Estonia - Consular Information Sheet
October 17, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Estonia is a rapidly developing nation
that has experienced significant success in reforming its political
and economic institutions since regaining independence in 1991.
Tourist facilities are generally good, though some amenities may
be lacking in rural areas. Some goods and services may not be
available outside of major cities. The capital is Tallinn.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Tourists and
business travelers may stay in Estonia for up to 90 days without
a visa. U.S. citizens who wish to work in Estonia or remain longer
than 90 days must obtain a visa or residence permit. For further
information concerning entry requirements and residency permits,
please contact the Estonian Embassy, 2131 Massachusetts Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C 20008, telephone (202) 588-0101, or the
Consulate General of Estonia in New York City at telephone (212)
883-0636. Also, please see the
Estonian Embassy's Internet home page at http://www.estemb.org.
CRIME INFORMATION: Travelers in Estonia should exercise
the same precautions with regard to their personal safety and
belongings that they would take in major U.S. cities. The most
common crimes encountered by foreign tourists are purse snatching,
pickpocketing and mugging. Violent crime, though rarely directed
against foreigners, does occur. Intoxicated people leaving bars
alone or in small groups late at night are a favorite target for
muggings, which can turn violent. Car thefts are common and can
occur in daylight. Police capabilities in Estonia are improving,
but they still suffer from lack of equipment, training, personnel
and resources. Few police officers speak English. Credit card
fraud is on the rise. Travelers should take prudent precautions
to safeguard their credit card and report any suspected unauthorized
transactions to the credit card company immediately. Racially
motivated verbal and, on occasion, physical harassment of Americans
of non-Caucasian ethnicity can occur. If an incident occurs, it
should be reported to the U.S. Embassy.
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 can 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,
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: The quality of medical care in Estonia
is improving, but it still falls short of Western standards. Estonia
has many highly trained medical professionals, but hospitals and
clinics still suffer from a lack of equipment and resources. Elderly
travelers and those with health problems may be at increased risk.
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. 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 by autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Cases of resistant strains of
tuberculosis have been reported in Estonia. Visitors to forest
areas in warm weather also should guard against tick-borne encephalitis.
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 that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Estonia 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: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Driving in Estonia is more dangerous than in the United States.
Aggressive driving is the norm, and many roads are not up to Western
standards. Wild animals, such as moose, and icy road conditions
can create unexpected hazards. Driving at night, especially in
the countryside, can be particularly risky. Local law requires
that headlights be turned on while driving during the day as well
as at night. Use of seatbelts by all pssengers is required, and
children too small to be secure in seatbelts must use child car
seats. The speed limit is 50 km/h out of town unless otherwise
indicated. A right turn on a red light is prohibited unless otherwise
indicated by a green arrow. Laws against driving under the influence
of alcohol are strict and follow a policy of zero tolerance. It
is not uncommon for the police to set up checkpoints on major
streets, and drivers should pull over when asked. Americans planning
to drive in Estonia must obtain an international driver's license
prior to arrival.
For information about international driving permits, please contact
AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance. The Eesti Autoklubi
(Estonian Auto Club), which is affiliated with AAA, provides emergency
roadside assistance. Drivers do not need to be a member to receive
assistance, however, the fees charged are higher for non-members.
The number to call for roadside vehicle assistance and towing
service is 118. For ambulance, fire or police assistance the number
is 112. Please note that for both numbers, the level of English
spoken by the operator answering may be minimal.
For additional information about road
safety, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular
Affairs home page road safety overseas feature at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY AND OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct air
commercial service at present between the United States and Estonia,
nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Estonia's Civil
Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Estonia's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA 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 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
Estonia's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Estonia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Estonia's 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, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet
in the United States. For additional information, please call
(202) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit
http://www.uscib.org for details.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child support enforcement issues, 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 living in
or visiting Estonia are encouraged to register at the Consular
Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on
travel and security within Estonia. The
U.S. Embassy in Tallinn is located at Kentmanni 20, telephone
(372) 668-8100; fax (372) 668-8267; emergency cell phone (011)(372)509-2129,
if dialed from the U.S., and 0-509-2129 if dialed from within
Estonia. The Embassy's home page on the Internet is at http://www.usemb.ee.