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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Comoros

Comoros - Consular Information Sheet
November 30, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Comoros is a developing island nation located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. Facilities for tourism are limited, and telecommunication links are extremely unreliable.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and onward/return ticket are required. A three-week entry visa, which may be extended, may be obtained upon arrival at the airport. Travelers should obtain the latest details from the Mission of the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros, 420 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022; telephone (212) 972-8010, fax (212) 983-4712.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Comoros has experienced frequent strikes and civil unrest, resulting in violent clashes between police and demonstrators. Although foreign residents and visitors have not been targeted, the potential for further outbreaks of civil disorder remains high.

On the island of Anjouan, a secessionist crisis that began in 1997 appears to have been at least temporarily resolved. However, in view of the continued existence of Organization of African Unity sanctions on Anjouan, U.S. citizens are urged to defer non-essential travel to Anjouan. U.S. citizens already there are urged to review their personal security situation in determining whether to remain on the island.

U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

CRIME: Petty crime is common. Pick-pocketing, purse snatching, and various types of scams are the most common forms of crime confronting U.S. travelers in crowded market areas, parks, and at the beaches.

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. The pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips forTravelers to Sub-Saharan Africa, provide useful information on personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region. Both are 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, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Comoros are poor. Travelers should bring their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines.

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 if 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, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via its home page at http://travel.state.gov and autofax service at (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 international traveler’s hotline at telephone 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or by visiting the CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.

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 Comoros is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

In Comoros, one drives on the right side of the street. Roads are generally adequate, but are narrow and poorly lit at night. Travelers should exercise extreme caution when driving after dark. Most urban roads are paved, but many rural roads are not. Speed limits range from 30 to 40 miles an hour. Drivers and front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts. There are no laws regarding child safety seats.

There are no organizations in Comoros that provide emergency or roadside assistance. Individuals involved in accidents rely on passersby for assistance.

Taxis or a rental car with driver are preferable to public transportation.

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

For additional information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.

AVIATION SAFETY: 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 Comoros, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Civil Aviation Authority of Comoros for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Comorian 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 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 telephone 618-229-4801.

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 the laws of Comoros, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Comoros 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 in the U.S. at 202-736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: The United States has no embassy in Comoros, but has a liaison representative in Moroni, who can be contacted at Quartier Oasis, POB 720, Moroni, telephone (269) 73-00-11, fax (269) 73-00-12. U.S. citizens in Comoros are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius. Registration information and forms are collected at the liaison office in Moroni and forwarded to the U.S. Embassy, Consular Section, Rogers house, fourth floor, John F. Kennedy Street, Port Louis, Mauritius; telephone numbers

(230) 202-4400 and 208-2347; fax (230) 202-4401 and 208-9534. The U.S. Embassy home page is located at http://www.usembassymauritius.mu; e-mail: usembass@intnet.mu.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 14, 2000 to update the sections on Safety and Security, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and Registration/Embassy Location, and to delete the section on Y2K.

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