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XYZ Consular Info: Portugal
Portugal Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
May 8, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Portugal is a developed and stable democracy with a
modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for entry into Portugal. A visa
is not required for tourist or business stays of up to 90 days. Portuguese
law requires some non-European Union foreign nationals to register with
immigration officials within three days of entering Portugal. The law
affects those who transit a Schengen country (Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and The
Netherlands) by air en route to Portugal and stay at noncommercial
accommodations. For further information concerning entry requirements for
Portugal, travelers may contact the Embassy of Portugal at 2125 Kalorama
Road N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 328-8610, or the Portuguese
consulates in Boston, MA; New Bedford, MA; Providence, RI; New York, NY;
Newark, NJ; San Francisco, CA; or Los Angeles, CA.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all Portuguese laws
affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws
that impose special obligations on Portuguese citizens. U.S. citizens who
are considered to have acquired Portuguese citizenship may be subject to
certain aspects of Portuguese law such as mandatory voting and military
service. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home
page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our flyer on
CRIME INFORMATION: Though Portugal has a relatively low rate of violent
crime, petty crime against tourists is on the rise in continental Portugal.
Travelers may become targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers,
particularly at popular tourist sites, restaurants, and on public
transportation. Rental cars and vehicles with non-local license plates are
targets for break-ins, and travelers should remove all luggage from vehicles
upon parking. Travelers should also avoid using automatic teller machines in
isolated or poorly lit areas. Drivers in continental Portugal should keep
car doors locked when stopped at intersections.
In general, visitors to Portugal should carry limited cash and credit cards,
and leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents at home or in a
hotel safe. While thieves may operate anywhere, the U.S. Embassy receives
frequent reports of theft from the following areas:
Lisbon Area: Pick-pocketing and purse-snatching in the Lisbon area occur in
buses, restaurants, the airport, trains, train stations, and trams,
especially tram number twenty-eight to the Castle of Sao Jorge. Gangs of
youths have robbed passengers on the Lisbon-Cascais train. At restaurants,
thieves snatch items hung over the backs of chairs or placed on the floor.
There have been reports of theft of unattended luggage from the Lisbon
Airport. Special care should be taken at the Santa Apolonia and Rosso train
stations, the Alfama and Bairro Alto districts, the Castle of Sao Jorge and
Other Areas: Thefts have been reported in Sintra, Cascais, Mafra and
Fatima. Automobile break-ins occur in parking areas at tourist attractions
and near restaurants. Special care should be taken in parking at the
Moorish Castle and Pena Palace in Sintra; and at the beachfront areas of
Cabo da Roca, and Boca do Inferno.
Azores: In contrast to continental Portugal, pick-pocketing and
purse-snatching are not common occurrences in the Azores. There are no
reports of organized crime or gangs.
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. The
emergency number for medical and police assistance is 112. U.S. citizens
can 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 by
mail 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 AND INSURANCE: Medical facilities are available in
Portugal, but in some cases they may not meet U.S. standards. 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 health care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Please check
with your 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, Bureau of
Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling
Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
http://travel.state.gov or autofax service at (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 international traveler's hotline at
1-877-fyi-trip (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-cdc-faxx (1-888-232-3299), or by
visiting the CDC Internet home page 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 Portugal 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 to Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair to Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good to Fair
Portugal has one of the highest rates of automobile accidents and fatalities
in Europe. Portuguese driving habits, high speeds, and poorly marked roads
pose special hazards. In continental Portugal, fines for traffic violations
are substantial and usually must be paid on the spot. Taxis are a reliable
means of transportation, though travelers should pay attention to
discrepancies between the meter fare and the amount requested by the driver.
Buses are reliable and inexpensive.
In the Azores, driving can be treacherous due to narrow cobblestone streets,
blind curves, unprotected embankments, herds of cows in the countryside
roads, and the high speeds of other drivers. In contrast to the continent,
traffic violations are registered by radar and later forwarded to the
offender via the postal service - payments are not made on the spot. Taxis
do not have meters. The fare consists of a base fee plus a posted rate per
kilometer traveled. Public buses are inexpensive. Bus services begin at
7:00 a.m. and generally operate until 8:00 p.m. depending on the
U.S. visitors to Portugal may drive with a valid U.S. driver's license for
up to six months. For international driving permits, please contact AAA in
the U.S. at tel. 1-800-222-4357. For specific information concerning
Portuguese driver's permits, vehicle inspection and mandatory insurance,
please contact the Portuguese National Tourist Office by telephone at
1-800-767-8842 or via the Internet at http://www.portugal.org.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has assessed the government of Portugal's Civil Aviation Authority as
category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for
oversight of Portugal's air carrier operations. For further information,
travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United
States at tel. 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. (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Portuguese customs authorities may enforce strict
regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Portugal of
such items as firearms, antiquities, medications, business equipment, sales
samples and other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Portugal
in Washington, D.C. or one of the Portuguese consulates in the United States
for specific information regarding customs requirements. Portugal's 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 theU.S Council for International Business,
1212 Avenue of The Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the
ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information, please
telephone (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit
http://www.uscib.org for details.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, aU.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
Portuguese laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
On July 21, 2001, a new law took effect that decriminalized drug use for
both casual consumers and addicts. Under the new law, consumption,
acquisition and possession of drugs for personal use became a simple
administrative offense. The maximum quantity allowed is not to exceed 2.5
grams of hashish or 1 gram of cocaine or heroin. Penalties for trafficking
in illegal drugs, though, are strict, and penalties can range up to 15 years
in prison. If the defendant belongs to a criminal organization, jail
sentences range from a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 20 years.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Portugal has a history of infrequent but severe
seismic activity. Responsibility for caring for disaster victims, including
foreigners, rests with the Portuguese authorities. General information
regarding disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home page at http://www.fema.gov.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption 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 AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or
visiting Portugal may register at the Consular Section of the U.S Embassy in
Lisbon and obtain updated information on travel and security within
Portugal. Embassy is located on Avenida das For‡‡as Armadas, Sete Rios,
telephone (351)(21) 727-3300, fax (351)(21) 726-9109, Internet home page:
http://www.american-embassy.pt. The U.S. Consulate is located in Ponta
Delgada on the Island of San Miguel in the Azores. The address is Avenida
D. Henrique, telephone (351)(96) 282216/ 7/ 8/ 9. There is also a Consular
Agency located in Funchal, Madeira, on Rua Tentente Coronel Sarmento, Ed.
Bloco B-4 Andar, Apt. B, 9000 Funchal, telephone (351)(29) 174-3429 or fax
(351)(29) 174-3808, open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00
* * *
This publication replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated, September 8,
2000 to update the sections on Entry Requirements, Medical Facilities and
Insurance and Criminal Penalties.