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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet

Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Finland

Finland - Consular Information Sheet
August 14, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Finland is a highly developed democracy with a modern economy. It is a member of the European Union. Tourist facilities are widely available.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist or business stays of up to 90 days. For additional information concerning entry requirements, travelers can contact the Embassy of Finland at 3301 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20008, tel: (202) 298-5800, or the Finnish Consulate General in Los Angeles or New York. Additional information is available via the Internet at http://www.finland.org.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all Finnish laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Finnish citizens. For additional information, see the Dual Nationality flyer.

CRIME: Although the crime rate in Finland is low compared to the U.S. and most European countries, it has increased approximately 15 percent since 1998. However, Finland remains a relatively safe environment. Americans visiting Finland are seldom victims of crime, but visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables. The same precautions employed in the U.S. should be followed in Finland. Finnish police services are excellent; however, some police officers speak little English. The telephone number for police and other emergency services throughout Finland is 112. All forms of public transportation are considered safe. Street crimes, such as muggings and pick-pocketing, remain relatively uncommon, but do occur. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy. 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: Medical facilities are widely available for emergency services. The public hospital system and many private hospitals honor foreign credit cards.

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

Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent

Finland has an extensive network of highways throughout the country, as well as excellent public transportation services. Travelers should be aware that drunk driving laws are strict, and acceptable blood alcohol levels are much lower in Finland than in the U.S. Police strictly enforce all traffic laws and institute random roadside Breathalyzer tests. Those drivers who register a .05 or above alcohol content are subject to immediate arrest. If driving regulations and traffic signs differ significantly from those in the U.S. Visitors should be familiar with both prior to operating a vehicle in Finland. Driving in Finland during the winter months can be hazardous. Icy road conditions are common. If driving in Finland, the vehicle must be winterized with studded snow tires and engine heaters are strongly recommended. When driving at night, drivers must be alert to moose wandering onto major roadways. There have been incidents of moose being struck by vehicles, causing severe damage to the vehicle and even death to the occupants. For specific information concerning Finnish driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Finland National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.mek.fi. The e-mail address is med@mek.fi.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Finland's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Finland's 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's Internet website 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 (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Finland'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 call 212-354-4480, send an e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

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 Finland's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Finland 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 (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Finland are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki and obtain updated information on travel and security within Finland. The U.S. Embassy is located at Itainen Puistotie 14B; tel: 358-9-171931 or after hours tel 358-9-605414; fax 358-9-652057; e-mail consular@usembassy.fi; or visit the Embassy's Internet home page at http://www.usembassy.fi.

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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 23, 2000 to add sections on Dual Nationality and to update information on Entry Requirements, Medical Insurance, Other Health Information and Aviation Safety Oversight.



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