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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Malta

Malta - Consular Information Sheet
June 14, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Malta is a small, developed, democratic Mediterranean island nation, positioned as a cultural and political stepping-stone between Europe and North Africa. Tourist facilities of all categories are widely available.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for stays of up to 90 days. For more information concerning entry requirements for Malta, travelers should contact the Embassy of Malta at 2017 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel: (202) 462-3611, or the Maltese Consulate in New York City, tel: (212) 725-2345.

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.

CRIME: Malta has a low rate of violent crime. Incidents of pickpocketing and purse-snatching are relatively rare; however, break-ins and thefts from parked vehicles and thefts of cars are on the increase. Caution is urged in the Paceville nightclubs area, as excessive drinking and poor crowd control combine to create conditions that may aggravate a minor incident into a brawl. 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 may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a 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: Medical care is available through public and private hospitals. The service at the public hospitals is not always up to the standards of private hospitals. In addition, most of the best doctors are found in the private medical facilities.

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, 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, which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Malta is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

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

Traffic flows on the left and this takes some adjustment for visitors from right-hand drive countries such as the United States. Additionally, visitors should exercise extreme caution, as drivers may be erratic. Roads flood easily, and they are often narrow, winding, and congested, with poor visibility around curves. Traffic arteries are prone to bottlenecks and serious accidents, often due to drivers' inexperience in merging or due to excessive speed. Buses are the primary means of public transportation, but they are rather old and uncomfortable and are not equipped for the heat of summer. Taxis are safe but expensive.

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 Malta driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance contact the Malta national tourist organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.visitmalta.com.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Malta's civil aviation authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Malta'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 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 DOD at (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Malta'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 Malta's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malta 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/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Malta are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Malta and obtain updated information on travel and security within Malta. The U.S. Embassy is located on the third floor of Development House, St. Anne Street, Floriana, Valletta. The Consular Section's telephone number is (356) 235-960, fax: (356) 243-229, and the Embassy website address is U.S.Embassy@kemmunet.net.mt.

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