Macau country information and facts for travelers.

MACAU

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Country Description: Macau is a Chinese territory administered by Portugal and will return to Chinese sovereignty on December 20, 1999. Facilities for tourism are well developed. Gambling, tourism, manufacturing and real estate development are the major factors in the rapid growth of Macau's economy. Macau includes a six-square-mile area on the mainland of China bordering the South China Sea, and the small, adjacent islands of Taipa and Coloane. The Macau International Airport officially opened on December 8, 1995. At present, the only airline company flying to the United States from Macau is Eva Air, a Taiwan based company.

Street violence near the casinos in Macau has increased recently. Thirteen people have been killed so far this year in the violence. U.S. citizens visiting Macau should be aware that the problems have been localized near the casinos during early morning hours and appear to be related to organized crime. The U.S. Navy has made Macau off limits for private travel by its service members.

Visitors should also be aware that import into the United States of counterfeit "brand name" items available from Macau vendors, such as watches, CDs, computer software, and clothing, is prohibited by law.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Passports are required. A visa is not required for tourist visits of up to 60 days. Information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Portugal at 2125 Kalorama Road N.W., Washington D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 328-8610, or from the American Consulate General in Hong Kong, telephone (852) 2523-9011.

Medical Facilities: There are at least two major hospitals in Macau that have adequate medical facilities and are able to provide medical care in emergency situations. Highly developed medical facilities and trained personnel are available in Hong Kong, which is about an hour by jetfoil and ten minutes by helicopter from Macau. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is generally not valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provision for medical evacuation, has proven useful. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Information on health matters can be obtained from the international travelers hotline of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, telephone (404) 332-4559 or the CDC home page on the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov/.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Petty street crime occasionally occurs in tourist areas in Macau, including in and around casinos. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. consulate. Information on safeguarding valuables and protecting personal safety can be found in the Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad." It can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the protections available to individuals under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession or trafficking in illegal drugs are strictly enforced. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Road Safety: Traffic moves on the left in Macau, and roads are narrow and winding. Traffic is generally congested throughout the day. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive, as are public busses.

Registration/Location of American Consulate General: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the American Consulate General in Hong Kong and obtain updated information on travel and security conditions in Macau. There is no U.S. diplomatic presence in Macau. Consular assistance for U.S. citizens is provided by the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong. The address is 26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong. The telephone number in Hong Kong is (852) 2523-9011; fax (852) 2845-4845. The mailing address is PSC 464, Box 30, FPO AP 96522-0002; Internet: http://www.usis.gov/posts/hongkong.

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