Country Description: Seychelles is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. The principal island of Mahe has a population of about 50,000. The two other islands with significant permanent populations are Praslin and La Digue. Facilities for tourism are generally well developed.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A valid passport, onward/return ticket and proof of sufficient funds is required. A one-month entry visa may be obtained upon arrival which may be extended for a period of up to one year. There is an airport departure tax. For further information, the traveler may consult the Permanent Mission of Seychelles to the United Nations, 820 Second Avenue, Suite 203, New York, N.Y. 10017. The telephone number is (212) 687-9766.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Seychelles are limited, especially in the isolated outer islands, where doctors are often unavailable. Doctors and hospitals 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. In some cases, supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas 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 at (404) 332-4559, Internet:

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Petty crime occurs, although violent crime against tourists is considered to be rare. Travelers who keep valuables in hotel safes and who close and lock hotel windows at night, even while the room is occupied, are less likely to be at risk. It is dangerous, particularly for women, to swim alone at isolated beaches. Boats left unlocked while in Victoria Harbor may be targeted by thieves.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to 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 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.

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.

Traffic Safety/Road Conditions: Roads are generally well-maintained but narrow and winding. Drivers should exercise caution due to a lack of shoulders and inadequate street lighting.

Other Information: The outer islands of Seychelles are extremely isolated, and travel by ship to these areas, including for rescue attempts, may be impossible in stormy weather. The outer islands often have no airstrips for accommodating air traffic.

Import Prohibitions: Firearms and spearfishing equipment cannot be imported into Seychelles. Fruits and vegetables cannot be imported by casual travelers. Dogs must undergo a minimum quarantine of six months, which is strictly enforced, before being allowed entry into Seychelles.

Embassy Location/Registration: The U.S. Embassy in the Seychelles closed August 30, 1996 and consular responsibility transferred to the U.S. Embassy on Mauritius located at Rogers House (Fourth Floor) on John F. Kennedy Street, Port Louis. The telephone is (230) 208-2347; the fax is (230) 208-9534.

There is a consular agency in the Seychelles providing limited services such as distributing forms and information. U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the consular agency and to obtain updated information on travel and security in the Seychelles. It is located at Victoria House, Victoria, Mahe; telephone: (248) 225-256, fax: (248) 225-189. The international mailing address is Victoria House, Box 251, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles.

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