Electronic Application Center. Afterwards, schedule an interview with the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown via the U.S. Visa Service. Please note the service for scheduling intervews is operated by a third party company, General Dynamics Information Technology, on behalf of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown.
If you have a British or Canadian passport
Barbadians who are also British or Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a B-2 visa if they enter the United States using their British or Canadian passport, but they must apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver at least 72 hours prior to travel. Persons who are eligible to enter the United States under the ESTA visa waiver programme can stay in the country for up to 90 days.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if you have visited the Republic of Cuba on or after January 12, 2021, you will not be eligible to enter the United States under the ESTA visa waiver programme and must apply for a B-2 visa.
If you are a British-Barbadian dual national, follow the advice of the British government if you will be entering the United States using your British passport.
If you are a Canadian-Barbadian dual national, follow the advice of the Canadian government if you will be entering the United States using your Canadian passport.
Local laws and customs
There is zero tolerance to the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs in the United States. Persons convicted of drugs-related offences can expect long prison sentences and heavy fines.
Be mindful how you respond to closed questions. Avoid responding with "no, please" in all situations as this phrase sounds unusual to Americans and may cause confusion. If you are asked a question in which you are being offered something, you should respond with "yes, please" or "no, thank you". For all other yes/no questions, you should simply respond with "yes" or "no" and avoid using the verb "please" as this will confuse an American or cause a misunderstanding.
Avoid saying "good night" as a greeting as this will cause a misunderstanding. In the United States, the expression "good night" is only ever used when departing. To greet someone in the late evening, even if the time is one minute before midnight, it is customary to say "good evening". If it's after 12 PM but before 5 PM, you should say "good afternoon".
If you are arrested or detained in the United States
In most cases, the Consular Section of the Embassy of Barbados in Washington will be automatically notified of your arrest due to a Mandatory Notification agreement between the United States and Barbados.
If you are not sure whether the Barbados government has been notified of your arrest, you have the right to ask the police to notify the Consular Section of the Embassy of Barbados in Washington and they must comply with your request without delay.
Any person charged with a criminal offence has the right to receive a timely, fair and public hearing by an independent, impartial court and to be tried by jury. You have the right to be present at your trial and to consult with an attorney at law of your choice. You cannot be compelled to testify or confess guilt. These rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
You may be entitled to free legal aid if you are charged with a criminal offence and do not have the means to pay for your defence. To apply for legal aid, you should submit a request for a 'public defender' when you first appear in court.
Frequently asked questions
No, the ESTA visa waiver programme is only relevant to visitors who wish to enter the United States without a visa. However, the visa waiver programme is not open to Barbadian passport holders. Therefore, a B-2 visa is required to enter the United States for tourism purposes, or to see friends / family.
Yes, if you are travelling overseas you should also take your Barbadian passport with you, as you will need it to re-enter Barbados without being subject to immigration control.