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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Croatia

Croatia - Consular Information Sheet
November 6, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Croatia is a moderately developed nation in transition to a market economy. The capital is Zagreb. Facilities for tourism are available throughout the country, and the Adriatic coast has traditionally been a popular tourist destination.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for travel to Croatia. A visa is not required for U.S. passport holders for tourist or business trips of less than 90 days. Visas are required for all other types of stays and must be obtained prior to arrival in the country. Unless the traveler is staying at a hotel, all foreign citizens must register with the local police within 48 hours of arrival. Failure to register is a misdemeanor offense: some Americans have been fined and/or expelled as a result of their failure to register. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Croatia at 2343 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 588-5899 or from the Croatian consulates in New York City, Cleveland, Chicago or Los Angeles. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Croatian embassy or consulate. The Internet home page of the Croatian Embassy in Washington is http://www.croatiaemb.org.

DUAL NATIONALITY: The Government of Croatia does not recognize U.S. citizenship of persons who are citizens of both Croatia and the United States. Dual nationals may be subject to national obligations, such as taxes and military service. Additionally, Croatian citizens must enter Croatia on their Croatian passports. This may hinder the ability of the U.S. consular officer to assist persons who do not enter Croatia on a U.S. passport. Travelers should contact a Croatian embassy or consulate for further information. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Although fighting in all parts of the country ended in 1995, the conflict over Croatia's independence led to the laying of land mines on Croatian territory, mostly along the former confrontation lines. De-mining is not complete; marking of mined areas is similarly incomplete. Travelers in former conflict areas should exercise caution and not stray from known safe roads and areas.

There are occasional attacks targeted at specific persons or property as a result of organized criminal activity or actions prompted by residual ethnic tensions from Croatia's war for independence.

CRIME: Croatia has a relatively low crime rate, and violent crime is rare. Foreigners do not appear to be singled out; however, as in many cities, displays of wealth increase chances of becoming the victim of a pickpocket or mugger. Such crimes are most likely to occur in bus or railroad stations. The loss or theft 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. It 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, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Health facilities in Croatia, although generally of Western caliber, are under severe budgetary strains. Croatian citizens using these services find that some medicines are in short supply in public hospitals and clinics. The number of private medical and dental practitioners is substantial, and private pharmacies stock a variety of medicines not readily available through public health facilities.

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

Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provisions 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 or 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 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 United States. The information below concerning Croatia is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

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

Since gaining independence in 1991, Croatia has seen an increase in the number of cars, leading to heavy congestion on major routes on weekends (towards the coast, for example) and in major cities during rush hour. Parking can be difficult and expensive in city centers. Drivers can be aggressive and, in Zagreb, motorists must also pay special attention to trams (streetcars). Primary roads are generally adequate, but most have only one lane in each direction, including roads going to and from the coast. Coastal roads are narrow and congested, and tend to be very slippery when wet. Right turns on red lights are strictly forbidden in Croatia, unless an additional green light (in the shape of an arrow) allows it. At unmarked intersections, right of way is always to the vehicle entering from the right. Front seat belts are obligatory and passengers in vehicles equipped with rear seat belts are required to use them. The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Croatia is .05 percent. Police routinely spot-check motorists for drinking and driving, and will administer breathalyzer tests at even the slightest accident. Drivers who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test are automatically presumed to have admitted to driving while intoxicated. In cases of accidents resulting in death or serious injury, Croatian law obligates police to take blood samples to test blood alcohol levels. Drivers traveling through former conflict areas should stay on paved roads to reduce the risk of encountering mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the war.

Within Croatia, emergency road help and information may be reached by dialing 987, a service of the Croatian Automobile Association (HAK). The police can be reached by dialing 92 and the ambulance can be reached by dialing 94. Additional road condition and safety information may be obtained from HAK at tel. (385)(1) 455-4433, or via their web page, http://www.hak.hr

For additional information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For additional information on road conditions specific to Croatia, please see the U.S. Embassy home page at http://www.usembassy.hr/consular/traffic.htm. For specific information concerning Croatian driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Croatian National Tourist Office, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4003, New York, NY 10118; tel. 1-800-829-4416 or 212-278-8672; fax 212-279-8683.

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 United States and Croatia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Croatia'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: Croatian customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York. N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they travel, 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 Croatian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Croatia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: With the proliferation of automated teller machines and ever-wider acceptance of credit cards in Croatia, traveler's checks are accepted less and less frequently or are exchanged at an unfavorable rate.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: In general, foreign citizens may not adopt Croatian children. 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 AND EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the
U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Croatia. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb is located at Andrije Hebranga 2, tel. (385)(1) 455-5500, Internet home page: http://www.usembassy.hr. On weekends, holidays, and after hours, an Embassy duty officer can be reached at tel. (385)(1) 455-5281 or (385)(91)455-2384.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated November 4, 1999, to update the sections on Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Aviation Safety Oversight, Special Circumstances, and to delete Y2K information.

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