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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet

Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Yugoslavia

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Consular Information Sheet
August 15, 2001

TRAVEL WARNING (ISSUED FEBRUARY 14, 2001): The Department of State cautions U.S. Citizens of the potential danger of travel to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The U.S. Government established diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on November 17, 2000. Persons considering travel to the FRY should note the conditions described below.

Neither the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade nor the U.S. Office in Pristina, Kosovo, is currently staffed to provide consular services to American citizens.

Serbia: No specific threats or incidents of harassment involving American citizens have been reported since the Kostunica government took office in October, 2000. However, a potential for hostility towards U.S. citizens still exists as a result of the 1999 conflict between members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Serbian forces. Ethnic tensions in the ground safety zone, a five kilometer wide zone separating Kosovo from Serbia, have provoked outbursts of violence against Serb police and military positions. Other hazards include damaged infrastructure and unexploded ordnance scattered throughout the country.

Montenegro: The security situation for Americans in Montenegro is generally better than in Serbia. While Montenegrin authorities have declared visas unnecessary for Americans to travel to Montenegro, the Yugoslav federal government has requested that Americans obtain FRY visas for travel to Montenegro. The Department of State strongly advises American citizens not to attempt travel to Serbia or Montenegro without a valid Yugoslav visa.

Kosovo: The situation in Kosovo remains unsettled and potentially dangerous. Despite the deployment of Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops throughout the province, and United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) attempts to re-establish civil authority, some civil institutions in Kosovo, including the criminal justice system, are not fully functioning. Incidents of violence in Kosovo continue to be reported. Landmines remain in some areas. Road conditions can be extremely hazardous as roads are narrow, crowded, and used by a variety of vehicles, from KFOR armored personnel carriers to horse drawn carts. The reliability of telecommunications, electric and water systems remains a problem. Travel by U.S. Government officials to and within Kosovo, particularly to areas that have experienced recent ethnic violence, is subject to restrictions.

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is a moderately developed European country. The country underwent a significant political change in October 2000. Tourist facilities are widely available, but conditions vary considerably and some services and supplies taken for granted in other European countries may be unavailable.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens require a passport and visa. Visas should be obtained prior to arriving in Yugoslavia. However, a visa is not required during the summer holiday season from July 5 to September 30, 2001. Tourist passes valid for thirty days will be issued at international border crossings. To obtain a visa, contact The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Washington at telephone (202) 332-0333 or fax (202) 332-3933. The address of the Embassy is 2410 California Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008 and the website is http://www.mfa.gov.yu. Registration With Local Authorities: Visitors staying in private homes must register with police officials upon arrival; failure to comply may result in a fine, incarceration, and/or expulsion. Visitors staying in hotels are automatically registered with the police by the hotel.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: See the Travel Warning above.

CRIME: In recent years there has been an increase in street crime in the large cities. This may partially be attributed to difficult economic conditions and to the growth of an organized criminal class. While confrontational and gratuitously violent crimes rarely target tourists, Mafia-style reprisals can occur anywhere, including hotels, restaurants and shops. Theft and carjacking, especially of four-wheel drive vehicles and luxury cars, occur at all times of day or night and in all sections of Belgrade and other parts of the country. Several high-profile murders and kidnappings in recent years remain unsolved. As in other parts of the world, travelers should be especially on guard near railroad and bus stations, on public transport and while walking in city centers. In case of emergency, the police telephone number is 92.

The loss or theft of a U.S. passport overseas should be reported immediately to the local police and nearest U.S. embassy. Replacement of a lost or stolen passport and the required Yugoslav exit visa may take up to ten days. 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 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: Although many physicians in Yugoslavia are highly trained, hospitals and clinics are generally not equipped and maintained to Western standards. Medicines and basic medical supplies are largely obtainable in privately owned pharmacies. Hospitals usually require payment in cash for all services.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider 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, 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, which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety Of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Poor
Availability Of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Dangerous areas for road travel are "Ibarska Magistrala," and a road called "Moraca Canyon". Ibarska Magistrala is the main road from Serbia to Montenegro, a two-lane road running through central Serbia, in bad condition and usually overcrowded. Moraca Canyon in Montenegro is a twisting, two-lane road that is especially overcrowded in summer. Road conditions in Kosovo can be extremely hazardous as roads are narrow, crowded, and used by a variety of vehicles, from KFOR armored personnel carriers to horse drawn carts.

Metered taxi service is safe and reasonably priced, although foreigners are sometimes charged higher rates. Buses and trams are overcrowded in Belgrade and in other areas of Yugoslavia and are poorly maintained. Some improvement in the quality of public transportation has been noted recently with the introduction of buses and trams obtained from other countries in Europe.

Travelers entering the country by road should be aware that purchase of local third-party insurance is required. In addition, road tolls for foreign-registered vehicles are very high.

The use of seat belts is mandatory. A driver with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05 is considered intoxicated. Roadside assistance is available by dialing 987. Other emergency numbers are police: 92, fire department: 93, and ambulance: 94.

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 Yugoslavian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, see the National Tourism Organization of Serbia Internet home page at http://www.serbia-info.com/NTOS. See also road safety information from the Yugoslav Automotive Association at http://www.amsj.co.yu/eng/eindex.html.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Yugoslavia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Yugoslavia'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's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. 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 DOD at (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Travelers are required to declare all currency upon entry and obtain from customs officials a declaration form that must be presented at departure. Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of all funds. In the past, American travelers have had thousands of dollars of such unclaimed funds confiscated by customs authorities. Travelers should obtain the necessary forms at ports of entry.

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 Yugoslav laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Yugoslavia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Travelers should carry sufficient cash for their stay. Personal checks and travelers' checks generally are not accepted. Although a limited number of hotels and restaurants now accept credit cards, their use is still not widespread. Travelers expecting to pay bills with a credit card should check in advance whether the hotel or restaurant accepts a particular credit card.

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 AND EMBASSY LOCATION: At present the U.S. Embassy is not staffed to accept walk-in registration. Instead American citizens are strongly encouraged to register their presence in Yugoslavia by (1) calling 011-301-1234 to register by telephone or to obtain a mail-in registration form or (2) requesting a registration form by leaving your address and telephone number at the Internet address: amconblg@hotmail.com. American Embassy in Belgrade is located at 48 Kneza Milosa Street, phone (381) (11) 646-924 for American Citizens Services or (381) (11) 645-655 for the Embassy Switchboard.

U.S. citizens who plan on traveling to Kosovo should register at the U.S. Office in Pristina by telephone (873-762-029-525). However, the U.S. Office in Pristina cannot provide routine consular services such as passport and visa issuance. No visa is required to enter Kosovo, but entry to Serbia from Kosovo should not be attempted without a valid Yugoslav visa.

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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet issued on February 28, 2001 to update sections on Entry Requirements, Medical Insurance, and Registration and Embassy Location.



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