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Living in Trinidad

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Kawshik
11/15/2013 11:08 EST

Hi there, we are a mid 30s, professional couple with a 3 year old daughter and are planning to move to Trinidad next year from the UK. My wife is has a Trini passport and I'm going to apply for my residency when we move. I want to know what it's really like to live and work in Trinidad as I've so far had very conflicting comments and advice. The key things that concern me are:
- Crime & Safety
- Healthcare
- Bureaucracy
- Education system
- Finding work
- Meeting other expats

We would be grateful if any one who has made the move and can share their experiences with us, good or bad please. Thanks.

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gingerbaby
3/14/2015 12:01 EST

I think that the best thing for you to do is to go on a vacation and do as much research as you can while you are there. It is impossible for people to answer you online. The results will be conflicting. You will also see the place and really see if that is what you want.

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Ledapq
3/16/2015 11:05 EST

Hi. I moved with my husband 8 months ago but I got the job before so I can't advise you in that regard.

Safety: there is a very specific list of neighborhoods where most expats live. These are very safe areas, security 24/7. You don't need to live in a compound/gated community. We live in a house in a neighborhood in the West and there are security cars driving around all day, every day.

I think it is necessary to own a car here, as public transport is scarce and not very reliable. Also, I have been advised to not use it at night.

Education system: you can find schools with the US, UK, and Canadian systems. We don't have kids so I can't comment on quality but I have heard good things about it.

Healthcare: we have insurance from an international company and have used the doctor only once for a regular flu and found it to be ok. Unless you have a chronic condition, I think healthcare is ok.

Bureaucracy is really bad, most people will tell you that to get things done here you need to know someone. Trinidad is all about having a connection in the right place. Either your company will help you sort things out (my case) or you'll have to be very very patient.

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Anjhna
4/28/2015 07:42 EST

Hi, I am planning to move to Trinidad with my whole family (if things work out) I have tried looking for an email address to contact the embassy on but cant seem to get any. I wanted to know what criteria is there to set up a business? How much do I need to have and what are the best opportunities there? I will keep posting questions as I get replies. Will really appreciate any help.

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FlyboyWV
4/28/2015 08:13 EST

Which embassy? You appear to be a native English speaker, so I can assume you are from Canada, England, South Affrika, Jamaica or the U.S. or any number of other countries where English is spoken. The fact that you assume you are from the only country with an embassy that matters...leads me to believe you are from the U.S.
Please keep in mind that you are entering a global community.

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Anjhna
4/28/2015 08:21 EST

Hi,

My enquiry is about Trinidad, I do speak english as my main language but I am a Kenyan of Indian origin. Sorry you are reading the lines wrong. I am looking for contacts in the Trinidadian embassy. I would like to move to Trinidad. Hope I have made myself clear now.

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allianz international health insurance

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FlyboyWV
4/28/2015 09:04 EST

If you do mean the U.S. embassy, try:

Or just Google: U.S. Embassy Trinidad

The U.S. has not had am ambassador to TT for this entire current Obama administration. However, the basic staff is there and they can help you.

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Anjhna
4/28/2015 09:13 EST

Thank you for this address. I will mail them in a little.

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FlyboyWV
4/28/2015 09:17 EST

Ah. I see. You want the Kenyan embassy in Trinidad. That does make a difference. I do not believe there is a Kenyan embassy or consulate in TT. Perhaps instead you could look for a TT embassy in Kenya where you reside. If there is none, contact your Kenyan Ministry of State. They can tell you how to make the connection and they will likely have to facilitate the paperwork. Sometimes, small countries use a third party country to process paperwork. This is not uncommon for the many Caribbean countries to use an intermediary country embassy to process the paperwork. It is cost prohibitive to maintain an embassy in every country in the world. Even the US does it. Often they will piggyback or share duties with the UK or Canada or Australia.

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stephylynn
3/6/2016 18:06 EST

Laughing that your assumption was that the post was from a US citizen, but was in fact from a Kenyan! You know what they say about making assumptions...

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andi2001
4/7/2016 10:53 EST

Hello, I have been living in Port of Spain for a year and a half. I agree with the previous comment suggesting you take a vacation first. I would anyone moving to any location to do the same. i am from the US, so my perspective may be different. Safety is an issue for me as I have a child. we live in a secure tower in the Westmoorings area. He has very good friends in the international School. For me the bureaucracy is a night mare. it took hours to open a bank account. There are rigorous steps to applying for a driver;s license , so be prepared to spend four or more hours to do so. If these types of occurrences are normal for you, then you will be fine. The traffic for me is atrocious; however, we have very wide and well-paved roads in the US...thus the shock. The grocery stores are small and since many products are imported, prices are high and getting higher. It is extremely difficult to secure a work permit now as the government is forcing repatriation from local companies to keep in line with their mandate for local content only. I hope this is helpful to you before making your decision.

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IsabelM
4/7/2016 14:30 EST

Hello Kawshik! This is my experience so far, my husband and I (early 30s, no kids) moved here 6 months ago.

-Crime & Safety: It is not a problem in the parts of POS you will probably be moving around. Just basic common sense: no walking home from bars late at night, no walking alone after dark in parks or hill trails. You don´t really need to live in a gated compound, many realtors will push you on that. Neighbourhoods that are totally fine: woodbrook, bayside, ellerslie, westmoorings, goodwood, cascade, st anns, maraval and moka (these last two have horrible traffic).
-Healthcare: I've been to the doctor once, and found it to be quite good, very professional, nice caring attitude. Also had my vision checked and ordered contact lenses and found it all to be very professional.
-Finding work: I haven´t started looking yet. The work permit process takes several months, up to 3 or 4 sometimes.
-Meeting other expats: it is not too difficult to make friends with other people in your same situation, you might want to consider westmoorings as there are always expats in the parks with kids, walking dogs, working out. Meeting trinis I find can be the hard part.

My experience has been overall good. Some points I could share with you:
-Sun comes up super early and it gets dark early as well (5:30am-6:30pm) so we find ourselves doing many things before work, you will see people jogging around even at 5am.
-Shops close early as well, most furniture and home stores are closed by 5:30, so you have to run straight from the office and you only get to see one per day. As it also gets dark early, at first we had many afternoons when we couldn't find anything to do... you get used to that rythm of life though.
-If your internet or air conditioning stops working, don't expect to have it fixed the next days, everything is slower here.
-Perhaps you are used to going to lots of restaurants, theatres, art galleries, and there are not that many here. We do a lot more outdoors/sports activities here than back home.
-It is very expensive, though compared to the UK maybe not that much. Depends on your reference.

Hope it helps!

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