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State Department: Croatia - Consular Information Sheet, January 26, 1996


Croatia - Consular Information Sheet
January 26, 1996

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 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 a misdemeanor offense, and some Americans have been subjected to arrest, short-term imprisonment, and fines. Additional information on entry requirements may 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 in New York City.

Areas of Instability: In 1995, Croatian government forces recaptured territory formerly controlled by rebel Serb forces. This area includes western Slavonia and the Krajina region. While travel there is possible, considerable risk of bodily harm caused by mines and unexploded ordnance continues to exist.

The Dayton peace accords have reduced fighting and tension in the region. The remaining rebel-Serb-held area of eastern Slavonia is to be placed under U.N. supervision for a period of gradual reintegration into Croatian government control -- a process beginning in January 1996. Travelers who cross Serb lines before U.N. supervision is fully established may run the risk of harassment or arbitrary detention.

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, including provision for medical evacuation, 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 not accepted everywhere.

Terrorist Activities: A car bomb exploded in the coastal city of Rijeka in late 1995, killing the car's driver and injuring bystanders. News reports attribute the bombing to a militant Islamic organization. While many legitimate Islamic relief organizations work in Croatia and Bosnia, it is generally known that militant Islamic fighters have operated in Bosnia in considerable numbers and that some of their support organizations are in Croatia and may be involved in terrorist activities.

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 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) 456-5500

No. 96-004

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated August 23, 1995 to delete the travel warning and update areas of instability and terrorist activities.

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