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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet

Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Aruba

Aruba - Consular Information Sheet
November 3, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Aruba, an autonomous island in the Caribbean, is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Tourist facilities are widely available. The U.S. Consulate General in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles has responsibility for U.S. citizens in Aruba.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Either a U.S. passport or a U.S. birth certificate accompanied by a valid photo ID must be presented. While a U.S. passport is not mandatory, it is recommended since it is more readily recognized as a form of positive identification. Tourists may be asked to show onward/return tickets or proof of sufficient funds for their stay. Length of stay is granted for two weeks and may be extended for 90 days by the Head Office of Immigration. For further information, travelers can contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Houston. Internet: http://www.netherlands/embassy.org

DUAL NATIONALITY: Dutch law in principle does not permit dual nationality. However, there are exceptions in some cases. The Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington or one of the Dutch Consulates in the U.S. will be able to provide more detailed and specific information on this subject. In addition to being subject to all Dutch laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Dutch citizens. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

SAFETY/SECURITY: Despite the proximity of Aruba to Colombia, kidnappings have occurred only rarely and have not involved tourists.

CRIME INFORMATION: Street crime is low, and American tourists generally feel safe, including when strolling downtown or in other tourist areas after dark. There have been incidents of theft from hotel rooms and even armed robbery. Valuables left unattended on beaches, in cars and in hotel lobbies are easy targets for theft.

Car theft, including that of rental vehicles for joy riding and stripping, can occur. Vehicle leases or rentals may not be fully covered by local insurance when a vehicle is stolen. Be sure you are sufficiently insured when renting vehicles and jet skis.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and 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 by mail 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: Medical care is good in Aruba. Aruba has one hospital, Dr. H.E. Oduber Hospital, with medical standards that can be compared with an average small hospital in the U.S. The hospital has three classes of services and patients are accommodated according to the level of their insurance (i.e. first class: one patient to a room, TV, better food; second class: two to three patients to a room, shared bathroom, etc; third class: 15 to 20 people in one hall).

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

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 U.S. can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains on 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 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 that differ significantly from those in the U.S. The information below concerning Aruba is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: good

Driving in Aruba is the same as in the U.S., on the right-hand side. Right turns on red are prohibited in Aruba. Local laws require drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children under 5 years of age should be in a child safety seat; if older they should ride in the back seat.

Aruba's main thoroughfare (L.G. Smith Boulevard) is well lit, and most hotels and tourist attractions can be easily located. Although there is a speed limit in Aruba, many times it is not properly enforced. Drivers should be alert at all times for speeding cars, which have caused fatal car accidents. Buses provide convenient and inexpensive service to and from many hotels and downtown shopping. Taxis, while expensive, are safe and well regulated. As there are no meters, passengers should verify the price before entering the taxi.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Aruba driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Netherlands National Tourist Organization offices in New York at 1-888-464-6552, Internet: http://www.goholland.com. See also road safety information from other sources at http://www.aruba.com/.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Aruba's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Aruba's air carrier operations.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site 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 (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Aruba customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning importation into and exportation out of Aruba. Travelers are allowed to purchase a maximum of $600 worth of duty free merchandise based on the retail value. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington or one of the Dutch Consulates in the U.S. for specific information.

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 U.S. 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 U.S. for similar offenses. Persons violating Aruba laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Aruba has strict gun control laws; even a stray bullet in a suitcase can trigger a fine or time in jail.

TIME-SHARES AND REAL ESTATE: The time-share industry and other real estate investments are two of the fastest growing tourist industries in Aruba. Time-share buyers are cautioned about contracts that do not have a "non-disturbance or perpetuity protective clause" incorporated in the purchase agreement. Such a clause gives the time-share owner perpetuity of ownership should the facility be sold. Americans sometimes complain that the time-share units are not adequately maintained, despite generally high annual maintenance fees.

Potential investors should be aware that failed land development schemes involving time-share investments can result in financial losses. Interested investors may wish to seek professional advice regarding investments involving land development projects. Real estate investment problems that reach local courts are rarely settled in favor of foreign investors.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY/CONSULATE LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Aruba are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Curacao located at J.B. Gorsiraweg #1, Willemstad, Curacao, telephone 011 (599-9) 461-3066; fax 011 (599-9) 461-6489; e-mail address: cgcuracao@interneeds.net. The Consular Section hours of operation are 9:00a.m to 11:00a.m Monday, Wednesday, and Friday except U.S. and Dutch holidays. After-hours, emergency telephone 011 (599-9) 560-6870.


This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 14, 1999 to update all sections; to add Sections on Dual Nationality, Safety and Security, Customs Regulations, and Time-Shares and Real Estate, to delete the Netherlands Antilles portion, and to delete the section on Y2K Information.



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