Portugal - Consular Information Sheet
September 8, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Portugal is a developed and stable
democracy with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for entry
into Portugal. A visa is not required for tourist or business
stays of up to 60 days. Portuguese law requires some non-European
Union foreign nationals to register with immigration officials
within three days of entering Portugal. The law affects those
who transit a Schengen country (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and
the Netherlands) by air en route to Portugal and stay at noncommercial
accommodations. For further information concerning entry requirements
for Portugal, travelers may contact the Embassy of Portugal at
2125 Kalorama Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 328-8610,
or the Portuguese consulates in Boston, MA; New Bedford, MA; Providence,
RI; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; San Francisco, CA; or Los Angeles,
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Portuguese laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also
be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Portuguese
citizens. U.S. citizens who are considered to have acquired Portuguese
citizenship may be subject to certain aspects of Portuguese law
such as mandatory voting and military service. For additional
information, please see the
Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
for our flyer on dual nationality.
CRIME INFORMATION: Though Portugal has a relatively low
rate of violent crime, petty crime against tourists is on the
rise in continental Portugal. Travelers may become targets of
pickpockets and purse-snatchers, particularly at popular tourist
sites, restaurants, and on public transportation. Rental cars
and vehicles with non-local license plates are targets for break-ins,
and travelers should remove all luggage from vehicles upon parking.
Travelers should also avoid using Automatic Teller Machines in
isolated or poorly lit areas. Drivers in continental Portugal
should keep car doors locked when stopped at intersections. In
general, visitors to Portugal should carry limited cash and credit
cards, and leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents
at home or in a hotel safe.
While thieves may operate anywhere, the U.S. Embassy receives
frequent reports of theft from the following areas:
Lisbon Area: Pick-pocketing and purse-snatching in the Lisbon
area occur in buses, restaurants, the airport, trains, train stations,
and trams, especially tram number twenty-eight to the Castle of
Sao Jorge. Gangs of youths have robbed passengers on the Lisbon-Cascais
train. At restaurants, thieves snatch items hung over the backs
of chairs or placed on the floor. There have been reports of theft
of unattended luggage from the Lisbon airport. Special care should
be taken at the Santa Apolonia and Rosso train stations, the Alfama
and Bairro Alto districts, the Castle of Sao Jorge and Belem.
Other Areas: Thefts have been reported in Sintra, Cascais, Mafra
and Fatima. Automobile break-ins occur in parking areas at tourist
attractions and near restaurants. Special care should be taken
in parking at the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace in Sintra; and
at the beachfront areas of Guincho, Cabo da Roca, and Boca do
Azores: In contrast to continental Portugal, pick-pocketing
and purse-snatching are not common occurrences in the Azores.
There are no reports of organized crime or gangs.
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. The emergency number for medical and police assistance
is 112. 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 AND INSURANCE: Medical facilities
are available in Portugal, but in some cases they may not meet
U.S. standards. 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 payment for health
services. Uninsured travelers who require health care overseas
may face extreme difficulties.
Plea Please check with your 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, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov or
autofax service at (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 traveler's
hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or by visiting the
CDC Internet home page 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 Portugal 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: Good to Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair to Poor
Availability of roadside Assistance: Good to Fair
Portugal has one of the highest rates of automobile accidents
and fatalities in Europe. Portuguese driving habits, high speeds,
and poorly marked roads pose special hazards. In continental Portugal,
fines for traffic violations are substantial and usually must
be paid on the spot. Taxis are a reliable means of transportation,
though travelers should pay attention to discrepancies between
the meter fare and the amount requested by the driver. Buses are
reliable and inexpensive.
In the Azores, driving can be treacherous due to narrow cobblestone
streets, blind curves, unprotected embankments, herds of cows
in the countryside roads, and the high speeds of other drivers.
In contrast to the continent, traffic violations are registered
by radar and later forwarded to the offender via the postal service
- payments are not made on the spot. Taxis do not have meters.
The fare consists of a base fee plus a posted rate per kilometer
traveled. Public buses are inexpensive. Bus services begin at
7 a.m. and generally operate until 8 p.m. depending on the destination.
U.S. visitors to Portugal may drive with a valid U.S. driver's
license for up to six months. For international driving permits,
please contact AAA in the U.S. at tel. 1-800-222-4357. For specific
information concerning Portuguese driver's permits, vehicle inspection
and mandatory insurance, please contact the
Portuguese National Tourist Office by telephone at 1-800-767-8842
or via the Internet at http://www.portugal.org.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Portugal's
Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for oversight of Portugal's air carrier
operations. For further information, travelers may contact the
Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA's 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 tel. (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Portuguese customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Portugal of such items as firearms, antiquities,
medications, business equipment, sales samples and other items.
It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Portugal in Washington,
D.C. or one of the Portuguese consulates in the U.S. for specific
information regarding Customs requirements. Portugal'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
(212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to email@example.com, 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
Portuguese laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Portugal are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Portugal has a history of infrequent
but severe seismic activity. Responsibility for caring for disaster
victims, including foreigners, rests with the Portuguese authorities.
General information regarding disaster preparedness is available
via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home page
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information
on international adoption 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 LOCATIONS: Americans
living in or visiting Portugal may register at the Consular section
U.S. Embassy in Lisbon and obtain updated information on travel
and security within Portugal. The Embassy is located on Avenida
das Forηas Armadas,Sete Rios, telephone (351)(21) 727-3300, fax
(351)(21) 726-9109, Internet home page: http://www.american-embassy.pt.
The U.S. Consulate is located in Ponta Delgada on the island of
San Miguel in the Azores. The address is Avenida D. Henrique,
telephone (351)(96) 282216/ 7/ 8/ 9. There is also a Consular
Agency located in Funchal, Madeira, on Rua Tentente Coronel Sarmento,Ed.
Infante, Bloco b-4 Andar, Apt. B, 9000 Funchal, telephone (351)(29)
174-3429 orFax (351)(29) 174-3808, open Monday through Friday
from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.