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State Department: Croatia - Consular Information Sheet, August 23, 1995


Croatia - Consular Information Sheet
August 23, 1995

Warning: The United States Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Croatia because of the potential for rapid deterioration of the security situation there. In early August 1995, a number of cities were shelled during a Croatian military offensive into the Serb-held Krajina region. While fighting in that region has subsided, Croatian cities near Serb-held areas of Bosnia and Croatia are still targeted by rebel Serb forces. These include Dubrovnik, Kutina, and Osijek. In the recently embattled areas, mines, unexploded ordnance and bands of armed combatants pose risks to travelers.

Despite unsettled conditions in parts of Croatia, the main cities of Zagreb, Rijeka and Split, as well as the Istrian Peninsula and islands north of Makarska, are beyond the range of Serb shells and are largely unaffected by fighting.

Country Description: Croatia is an independent nation, formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia. Facilities for tourism are fully developed although not always accessible in the unstable areas of the country.

Entry Requirements: A passport and visa are required. While the visa can usually be issued at the port of entry, obtaining it in advance from a Croatian embassy or consulate may prevent potential complications at the border. 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 technically a misdemeanor offense, and some Americans have been subjected to arrest, short-term imprisonment, and fines. Additional information on entry requirements can be obtained from the Embassy of Croatia at 2343 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 588-5899 or the Croatian Consulate General, 369 Lexington Ave., New York, New York, 10017.

Areas of Instability: In May and August, 1995, Croatian government forces recaptured territory formerly controlled by rebel Serb forces. This area includes western Slavonia and the Krajina region bordering Bosnia. While it is increasingly possible to travel there, the risk of mines, unexploded ordnance, and armed combatants still exists.

The area of eastern Slavonia is still under rebel-Serb control and has been a recent launching site for artillery attacks on Osijek and other nearby villages.

Areas bordering Serb-held territory in Bosnia, e.g. Dubrovnik and Orasje, are also subject to shelling.

The city of Rijeka and the Istrian Peninsula in western Croatia remain largely unaffected by the fighting, and are accessible by road from Slovenia and by ferry from Italy.

Visitors who stay abreast of developments and familiarize themselves with local protective shelters, police stations, and hospitals reduce the risk to their safety. Crossing Serb lines or checkpoints may be dangerous.

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. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proven to be useful. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559.

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 abroad 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 security 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.

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

Terrorist Activities: There have been isolated terrorist bombing incidents in Zagreb in recent years, but these seldom resulted in personal injuries. Though no major incidents were reported in the last year, some crude, small-scale bombs have been used against property in incidents that police suspect are linked to crime or ethnic tensions.

Other Information: If stopped at a check point, travelers are expected to be courteous and follow instructions. Many parts of the UN protected areas are under the control of undisciplined militia groups with which the U.S. Embassy has little contact or influence.

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.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens may register at the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb and receive updated information on travel and security within Croatia. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb is located at Andrije Hebranga 2, tel. (385-1) 456-000.

No. 95-098

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated June 28, 1995 to update the warning and areas of instability.

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