ANGOLA

Angola Flag
Angola is a large, developing African country which was engulfed in war and civil strife since independence from Portugal in 1975. A peace accord signed in 1994 has brought a halt to Angola's civil war, but unsettled political-military conditions and the potential for renewed fighting continue to make travel to and within Angola extremely unsafe. Facilities for tourism are non-existent. Severe shortages of lodging, transportation, food, water, medicine and utilities plague Luanda and other cities. Shortages result in a lack of sanitary conditions in many areas, including Luanda.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Passports and visas are required for travel to Angola. Persons arriving without visas are subject to possible arrest and/or deportation. Travelers whose international immunization cards do not show inoculations against yellow fever and cholera may be subject to involuntary vaccinations and/or heavy fines. Visitors remaining in Angola beyond their authorized visa duration are subject to fines and possible arrest. Current information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Angola at 1899 L Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 785-1156.

Medical Facilities: Adequate medical facilities are virtually non-existent throughout Angola, and most medicine is not available. Chloroquine-resistant and cerebral malaria are endemic to the region. Health providers often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage and medical evacuation coverage has proven useful. For additional health information travelers can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline, telephone (404) 332-4559. Internet: http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Despite recent positive developments, the security situation in Angola remains extremely volatile. Large crowds and demonstrations should be avoided. Travel in the interior is unsafe because of the presence of bandits, land mines and sporadic armed clashes. The rising rate of banditry has made the Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces particularly unsafe for foreigners.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Violent crime occurs regularly throughout Angola. Street crime is common in all areas of Luanda, at all hours. Foreigners, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of violent robberies in their homes and hotel rooms. Because of increased incidences of armed robberies and carjackings, travelers are cautioned against airport arrivals after dark.

City streets are patrolled by soldiers and police who normally carry automatic weapons. They are unpredictable and their authority should not be challenged. All motorists should stop at nighttime police checkpoints if so ordered. Police officers, often while still in uniform, frequently participate in shakedowns, muggings, carjackings and murders.

A recent police operation against illegal aliens and import/export companies has resulted in widespread arrests of foreign nationals as well as acts of theft and physical violence by police against foreigners. Some foreign businessmen were forced to sign statements renouncing property claims in Angola before being deported. Independent entrepreneurs in Angola should carry all relevant immigration and business documents at all times.

Travelers should be alert to a number of scams perpetrated by Luanda airport personnel. Immigration and customs officials frequently detain foreigners without cause, demanding gratuities before allowing them to enter or depart Angola. Airport health officials threaten arriving passengers with "vaccinations" with unsterilized instruments if gratuities are not paid. Airport officials have also attempted to steal U.S. passports and other documents.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips For Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402.

Currency Restrictions: U.S. dollars can be converted to local currency at exchange houses authorized by the Angolan government. Rapid fluctuations in the value of the Angolan Kwanza, and shortages of U.S. dollars are widespread. Currency conversions on the parallel (black) market are illegal and participants are subject to arrest. Series 1988 US $100 bills are generally not accepted in Angola.

Road Safety and In-Country Travel: Most destinations in the interior are accessible only by private or chartered aircraft. Civilians have been injured and killed by land mines exploding on roads and in bandit attacks. Overland routes to neighboring countries are generally not open.

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.

Embassy Location/Registration: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register and obtain updated information on travel and security at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Luanda located at the Casa Inglesa Complex, Rua Major Kayangulo No. 132/136, Luanda. The telephone number is (244-2) 39-69-27; fax (244-2) 39-05-15. The U.S. Embassy is located on Rua Houari Boumedienne in the Miramar area of Luanda, P.O. Box 6468, telephone (244-2) 34-54-81 (24-hour number); fax (244-2) 34-78-84.

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