Lithuania

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Country Description: Lithuania is a country undergoing profound political and economic change. Tourist facilities are improving. Many goods and services are now available in the major cities, but may not be fully comparable to western standards.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A valid passport is required to enter Lithuania. U.S. citizens do not need Lithuanian visas for most stays of 90 days or less. U.S. citizens may contact the Lithuanian Embassy at 2622 16th Street, Washington, D.C. 20009, tel. (202) 234-5860 for current information on visa requirements. Travelers who plan to enter Russia, even in transit, will need a Russian visa. The Lithuanian government does not require HIV testing for Americans.

Medical Facilities: Medical care in Lithuania is slowly improving. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk because medical facilities do not always meet western standards. Most medical supplies, however, are now widely available, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. Western-quality dental care can be obtained in major cities. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Travelers have found that in some cases, supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proven useful. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the international travelers hotline at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tel. (404) 332-4559, or by visiting the CDC's home page on the Internet, http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Street crime, including purse snatching and mugging, can occur, especially at night near major tourist hotels and restaurants. Auto theft and auto vandalism is common. Robberies have occurred on trains, in train stations, and in hotel rooms. Police forces suffer from a lack of manpower, resources and equipment. Local police are not likely to speak English, so it may be difficult to obtain police assistance.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad. This publication is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402.

Currency Regulations: Lithuania is still primarily a cash economy, though an increasing number of hotels, restaurants and other businesses now accept major credit cards.

Road Safety: The roads in Lithuania range from two-to six-lane highways connecting the major cities to small dirt roads traversing the countryside. Street lanes are not always clearly marked, and lighting is often poor. Drivers always must be alert to visible and hidden dangers on the roads. Winter driving especially can be hazardous since the roads are rarely plowed. Driving with caution is urged at all times.

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.

Registration and Embassy Location: Americans are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy, and obtain updated information on travel and security within Lithuania. The U.S. Embassy in Vilnius is located at Akmenu 6; tel. (370)(2) 223-031. After hours duty officer: (370)(2) 227-240.

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