Trinidad and Tobago - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel & Etiquette

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.

Last published date: 2021-09-25

Business Customs:

English is the official language, and most businesspeople are skilled and technically knowledgeable.  Businesspeople are friendly, valuing personal contact and courtesy with business discussions conducted in a straightforward manner.  While most agents and distributors have visited the United States and often handle several U.S. product lines, some cultural differences between the United States and TT exist.  American businesspeople may notice differences in pace and style and sustained personal contact with potential business partners is expected.  Business cards are commonly exchanged at meetings, but gifts are not, although end of year tokens of appreciation are acceptable.  Dress is Western in style and tends to be more formal than in the United States, particularly for initial meetings.

Travel Advisory:

Travelers should check State Department Consular Information Sheet for TT.

Visa requirements

A valid passport is required for U.S. citizens to enter TT, but visas are not required for stays of 90 days or less for business or tourism.  Work permits are required for compensated and non-compensated employment, including missionary work.  Visas are required for travel for purposes other than business or tourism.  For more information, see https://tt.usembassy.gov/visas/immigrant-visas/.

Questions pertaining to visas should be directed to the Embassy of TT, 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036, telephone (202) 467-6490 (https://foreign.gov.tt/missions-consuls/tt-missions-abroad/diplomatic-missions/embassy-washington-dc-us/), or the TT Consulates in Miami or New York.

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website.

Currency: 

The local currency is the TT dollar, which trades around 6.8 to $1.  U.S. dollars are also widely accepted and, in many cases, preferred, although most retailers would require exact change.  No other currencies are commonly accepted.  Travelers’ checks are not commonly used and can only be exchanged at commercial banks.  Foreign cash may be exchanged at commercial banks and government-authorized money changers located at the airport, though some large stores may occasionally accept foreign cash.  ATMs are widely available and international credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants, and many retail shops.

Telecommunications/Electronics: 

Telecommunications networks are reliable, and all major hotels are equipped with either free or guest-only internet access.  There are also Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.  Internet users can access the U.S. and other countries by direct dial.  The country code for TT is  +1 (as in the United States), and the area code is 868.  Costs, though falling, are higher than in the United States.  Mobile phone users can access LTE and 4G networks in TT.  U.S. phones work in country, but roaming rates tend to be high.  The two main mobile service providers, Digicel and Bmobile, offer local SIM cards at a nominal fee.  The mobile phone standard is GSM, not CDMA. Since electric current is the same as in the U.S. (110 volts, 60 Hz), transformers are unnecessary.

Transportation:

TT has well-developed infrastructure, including two international airports and paved roads and highways.  Prior to the pandemic, major airlines such as American, United, JetBlue, and Caribbean Airlines operated daily flights to and from the United States.  Coronavirus restrictions, however, interrupted international service for over a year.  There is daily inter-island ferry service between Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Scarborough, Tobago, as well as multiple flights.  Driving is on the left side of the road.  A reliable water taxi service operates between Port of Spain and San Fernando.  Ground transportation includes private taxis, car rental, and public transportation via buses operating from hubs in Port of Spain, Chaguanas, San Fernando, and in Tobago.  Always confirm the rate with private taxi drivers begore beginning a trip.  Road traffic is extremely heavy during the day so ample time should be allotted between appointments.

Language:

TT’s official language is English.

Health:

TT has several private and public clinics and hospitals.  While care at some private facilities is better than at many public health facilities, patients may be expected to prove their ability to pay before assistance is given, even if emergency care is needed. Air ambulance service is available for emergencies.  Almost all prescription drugs can be bought locally.  Mosquito borne illnesses are present, as is COVID-19, and all necessary precautions should be taken.

There are no vaccines that are mandatory for visiting, but travelers without a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine can expect a mandatory two-week quarantine at the travelers’ expense.  All other routine vaccines should be up to date before travel.  The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s automated information line for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747).

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

Local Time: TT local time is GMT-4 (equivalent to Eastern Daylight Time in summer and one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time in winter).  TT does not observe daylight savings time.

Standard business hours are 8:00 AM to 4:15 PM for government and most other offices.

The majority of retail outlets open until 6 PM, though there are a few which open later.

Banking hours vary: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM Mondays to Thursdays, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM Fridays.

Shopping mall branches: 9:00/10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

All operating hours are reduced under the state of emergency lasting until August 30, 2021. 

Visit this link for a list of national holidays

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings:

Temporary entry of personal and household effects is allowed duty- and VAT-free.  Temporary importation of commercial samples requires provision of authenticated invoices in duplicate, and the Comptroller of Customs and Excise will grant the relevant permissions.  Travelers often must post a refundable deposit or bond covering the duty liability of items to be imported with customs prior to the entry of the items.