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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Mozambique

Mozambique - Consular Information Sheet
February 1, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Mozambique, a developing country in southern Africa, ended a 16-year civil war in 1992. The country has remained stable following Mozambique's first multi-party elections in October 1994 and subsequent elections in December 1999. Mozambique is among the world's poorest countries. Facilities for tourism in Maputo, the capital city, are steadily improving but remain limited in other areas, as most of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Extensive flooding in early 2000 damaged much of the country's fledgling infrastructure. Recovery from the floods could take years.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A visa is required and must be obtained in advance. Travelers arriving without a visa will not be allowed to enter and will be turned away at the port of entry. Mozambican authorities impose a fine of $100 U.S. per day for each day that travelers overstay the period of validity of their visas. These fines can be paid in local currency based on the current exchange rate. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of Mozambique, 1990 M Street, N. W., Suite 570, Washington, D. C. 20036, telephone (202) 293-7146. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Mozambican Embassy or Consulate.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The security situation in Mozambique continues to demand caution. Thousands of landmines laid during the civil war remain a threat, and overland travelers are advised to remain on well-traveled roads or to ask locals for information on the location of minefields. Urban streets are patrolled by police who frequently carry automatic weapons and whose authority should not be challenged. Police officers often require visitors to produce identity and travel documents. Visitors are cautioned to carry their passport or resident permit (or a notarized copy), as well as vehicle registration and insurance papers, if applicable, at all times. Failure to produce the required documents may result in detention or a fine. Demonstrations or large crowds should be avoided. Security forces have used deadly force to disrupt demonstrations.

CRIME: Crime remains a serious concern for residents and visitors in Mozambique. Incidents of armed robberies, home invasions, and carjackings are common, and many criminals actively target foreigners. Individuals, including foreigners, have been injured and in some cases killed. With the exception of highway banditry and carjackings, crime is generally more common in urban areas than in rural areas. Traveling alone or at night is particularly risky. Pedestrians and joggers have been mugged and robbed during daylight hours. Visitors are encouraged to avoid walking alone or in isolated areas. In certain areas in the city of Maputo, primarily near the presidential residence and offices, pedestrian traffic is prohibited. Government facilities should not be photographed without permission. Responsibility for crime prevention rests with a national police force that is poorly trained, poorly paid, and inadequately equipped to prevent or respond to criminal acts.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information on personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are 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 facilities are rudimentary, and many medicines are unavailable. Maputo's Sommerschield Clinic can provide general, non-emergency services.

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, but usually do accept credit cards. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.

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. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor 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 International Travelers Hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (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 which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Mozambique 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: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Extensive flooding in early 2000 damaged much of the country's fledgling infrastructure. Reconstruction of most roads damaged during the flooding has been successful, and travel on the roads north of Maputo is once again possible. Additionally, a new toll road has improved travel between Maputo and South Africa. However, banditry along major highways continues to threaten the safety of road travelers. Periodically, the U.S. Embassy has restricted Embassy personnel from traveling on certain roads or has imposed certain restrictions on road travel. Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling outside cities after dark because of the increased risk of banditry, poor road conditions in some areas, the poor maintenance of many vehicles in the country (e.g. no headlights or rear lights), as well as the threat imposed by livestock that graze on roadsides. Travel outside Maputo often requires four-wheel drive vehicles, which creates an additional security risk since these vehicles are high-theft items. Public transportation is extremely limited. Travelers contemplating overland travel may wish to contact the U.S. Embassy for the most current information on road travel safety.

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 Mozambique's driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Mozambique Embassy in Washington, DC. For international driving permits, contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

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 Mozambique, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Mozambique'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 DOD at (618) 229-4801.

CURRENCY INFORMATION: Currency can be converted only at locations authorized by the Mozambican government. It is against the law to destroy Mozambican currency; offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Outside of the major hotels, credit cards are not widely accepted in Mozambique. Many merchants prefer to be paid in U.S. dollars or South African rand.

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 Mozambique's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Mozambique 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 LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Mozambique are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique and obtain updated information on travel and security within Mozambique. The U.S. Embassy is located in Maputo at 193 Avenida Kenneth Kaunda, telephone (258-1) 49-27-97. The after-hours telephone number for use in emergencies is (258-1) 49-07-23. The Consular Section's fax number is (258-1) 49-01-14. The Consular Section's e-mail address is consularmaputo@state.gov.

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