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Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport and visa are required. As of March 1, the Government of Uganda requires all U.S. citizens to obtain a visa for entry into Uganda. Ugandan authorities are temporarily issuing visas upon arrival at Entebbe Airport, near Kampala, the capital. However, Ugandan officials have stated that visa issuance at the port of entry may not be available at a later date. All travelers to Uganda are urged to procure a visa from the nearest Ugandan Embassy or Consulate at their earliest convenience as processing delays are possible as Ugandan missions expand their visa issuing infrastructure.
Further information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda, 5909 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011; telephone (202) 726-7100, or the Ugandan Permanent Mission to the United Nations, telephone (212) 949-0110. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Ugandan Embassy or consulate.
Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: U.S. citizens living in or planning to visit Uganda should be aware of threats to their safety from insurgent groups, originating both within and outside of Uganda, particularly in northern and western Uganda. They have at times specifically targeted U.S. citizens. These groups have engaged in murder, armed attacks, kidnapping and the placement of land mines. In March 1999, one of these groups murdered eight foreign nationals, including two U.S. citizens. Incidents occur at random with little or no warning. Ongoing hostilities between the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DROC) and rebels in that country could prompt military attacks in Uganda, a supporter of the rebels in the DROC. Also, several incidents of banditry and armed robbery have occurred in the northern and western districts of Uganda.
U.S. Government employees must have permission from the Chief of Mission to visit the following districts: Kotido, Moroto, Apac, Lira, Gulu, Kitgum, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Kasese, Moyo, Arua, Nebbi, Adjumani, Bundibugiyo, and Kabarole. This list is subject to change at any time. This list includes districts containing all or part of several national parks. Tourists contemplating travel in any of these districts are advised to contact the U.S. Embassy in Kampala for the latest security information.
POLITICAL VIOLENCE: In July 1998, a grenade was dropped near a Kampala marketplace. In addition, bombings with fatalities occurred in outdoor restaurants in April 1998, July 1998, and February 1999. U.S. citizens in Kampala are urged to exercise extreme caution when visiting both indoor and outdoor public facilities, including but not limited to bars, restaurants, hotels, and markets.
In August 1998, bombs were detonated on three commercial inter-city buses originating in Kampala, killing more than 30 people. Travelers should avoid travel by inter-city coach bus. Thus far, local and inter- city public van service (Matatus) have not been affected by the bombings.
REGIONAL TERRORISM: One of the many rebel factions in the Great Lakes Region has committed, and continues to threaten, violence against U.S. citizens and interests. This faction was responsible for the March 1999 kidnapping and murder of several Western tourists in Uganda. A rebel faction was responsible for the kidnapping of four foreign nationals in August 1998 in a region of the Democratic Republic of Congo that borders Uganda. Rebel factions are known to operate in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the surrounding areas, including sections of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi.
Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Incidents of armed vehicle hijackings and armed highway robbery are frequent throughout the country. Although these attacks are often violent, victims are generally injured only if they resist. In October 1998, U.S. Embassy employees were advised against using back roads at night in Kampala after a series of incidents on secondary roads in which vehicles were fired upon without warning or provocation. Females traveling alone are particularly susceptible to crime, and an American woman was murdered in 1998 in a four-star Kampala hotel. Several violent attacks occurred in Kampala and other parts of the country in 1998. Crimes such as pick pocketing, purse snatching and thefts from parked vehicles or vehicles stalled in traffic jams are common. These offenses also occur on public transportation. Passengers should not accept food or drink from a stranger, even a child, as such food may contain narcotics used to incapacitate a victim and facilitate a robbery.
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 at the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page, http://travel.state.gov, and from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 or via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Uganda, including Kampala, are extremely limited and not equipped to handle most emergencies, especially those requiring surgery. Hospitals are scarce and extremely basic outside of Kampala. Equipment and medicines are often in short supply or unavailable. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States. Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including a provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor, 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. Travelers to Uganda are strongly urged to consider supplemental medical/travelers insurance, with specific coverage for medical evacuation from overseas and for disposition of remains in case of death, as these policies are inexpensive when compared to the costs of a medical evacuation.
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 its home page at http://travel.state.gov and autofax at (202) 647-3000.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions international travelers hotline at telephone: 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.
ROAD SAFETY CONDITIONS AND DOMESTIC TRAVEL HAZARDS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Uganda is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Most roads in Uganda are poor, and bandit activity in some areas is both frequent and unpredictable. Accidents are common and often fatal. Highway travel at night is particularly dangerous.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Uganda, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Uganda'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's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. 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 Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.
PHOTOGRAPHY PROHIBITION: Photography in tourist locations is welcome. It is inadvisable, however, to take pictures of military/police installations or personnel. Military and police officers have also detained tourists for taking photographs of part of Entebbe Airport and of the area around Owen Falls Dam.
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.
Y2K INFORMATION: U.S. citizens contemplating traveling or residing abroad in late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of potential difficulties. U.S. citizens may wish to consider taking practical precautions against possible disruptions of services triggered by the Y2K computer phenomenon. Monitor the home page of the Department of State for updates on Y2K issues.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Kampala and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Uganda. The U.S. Embassy address is: P.O. Box 7007, 10-12 Parliament Avenue, Kampala; telephone: 256-41-259-792/3/5.
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