Local laws and customs

Punishments for drug smuggling can be severe. Trafficking and possession of any illegal drugs carry heavy sentences. Prosecutions take a year or more to come to court, with detention until the trial. Bail is not usually granted for drug-related crimes, regardless of the type of drug.

If you’re under police investigation you’ll be provisionally charged and not allowed to leave the country without consent from a judge. Commonly it can take up to 2 years for the authorities to decide whether to issue a formal charge. You’re not allowed to renew your occupation or resident’s permit whilst you’re under a provisional charge. If you’re unable to support yourself financially you’ll be detained in prison while the police finish their investigation.

It is illegal to possess or import cigarette papers.

You can bring common medicines for your own personal use but you must carry a copy of the prescription and the drugs must have been obtained legally from a pharmacy. Other drugs like tranquillisers hypnotics, narcotics and other strong pain killers will require prior authorisation. You can check details with the Mauritian Health Ministry.  

If in any doubt, you should seek advice from the Mauritian High Commission.

The police sometimes ask foreigners to show identification. You should carry a photocopy of your passport and your driving licence and leave the original documents in a safe place.

Mauritius is a relatively conservative society. While the law does not criminalise homosexuality, the act of sodomy is illegal regardless of sexual orientation. Local attitudes and levels of acceptance of LGBT people vary across the country and some in Mauritius hold more conservative values. In June 2018, the annual LGBT Pride march in Port Louis was disrupted and prevented from going ahead by a sizeable group of protestors. Threats have also been made against the LGBT community following this event. As such, you’re advised to exercise discretion. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.