Information, Products and Services for Expats in El Salvador

Expat Information Guide provides useful information for expats in El Salvador

Published
the title goes here
Aviso por lluvias - San Salvador, 11 de abril de 2018. - 10:30 a. m.
Tigo El Salvador donates 25,000 tablets to local school
Canadian Rock Band Across The Board Set To Release Second Full Length Album "Sonic Boom"
Monse’s Taste of El Salvador grows from commissary opp to bright pupuseria
Opposition Leader Davis pleads to the Prime Minister to stop calling Bahamians corrupt on the world stage!
Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
Después de una acalorada elección, Costa Rica ya no parece tan excepcional
Inicio de estación lluviosa en el país podrá presentarse a partir de la primera semana de mayo
After women jailed for miscarriages, El Salvador finally debates abortion
Montgomery council to vote on funding lawyers for immigrants facing deportation
El Salvador envió ayuda para combatir incendio en reserva de Nicaragua
Man sentenced to prison as human smuggler, now facing sex assault charges
Documentary highlights life of religious sister who died in Ecuador earthquake
Three for Earth Day -- Sunday April 22 @ 3 PM in New York City
Montgomery council weighs funding lawyers for immigrants facing deportation
Jollibee takes control of US burger chain
US Commerce Secretary: Trade with Latin America Could Grow
Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The Bishops of El Salvador in the United States to support the TPS
Missing Salvadoran journalist found dead on roadside: media
Missing Salvadoran journalist found dead on roadside
Internal USCIS documents appear to contradict decision to end TPS for Haiti
Mansfield Center Seeks Participants for Basketball Exchange in El Salvador
Western Hemisphere: Acting Secretary Sullivan Meets With the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras 
Why Accountability is the Fast Track to Spiritual Growth
Why tens of thousands of kids from El Salvador continue to flee to the United States
St. George man arrested after taking 14-year-old girlfriend to El Salvador
Acting Secretary Sullivan Meets With the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
It Started Over Lunch and Led to the Exposure of One of the Greatest Scandals in U.S. History
Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
California couple accused of killing and burning Vietnam War veteran as children watched
Internal Trump administration documents appear to contradict decision to end Haitian humanitarian program
Who is Miguel Díaz-Canel who is expected to lead Cuba after 60 years of the Castro dynasty
This is Viewpoints for April 18, 2018
No excuse excuses Trump’s actions
Husband and wife accused of torturing and murdering a Vietnam War veteran
El Salvador police say newspaper journalist found slain
Salvadoran AG’s Office Says Ex-President Embezzled $300 Million
El Salvador arrests 200 gang members in nationwide sweep
Colleagues, relatives bury slain Salvadoran journalist
Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
Top 5 reasons to visit El Salvador
IOM to Support Migrant Entrepreneurs Returned to El Salvador
El Salvador debe redoblar sus esfuerzos para acabar con el feminicidio
El Salvador es sede del foro regional sobre clima y su aplicación a la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional
La OIM apoyará 70 emprendimientos de migrantes retornados a El Salvador
Biologics Market Growth Is 66% Faster Than Pharma
The foreign policy case for decriminalizing abortion in El Salvador
El Salvador: Driving Escalon Suburb to Downtown El Salvador - Part 1
Downtown San Salvador (Una mirada al Centro Histórico de San Salvador)
Reportaje de Tour a Parque Nacional Montecristo - El Salvador Turismo
Metapan
Metapán. Santa Ana. El Salvador. Centroamérica.
Parque de Metapan
Mercado Central Santa Ana, El Salvador
Discover El Salvador
Gran Seleccion de Frutas Tropicales
citizen
El Salvador Travel Warning
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that crime and violence levels in El Salvador remain critically high, and U.S. citizens traveling to El Salvador should remain alert to their surroundings.

This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated June 22, 2015, and includes updated information on crime and security in El Salvador.

Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit El Salvador each year for study, tourism, cruise ship visits, business, and volunteer work.  There is no information to suggest that U.S. citizens are specifically targeted by criminals; however, crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country. Since a rise in violence in the summer of 2015, the current murder rate in El Salvador is among the highest in the world, an annual rate of 103.1 murders per 100,000 citizens for 2015. In comparison, the U.S. rate is 4.5 per 100,000.  While U.S. citizens are not singled out as targets, the pervasive violence greatly increases the chance of someone being “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  Since January 2010, 38 U.S. citizens have been murdered in El Salvador.  During the same time period, 449 U.S. citizens reported having their passports stolen, while others were victims of violent crimes.

Typical crimes in El Salvador include extortion, mugging, highway assault, home invasion, and car theft.  There have also been cases reported in which criminals observe and follow customers making withdrawals at ATMs and banks, then rob them on the road or at a residence.  Some victims unwittingly wander into gang-controlled territory and may be targeted, normally at night.  Assaults against police officers have risen, and public shootouts are not uncommon.  Armed robberies of climbers and hikers in El Salvador’s national parks are known to occur, and the U.S. Embassy strongly recommends engaging the services of a local guide certified by the national or local tourist authority when hiking in back country areas.  The National Civilian Police (PNC) has a special tourist police force (POLITUR) to provide security and assistance to visitors.  It has officers located in 19 tourist destinations.

A majority of serious crimes are never solved; only seven of the 38 murders of U.S. citizens since January 2010 have resulted in convictions.  The Government of El Salvador lacks sufficient resources to properly investigate and prosecute cases and to deter violent crime.  While several of the PNC’s investigative units have shown promise, routine street-level patrol techniques, anti-gang, and crime suppression efforts are limited.  Equipment shortages (particularly radios, vehicles, and fuel) further limit their ability to deter or respond to crimes effectively. As a result, criminals operate with a high degree of impunity throughout El Salvador.

El Salvador, a country of roughly six million people, has, according to Government of El Salvador statistics, thousands of known gang members from several gangs including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Eighteenth Street (M18). Gang members are quick to engage in violence or use deadly force if resisted.  These “maras” concentrate on narcotics and arms trafficking, murder for hire, carjacking, extortion, and violent street crime.  Authorities believe a significant number of disappearances are related to gang activity, since many of the missing were in gangs or were friends or family members of gang members.  Police sources claim that the families of gang members often face the same risks of being killed or disappearing as the gang members themselves. 

In the past year, Salvadoran gangs have escalated their tactics.  In late July 2015, they used threats and violence to halt most public transportation, killing 8 drivers and burning two buses from the transportation companies that continued to provide service.  This followed a July 25, 2015 grenade attack near the Sheraton hotel in San Salvador.  On August 28, 2015, an improvised explosive device (IED) was placed in a vehicle parked in front of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security; the device was constructed with military-grade explosives, but failed to detonate.  On September 10, 2015, a homemade IED detonated inside a car parked in front of the Ministry of Finance; there were no reported injuries although the blast did cause damage to nearby buildings. Similar IEDs have been found, made from both military-grade and household materials, and they represent an escalation in gang tactics to target Salvadoran government personnel and facilities.  Local police have arrested members of M18 in relation to these devices. 

Extortion is a very common crime in El Salvador.  Some extortion attempts are no more than random cold calls that originate from imprisoned gang members using cellular telephones, and the subsequent threats against the victim are made through social engineering and/or through information obtained about the victim’s family.  U.S. citizens who are visiting El Salvador for extended periods are at higher risk for extortion demands.  Many extortions and other crimes are not reported by victims for fear of reprisal and lack of faith in the ability of the local government to protect the victims.

U.S. citizens should remain alert to their surroundings, especially when entering or exiting their homes or hotels, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces.  Whenever possible, travel in groups.  U.S. Embassy security officials advise all U.S. government personnel not to walk, run, or cycle in unguarded streets and parks, even in groups, and recommend exercising only in gyms and fitness centers.  Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, and do not carry large sums of money or display cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables.  Avoid walking at night in most areas of El Salvador. Incidents of crime along roads, including carjacking, are common in El Salvador.  Motorists should avoid traveling at night and always drive with their windows up and doors locked to deter potential robberies at traffic lights and on congested downtown streets.  Travel on public transportation, especially buses, both within and outside the capital, is risky and not recommended.  The Embassy advises official visitors and personnel to avoid using mini-buses and regular buses and to use only radio-dispatched taxis or those stationed in front of major hotels.

For more detailed information regarding personal security, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for El Salvador.  U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. 

U.S. citizens living or traveling in El Salvador are strongly encouraged to sign up for the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to obtain updated information on travel and security within El Salvador.  Travelers may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or on a regular toll line at 202-501-4444.

The U.S. Embassy is located on Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur, Urbanización Santa Elena, Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, and can be reached at:

Telephone: 503-2501-2999
Fax: 503-2278-5522 / 503-2278-6020
Email
Website 
Facebook
Twitter

For after-hours emergencies, please call 503-2501-2999. 

more information
Europe Travel Alert
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe following several terrorist attacks, including the March 22 attacks in Brussels claimed by ISIL.

Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation.  This Travel Alert expires on June 20, 2016.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.

U.S. citizens should also: 

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

European governments continue to guard against terrorist attacks and conduct raids to disrupt plots. We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.

For further information:

more information
Republic of Congo Travel Alert
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to The Republic of the Congo regarding the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for March 20.

U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of security awareness due to the potential for political unrest leading up to, during, and following the election period.  This Travel Alert expires on April 15, 2016.

 

Political protests and demonstrations may occur in this timeframe. Although there is no indication that U.S. citizens may be targets of violence, U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn violent.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates, including any changes in the election schedule.  Presidential election results are expected to be announced within a week of the election.

For more information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Congo.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville, located at 70-83 Boulevard Denis Sassou Nguesso, Brazzaville, Congo, at +242-06-612-2000, 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. from Monday - Thursday; 8.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (+242) 06-612-2010.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
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South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season - 2015 - 2016
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to the South Pacific region about the ongoing threat of tropical cyclones affecting the area.

While tropical cyclones in the South Pacific may occur throughout the year, the current South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season begins on November 1, 2015, and ends April 30, 2016.  U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the region should monitor local weather reports and take other appropriate action as needed.  This Travel Alert expires on April 30, 2016.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends that people living or traveling in regions prone to tropical storms and tropical cyclones be prepared.  For further information about tropical cyclone preparedness, please visit NOAA's Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide.

Tropical cyclones can create dangerous and uncomfortable conditions that can prevent travel for days.  Tropical cyclones are often accompanied by damaging winds, high tides and flooding.  If you are living near or staying close to the ocean or other bodies of water, you may be at higher risk.  Landslides and mudslides are also a serious concern.  Roads can be washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas.  In the past, many U.S. citizens were forced to delay travel (including return travel to the United States) due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability.  You should be aware that you may not be able to depart the area for 24-48 hours or longer, particularly if you are residing in or visiting a South Pacific island country where air travel service is limited. 

Be sure to check with local authorities for safety and security updates.  Reports of looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters have occurred.  Security personnel and medical services may not always be readily available, as weather conditions or damage to infrastructure may delay or prevent emergency assistance.

If you live in or travel to these areas during the tropical cyclone season, we recommend you obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency.  If a situation requires an evacuation from an overseas location, the U.S. Department of State may work with commercial airlines to ensure that U.S. citizens can depart as safely and efficiently as possible.  Commercial airlines are the Department's primary source of transportation in an evacuation; other means of transport are utilized only as a last resort, are often more expensive, and will provide you with fewer destination options.  U.S. law requires that any evacuation costs are your responsibility.  For those in financial need, the U.S. Department of State has the authority to provide crisis evacuation and repatriation loans on a reimbursable basis.  For more information, please visit the Emergencies Abroad page on our website.   

If you live in or are traveling to storm-prone regions, prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms by organizing a kit in a waterproof container that includes a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, any medications taken regularly, and vital documents (especially your passport and other identification).  Emergency shelters often provide only very basic resources and may have limited medical and food supplies.  NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have additional tips on their websites.

Monitor local radio, local media, and the National Weather Service to be aware of weather developments.  Minor tropical cyclones can develop into typhoons very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation.  Inform family and friends of your whereabouts and remain in close contact with your tour operator, hotel staff, transportation providers (airlines, cruise lines, etc.), and local officials for evacuation instructions during a weather emergency.

For further information on tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Fiji's regional meteorological center responsible for tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, or the Government of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

For further information:

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El Salvador
Current News in El Salvador
  • Aviso por lluvias - San Salvador, 11 de abril de 2018. - 10:30 a. m.
  • Tigo El Salvador donates 25,000 tablets to local school
  • Canadian Rock Band Across The Board Set To Release Second Full Length Album "Sonic Boom"
  • Monse’s Taste of El Salvador grows from commissary opp to bright pupuseria
  • Opposition Leader Davis pleads to the Prime Minister to stop calling Bahamians corrupt on the world stage!
  • Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
  • Después de una acalorada elección, Costa Rica ya no parece tan excepcional
  • Inicio de estación lluviosa en el país podrá presentarse a partir de la primera semana de mayo
  • After women jailed for miscarriages, El Salvador finally debates abortion
  • Montgomery council to vote on funding lawyers for immigrants facing deportation
  • El Salvador envió ayuda para combatir incendio en reserva de Nicaragua
  • Man sentenced to prison as human smuggler, now facing sex assault charges
  • Documentary highlights life of religious sister who died in Ecuador earthquake
  • Three for Earth Day -- Sunday April 22 @ 3 PM in New York City
  • Montgomery council weighs funding lawyers for immigrants facing deportation
  • Jollibee takes control of US burger chain
  • US Commerce Secretary: Trade with Latin America Could Grow
  • Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
  • AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The Bishops of El Salvador in the United States to support the TPS
  • Missing Salvadoran journalist found dead on roadside: media
  • Missing Salvadoran journalist found dead on roadside
  • Internal USCIS documents appear to contradict decision to end TPS for Haiti
  • Mansfield Center Seeks Participants for Basketball Exchange in El Salvador
  • Western Hemisphere: Acting Secretary Sullivan Meets With the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras 
  • Why Accountability is the Fast Track to Spiritual Growth
  • Why tens of thousands of kids from El Salvador continue to flee to the United States
  • St. George man arrested after taking 14-year-old girlfriend to El Salvador
  • Acting Secretary Sullivan Meets With the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
  • It Started Over Lunch and Led to the Exposure of One of the Greatest Scandals in U.S. History
  • Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
  • California couple accused of killing and burning Vietnam War veteran as children watched
  • Internal Trump administration documents appear to contradict decision to end Haitian humanitarian program
  • Who is Miguel Díaz-Canel who is expected to lead Cuba after 60 years of the Castro dynasty
  • This is Viewpoints for April 18, 2018
  • No excuse excuses Trump’s actions
  • Husband and wife accused of torturing and murdering a Vietnam War veteran
  • El Salvador police say newspaper journalist found slain
  • Salvadoran AG’s Office Says Ex-President Embezzled $300 Million
  • El Salvador arrests 200 gang members in nationwide sweep
  • Colleagues, relatives bury slain Salvadoran journalist
  • Do You Have News to Share? Get It Published.
  • Top 5 reasons to visit El Salvador
  • IOM to Support Migrant Entrepreneurs Returned to El Salvador
  • El Salvador debe redoblar sus esfuerzos para acabar con el feminicidio
  • El Salvador es sede del foro regional sobre clima y su aplicación a la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional
  • La OIM apoyará 70 emprendimientos de migrantes retornados a El Salvador
  • Biologics Market Growth Is 66% Faster Than Pharma
  • The foreign policy case for decriminalizing abortion in El Salvador
El Salvador Flag
Current Weather
  • Colonia San Benito 75°F
  • Metapán 84°F
  • Nueva San Salvador 75°F
  • San Marcos 75°F
  • San Salvador 75°F
  • Santa Ana 90°F
Videos
  • El Salvador: Driving Escalon Suburb to Downtown El Salvador - Part 1
  • Downtown San Salvador (Una mirada al Centro Histórico de San Salvador)
  • Reportaje de Tour a Parque Nacional Montecristo - El Salvador Turismo
  • Metapan
  • Metapán. Santa Ana. El Salvador. Centroamérica.
  • Parque de Metapan
  • Mercado Central Santa Ana, El Salvador
  • Discover El Salvador
  • Gran Seleccion de Frutas Tropicales
Currency Exchange Rate
8.7341
El Salvador Colones
per US Dollar
U.S. State Department Travel Alerts & Warnings
Calculate Airport-to-Airport and Driving Distances