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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Angola

Angola - Consular Information Sheet
September 18, 2000

WARNING: The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Angola because of continued military conflict in the interior provinces and increased violent criminal activity, including kidnapping and the threat by criminals and rebel insurgents to kidnap foreigners. Travel within Angola remains unsafe due to high intensity military actions, bandit and insurgent attacks, undisciplined police and military personnel, and land mines in rural areas. Foreign nationals, especially independent entrepreneurs, are subject to arbitrary detention and/or deportation by immigration and police authorities.

Americans who find travel to Angola necessary are strongly urged to contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information. Travel outside Luanda is inadvisable. American citizens traveling outside Luanda, despite this warning, should always contact the U.S. Embassy for the latest information on security conditions in the provinces to which visits are planned.

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Angola is a large, developing African country that has been engulfed in war and civil strife since independence from Portugal in 1975. A peace accord signed in 1994 brought a temporary halt to Angola's civil war, but in late 1998 fighting returned the country to war, making travel to and within Angola extremely unsafe. Facilities for tourism are non-existent. Severe shortages of lodging, transportation, food, water, medicine and utilities plague the capital city of Luanda and other cities. Shortages cause unsanitary conditions in many areas, including Luanda.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa, which must be obtained in advance, and an International Certificate of Vaccination, are required. Persons arriving without visas are subject to possible arrest and/or deportation. Travelers whose international immunization cards do not show inoculations against yellow fever and cholera may be subject to involuntary vaccinations and/or heavy fines. Visitors remaining in Angola beyond their authorized visa duration are subject to fines and possible arrest. Current information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Angola at 1615 M Street, N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20036, tel. (202) 785-1156, fax (202) 785-1258.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The security situation in Angola remains extremely volatile. Large crowds and demonstrations should be avoided. Travel in the interior is unsafe because of high-intensity military actions, bandit attacks in villages and on major highways and land mines. The Government of Angola and the National Union for the Independence of Angola (UNITA) resumed armed conflict in late 1998. There has been heavy fighting in many provinces and a heightened potential for increased military action in all provinces.

CRIME INFORMATION: Violent crime occurs regularly throughout Angola. Street crime is common in all areas of Luanda, at all hours. Foreigners, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of violent robberies in their homes and hotel rooms. Because of the high incidence of armed robberies and carjackings, travelers are cautioned against airport arrivals after dark. Before arrival, please ensure that you have arranged for reliable transportation from the airport. Only unregulated taxis are available at the airport and in Luanda. They are unsafe, a high crime risk and should not be used.

City streets are patrolled by soldiers and police who normally carry automatic weapons. The soldiers and police are unpredictable, and their authority should not be challenged. All motorists should stop at all police checkpoints if so ordered. Police officers, often while still in uniform, frequently participate in shakedowns, muggings, carjackings and murders.

There have been police operations against illegal aliens and private companies that have resulted in the deportation of foreign nationals and the loss of personal and company property. Some foreign business people have been forced to sign statements renouncing property claims in Angola before being deported. Independent entrepreneurs in Angola should carry all relevant immigration and business documents at all times.

Travelers should be alert to a number of scams perpetrated by Luanda airport personnel. Immigration and customs officials sometimes detain foreigners without cause, demanding gratuities before allowing them to enter or depart Angola. Airport health officials sometimes threaten arriving passengers with "vaccinations" with instruments that have not been sterilized if gratuities are not paid.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Adequate medical facilities are virtually non-existent throughout Angola, and most medicine is not available. Chloroquine-resistant and cerebral malaria are endemic to the region.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.

Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax, 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299); or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Angola is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Destinations in the interior are accessible safely only by private or chartered aircraft. Civilians have been killed by bandits or land mines exploding while traveling overland. Overland routes to neighboring countries are generally not open. For additional information about road safety, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page road safety overseas feature

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the U.S. and Angola, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Angola's civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: U.S. dollars can be converted to local currency at exchange houses authorized by the Angolan government. Rapid fluctuations in the value of the Angolan Kwanza and shortages of U.S. dollars are widespread. Currency conversions on the parallel market are illegal, and participants are subject to arrest. In general, only the newer series 100 (US) dollar bills are accepted due to widespread counterfeiting of the older style.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Angolan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Angola are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with and obtain updated information on travel and security from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Luanda located at the Casa Inglesa Complex, Rua Major Kanhangula No. 132/135, tel. 244-2-396-727; fax 244-2-390-515. The Embassy is located on Rua Houari Boumedienne in the Miramar area of Luanda, P.O. Box 6468, tel. 244-2-447-028/(445-481)/(446-224); (24-hour duty officer tel. 244-9-501-343); fax 244-2-446-924. The Consulate may be contacted by e-mail at amembassyluanda@netangola.com.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 9, 1999, to revise theTravel Warning, to reflect changes in the paragraphs Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Other Health Information, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, to delete the information on Y2K, to correct the Embassy telephone numbers and to provide the Embassy's e-mail address.

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