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Country Description: Hungary is a stable democracy completing the transition to a market economy. Budapest now ranks as the fourth most popular tourist destination in Europe. However, tourist facilities outside Budapest are not as developed as those found in Western Europe, and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other western countries are not yet available outside the capital.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport is required. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days. Further information concerning entry requirements can be obtained at the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary at 3910 Shoemaker Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 362-6730, or the nearest Hungarian consulate in Los Angeles or New York.

Medical Facilities: Adequate to excellent medical treatment is available in Hungary, although hospital facilities and staffing are not always comparable to those in the U.S. or western Europe. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payments for health services. Not all U.S. medical insurance is valid outside the United States. Travelers have found it useful to obtain supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559 or by visiting CDC's Internet home page at

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Hungary has a low rate of violent crime. However, street crime, which occasionally involves violence, has increased especially at night near major hotels and restaurants and on public transportation. Theft of passports, currency and credit cards is a frequent problem, especially in youth hostels, at train stations, and when riding public transportation. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Foreigners may also experience problems with excessive billing, etc., at night clubs featuring "adult entertainment." The number of burglaries has risen substantially, and vehicle thefts, particularly of high value automobiles, is a major problem. Useful information on travel to the region and protecting personal security while traveling is provided in the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad", which is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Highway Safety: There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police often conduct routine road checks where breath analyzers are administered. Persons found to be driving while intoxicated face jail and/or fine. The condition of Hungarian highways is, in general, relatively good. However, roads in the provinces are narrow, badly lit, and in poor repair in some places. They are often used by pedestrians, agricultural machines, and animals, requiring increased caution from drivers.

Other Information: The acceptance of traveler's checks and credit cards is not universal. The presence of ATM's is increasing in Budapest only.

Aviation Oversight: As a result of an assessment conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in September 1995, the FAA has found the government of Hungary's Civil Aviation Authority to be in compliance with the international aviation safety standards for the oversight of Hungarian air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation at 1 (800) 322-7873.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, and dealing in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy, and obtain updated information on travel and security within Hungary. The U.S. Embassy is at V. Szabadsag Ter 12 in Budapest; telephone (36-1) 267-4400, or afterhours at (36-1) 269-9331.

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