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Home / General Travel Tips /
XYZ Consular Info: Croatia

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XYZ Consular Info: Croatia

Croatia Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 30, 2002
Country Description: Croatia is a moderately developed nation in transition to a market economy. Facilities for tourism are available throughout the country, and the Adriatic coast is an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Entry Requirements: A passport is required for travel to Croatia. A visa is not required for U.S. passport holders for tourist or business trips of less than 90 days. Visas are required for all other types of stays and must be obtained prior to arrival in the country. Unless the traveler is staying at a hotel, all foreign citizens must register with the local police within 48 hours of arrival. Failure to register is a misdemeanor offense: some Americans have been fined and/or expelled as a result of their failure to register. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Croatia at 2343 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 588-5899 or from the Croatian Consulates in New York City, Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Croatian embassy or consulate. The Internet home page of the Croatian embassy in Washington is http://www.croatiaemb.org.
Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Croatian citizens. The government of Croatia does not recognize the U.S. citizenship of persons who are citizens of both Croatia and the United States. This may hinder the ability of a U.S. Consular officer to assist U.S. citizens who do not enter Croatia on a U.S. passport. Dual nationals may also be subject to national obligations, such as taxes and military service. Travelers should contact a Croatian embassy or consulate for further information. For additional information, see the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our dual nationality flyer.
Safety and Security: Although fighting in all parts of the country ended in 1995, the conflict over Croatia's independence led to the laying of land mines on Croatian territory, mostly along the former confrontation lines. De-mining is not complete; marking of mined areas is similarly incomplete. Travelers in former conflict areas, including the Danube region (eastern Slavonia) and the former Krajina, should exercise caution and not stray from known safe roads and areas. Mine clearance work often leads to the closure of major roads, including roads to the coast.
There are occasional attacks targeted at specific persons or property as a result of organized criminal activity or actions prompted by ethnic tensions residual from Croatia's war for independence.
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 countries, 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. 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. It 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: Health facilities in Croatia, although generally of Western caliber, are under severe budgetary strains. Some medicines are in short supply in public hospitals and clinics. The number of private medical and dental practitioners is substantial, and private pharmacies stock a variety of medicines not readily available through public health facilities. Croatian health care facilities, doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services.
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 a 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. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, 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 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 Croatia 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: good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: fair
Since gaining independence in 1991, 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, and drivers can be aggressive. In Zagreb, motorists and pedestrians alike must also pay special attention to trams (streetcars), which in downtown areas may travel at a high rate of speed through the narrow, congested streets. Primary roads are generally adequate, but most have only one lane in each direction, including roads going to and from the coast. Coastal roads are narrow and congested, and tend to be very slippery when wet. Right turns on red lights are strictly forbidden in Croatia, unless an additional green light (in the shape of an arrow) allows it. At unmarked intersections, right of way is always to the vehicle entering from the right. Front seat belts are obligatory and passengers in vehicles equipped with rear seat belts are required to use them.
The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Croatia is .05 percent. Police routinely spot-check motorists for drinking and driving and will administer breathalyzer tests at even the most minor accident. Drivers who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer are automatically presumed to have admitted to driving while intoxicated. In case of accidents resulting in death or serious injury, Croatian law obligates police to take blood samples to test blood alcohol levels. 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.
Within Croatia, emergency road help and information may be reached by dialing 987, a service of the Croatian Automobile Association (HAK), staffed by English speaking operators. The police can be reached by dialing 92 and ambulance by dialing 94. Additional road condition and safety information may be obtained from HAK at tel. (385)(1) 455-4433, or via their web page, www.hak.hr.
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 additional information on road conditions specific to Croatia, see the U.S. Embassy home page at www.usembassy.hr/consular/traffic.htm. For specific information concerning Croatian driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Croatian National Tourist Office, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4003, New York, NY 10118; phone 1-800-829-4416 or 212-278-8672; fax 212-279-8683.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers between the United States and Croatia at present, nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Croatia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA 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. (618) 229-4801.
Customs Regulations: Croatian 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. N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Croatia in Washington or one of Croatia's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they travel. Such laws 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 Croatian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Croatia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
Special Circumstances: With the proliferation of automated teller machines and ever-wider acceptance of credit cards in Croatia, traveler's checks are accepted less and less frequently or exchanged at an unfavorable rate.
Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction please refer to our Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
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) 661-2300, Internet home page: http://www.usembassy.hr. On weekends, holidays, and after hours, an Embassy duty officer can be reached at tel. (385)(1) 661-2400 or (385)(91) 455-2247.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated November 6, 2000. It updates information on Safety and Security, Medical Insurance, Dual Nationality, Children's Issues, and Embassy telephone numbers.