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State Department: Croatia - Consular Information Sheet, December 24, 1997

Croatia - Consular Information Sheet
December 24, 1997

Country Description: Croatia is an independent nation, formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia.

Entry Requirements: A passport is required. For tourist or business trips of less than 90 days, a visa is not required for U.S. passport holders. Visas are required for all other types of stays in Croatia. Croatian authorities require foreigners to register with local police when they first arrive in a new area of the country. This is usually handled in routine fashion during hotel registration. However, failure to register is a misdemeanor offense, and some Americans have been subjected to expulsion from the country and fines. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Croatia at 2343 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20008, tel: (202) 588-5899 or Croatian consulates in New York City, Cleveland, Chicago or Los Angeles. Overseas, inquiries may be made to the nearest Croatian embassy or consulate.

Areas of Instability: The Dayton and Erdut Peace Agreements ended fighting and reduced tension in the region. Governing authority over the remaining formerly Serb-held area of Eastern Slavonia will be transferred from the United Nations to the Government of Croatia on January 15, 1998. While travel there is possible, there continue to be isolated incidents of violence and civil unrest, and there is risk of bodily harm due to mines and unexploded ordnance.

Medical Facilities: Health facilities in Croatia, although generally of Western caliber, are under severe strain. Some medicines are in short supply. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical coverage is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provision for medical evacuation, has proven to be useful. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international traveler's hotline at (404) 332-4559 or Internet:

Crime Information: Croatia has a relatively low crime rate, and violent crime is rare. Foreigners do not appear to be singled out; however, as in many cities, displays of wealth increase chances of becoming the victim of a pickpocket or mugger. Such crimes are more likely to occur in bus or railroad stations. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables and protecting personal safety while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad." It is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Terrorist Activities: There are no known indigenous terrorist groups in Croatia. However, foreign terrorists have been known to transit and operate in the area.

Currency Information: Credit cards and traveler's checks are more widely used than previously, but still not accepted everywhere.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Road Safety/Traffic Conditions: Since gaining independence, Croatia has seen an increase in the number of cars, leading to heavy congestion on major routes on weekends (towards the coast, for example) and in major cities during rush hour. Parking can be difficult and expensive in city centers. Drivers can be aggressive and, in Zagreb, motorists must also pay special attention to trams (streetcars). Primary roads are generally adequate, but most have only one lane in each direction, including roads to and from the coast. Drivers traveling through former conflict areas should stay on paved roads to reduce the risk of encountering mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the war. Emergency road help and information may be reached by dialing 987. Additional road condition and safety information may be obtained from the Croatian Automobile Association (HAK) at telephone number (385-1) 455-4433.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Croatia. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb is located at Andrije Hebranga 2, tel. (385-1) 455-5500.

No. 97-172

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 25, 1997, to update areas of instability.

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