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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Spain - Andorra

Spain and Andorra - Consular Information Sheet
April 4, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Spain and Andorra are both highly developed and stable democracies with modern economies. Additional information may be obtained from the Tourist Office of Spain, telephone: (212) 265-8822, or via the Internet at http://www.okspain.org.

Entry Requirements: passport required. A visa is not required for tourist or business stays of up to 90 days. For further information concerning entry requirements for Spain, travelers should contact the Embassy of Spain at 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone (202) 728-2330, or the nearest Spanish Consulate in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, or San Juan. The web site of the Spanish Embassy in the United States is: http://www.spainemb.org. Further information on Andorra should be obtained from the Andorran Mission to the U.N., 2 U.N. Plaza, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10018, telephone (212) 750-8064.

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 Spanish laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Spanish citizens. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The ETA Basque terrorist organization remains active in Spain. ETA efforts have historically been directed against police, military, and other Spanish government targets. Since November 1999 ETA has conducted scores of attacks, resulting in over two dozen deaths. In March 2001, ETA issued a communique announcing its intention to target Spanish tourist areas. While ETA has targeted tourist areas in the past, the size and the location of past bombings suggest that they were not intended to cause serious injury. Since 1999, a smaller Marxist group, GRAPO, has mounted several attacks, and has killed three people. Americans have not been the specific targets of the attacks of either of these groups.

CRIME: While most of Spain has a low rate of violent crime, the principal tourist areas are experiencing increasing crime directed against tourists. Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, have reported a growing incidence of muggings by gangs brandishing weapons and/or using force. Travelers using public transportation should be alert to the potential for muggings or pickpocketings. Crimes such as pickpocketing, robbery, and theft from cars are frequent, and scams are often employed. For example, thieves often attempt to distract their victims by squirting mustard on their clothing, asking for directions on the street, or otherwise diverting attention from an accomplice. Thefts of small items like radios, luggage, camera or briefcases from parked cars are a common problem. Roadside thieves posing as "Good Samaritans" to persons experiencing car and tire problems typically attempt to divert the driver's attention by pointing out a mechanical problem, and then steal items from the vehicle while the driver is looking elsewhere. Drivers should be extremely cautious about accepting help from anyone other than a uniformed Spanish police officer or Civil Guard. Travelers who accept unofficial assistance are advised to protect their valuables by keeping them in sight or locking them in the vehicle. Andorra has a low rate of crime.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately 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 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: Good medical care is available. 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. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.

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 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, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs, found it life-saving. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please 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 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 Spain is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

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

Traffic in Madrid and Barcelona is faster-paced than in U.S. cities. Night driving on Fridays and Saturdays in urban areas may be dangerous due to drivers under the influence of alcohol. Night driving in isolated rural areas can be dangerous because of farm animals and poorly marked roads. Traffic is generally heavier in July and August as well as during the Christmas and Easter seasons.

Public transportation in large cities is generally excellent. Taxi services are relatively inexpensive, although taxi drivers occasionally overcharge tourists coming from the airport. Travelers are advised to use registered cabs only.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Spanish driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Spanish national tourist organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.okspain.org.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Spain's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Spain's air carrier operations.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 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 DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. or one of Spain's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. This is especially important if you are attempting to send any medications to Spain through postal channels.

Spain'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 atacarnet@uscib.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

CRIMINALPENALTIES: 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 Spanish law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Spain are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and 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 LOCATIONS: Americans living in or visiting Spain or Andorra are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid or at the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona where they may obtain updated information on travel and security within Spain or Andorra. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain is located at Serrano 75; telephone (34)(91) 587-2200, and fax (34)(91) 587-2303. U.S. citizens who register in the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate listed below can obtain updated information on travel and security within Spain or Andorra. Additional information is also available through the U.S. Embassy's Internet homepage at http://www.embusa.es/indexbis.html.

There is a U.S. Consulate in Barcelona, at Paseo Reina Elisenda 23-25; telephone (34)(93) 280-2227 and fax (34)(93) 205-5206.

There are also Consular Agencies in the following locations:

Malaga, at Avenida Juan Gomez Juanito #8, Edificio Lucia 1C, 29640, Fuengirola,
telephone (34)(952)474-891 and fax (34)(952) 465-189, hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.;

La Coruna, at Canton Grande 16-17, telephone (34)(981) 213-233 and fax (34)(981) 222-808,
hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.;

Las Palmas, at Edificio Arca, Calle Los Martinez de Escobar 3, Oficina 7, telephone (34)(928) 222-552 and fax (34)(928) 225-863, hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.;

Palma de Mallorca, Ave. Jaime III, 26 Entresuelo, 2-H-1 (97), telephone (34)(971) 725-051 and fax (34)(971) 718-755, hours 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.;

Seville, at Paseo de Las Delicias 7, telephone
(34)(954) 231-885 and fax (34)(954) 232-040, hours 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.;

Valencia, at Doctor Romagosa #1, 2-J, 46002, Valencia telephone(34)(96)-351-6973 and
fax (34)(96) 352-9565, hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For Andorra, please contact the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona.

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