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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet

Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Bangladesh

Bangladesh - Consular Information Sheet
March 2, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Bangladesh has a developing economy. Tourist facilities outside major cities and tourist areas are minimal.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and onward/return ticket are required. A visa is not required for a tourist stay of up to 15 days. Visas (landing permits) are available for a fee upon arrival by air. Further information on entry requirements can be obtained from the Embassy of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, 3510 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone 202-244-0183, fax 202-244-5366, web site http://www.bangladeshembassy.com or from the Bangladesh consulates in New York, 211 E. 43rd Street, Suite 502, New York, NY 10017, telephone 212-599-6767, or the Bangladesh Consulate in Los Angeles, 10850 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1250, Los Angeles, CA 90024, telephone 310-441-9399, web site http://www.bangladeshconsulatela.com.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Public demonstrations, marches and labor strikes are widely used as means of political expression in Bangladesh. A number of general strikes, or "hartals," have been called by the political opposition over the past several years, resulting in the virtual shutdown of transportation and commerce, and sometimes attacks on individuals who do not observe the "hartals." Clashes between rival political groups have resulted in deaths and injuries. Violence is a particular problem on university campuses. Sometime before October 2001, Bangladesh will hold general elections. In the run-up to those elections, Bangladesh may experience increased political violence. For example, on January 20, 2001, two bombs exploded at a political rally and resulted in the deaths of six persons. Although political violence generally is not directed at foreigners, it could affect those who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Visitors should avoid political events such as demonstrations or rallies. Due to several recent kidnappings, including those of foreign nationals, U.S. citizens are advised against travelling to the Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban Hill Tracts districts (collectively known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts) unless the travel is absolutely essential. Individuals who choose to visit these districts are urged to exercise extreme caution. Visitors to Bangladesh should check with the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka for updated information on planned political activities.

CRIME: Crime is a growing problem, particularly in the major cities of Dhaka and Chittagong. Weapons are increasingly used in criminal incidents. Pickpocketing, purse-snatching, and other forms of street crime occur often, especially in areas frequented by foreigners. Visitors should avoid walking alone after dark, carrying large sums of money, or wearing expensive jewelry. Valuables should be stored in the hotel safety deposit box and should not be left unattended in hotel rooms. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to South Asia for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlets are 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, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Bangladesh do not approach U.S. standards, even in tourist areas.

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.

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 problem requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States 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 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 tel.: 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 United States. The information below concerning Bangladesh 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

The Bangladesh road network is in generally poor condition, in part due to the difficulty of building and maintaining a transportation infrastructure across a vast river delta. The streets of Dhaka are congested, with hundreds of thousands of bicycle rickshaws competing with three-wheeled taxis, cars and trucks for limited road space. Because inter-city roads are narrow and in poor condition, driving at night is especially dangerous. There are no lights beyond approximately 10 miles out of major cities. 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.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Bangladesh's civil aviation authority as Category 2--not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Bangladesh's air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, the Bangladesh air carriers currently flying to the U.S. will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance. No additional flights or new service to the U.S. by Bangladesh's air carriers will be permitted unless they arrange to have the flights conducted by an air carrier from a country meeting international safety standards. Because of safety concerns about the operation of Biman Airlines, the Department of State authorizes its personnel to use alternative carriers or means of transportation whenever practical for trips to/from Bangladesh. Americans who are required to travel by air within Bangladesh may wish to consider using an alternative airline, if available, or consider alternate means of transportation.

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://faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, DoD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating from or terminating in the U.S. Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: There are restrictions on importing currency and weapons. Contact the Embassy of Bangladesh in Washington, DC for specific information regarding customs requirements.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to the 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 Bangladesh's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bangladesh are strict. The death penalty or life imprisonment can be imposed for some drug-related crimes. At a minimum, 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: Americans living in or visiting Bangladesh are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka and obtain updated information on travel and security within Bangladesh. The U.S. Embassy is located at Diplomatic Enclave, Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka, telephone (880-2) 882-4700 through 22, fax number (880-2) 882-4449. For emergency services during business hours, call (880-2) 882-3805. For emergency services after hours, call (880-2) 882-4700 and ask for the Duty Officer. The Embassy's Internet home page is http://www.usembassy-dhaka.org/state/embassy.htm. Their workweek is Sunday - Thursday.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated November 22, 2000 to update information on Entry Requirements, Safety and Security and Aviation Safety Oversight.

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