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XYZ Consular Info: Swasiland

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XYZ Consular Info: Swasiland

Papercropped.jpg Swaziland Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 11, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Swaziland is a small developing nation in southern Africa. Several well-developed facilities for tourism are available. The capital is Mbabane.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Please contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 3400 International Drive, N.W., Suite 3M, Washington, D.C., 20008, (202) 362-6683 regarding visa requirements. Visas are not generally required for tourists and business travelers coming to Swaziland for short visits (less than 60 days) on standard U.S. passports.
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 and departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Civil unrest and disorder are rare. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the ongoing worldwide threat to U.S. Government facilities, the American Embassy in Mbabane has increased its security precautions and counter-terrorism measures.
CRIME INFORMATION: Petty street crime, primarily theft of money and personal property, occurs with some frequency. Since mid-1994, occasional armed hijacking of automobiles has taken place in Manzini and, less frequently, in Mbabane and outlying areas of Swaziland.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to 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 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: Medical facilities are limited throughout Swaziland. The Mbabane Clinic in the capital, though small, is well-equipped and well-staffed for minor procedures. For advanced care, Americans often choose to go to South Africa where up-to-date facilities and specialists may be found. A helipad is available at the Mbabane Clinic, and medical evacuation via fixed-wing aircraft is available from Matsapha Airport. Most prescription drugs are available or may be imported from South Africa. Quantities of prescription drugs for personal use may be brought into the country. While not necessary, a doctor's note describing the medication may be helpful if questioned by authorities.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: 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.
Please check with your own 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 if 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'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 that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Swaziland is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Swaziland has a basic network of paved, two-lane routes, including a new divided super-highway between the two largest cities, Mbabane and Manzini. However, the remaining routes are graded dirt roads, even in urban areas. Several other factors make driving in Swaziland hazardous. Traffic circulates on the left in Swaziland (as elsewhere in the region) rather than on the right, as in the United States. Many drivers travel at high rates of speed, well above the generally posted limit of 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. Except on stretches of super-highway, there is little lighting. Poor visibility is exacerbated by frequent fog conditions and severe storms, especially in the Highveld where Mbabane is located. Free-range cattle and people attempting to hitch rides along the roadways pose further hazards, especially at night.
For additional 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 Swazi driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Embassy of Swaziland.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the United States and Swaziland, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Swaziland's civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at 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. 1-618-229-4801.
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 Swazi law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Swaziland are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy 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 LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Swaziland are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Swaziland and obtain updated information on travel and security within Swaziland. The U.S. Embassy is located in the Central Bank Building on Warner Street in the capital city of Mbabane. The mailing address is Box 199, Mbabane, Swaziland. The telephone number is (268) 404-6441/5; fax (268) 404-5959.
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated November 1, 2000 to update the section on Safety and Security.