SLOVAKIA

Slovakia Flag
Country Description: The Slovak Republic is a moderately developed European nation undergoing profound economic and political changes. Tourist facilities are not as developed as those found in western Europe and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other European countries are not yet available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport is required. A visa is not required for stays up to thirty days. For stays longer than thirty days a visa must be obtained prior to entry at Slovak embassies or consulates abroad. Visas cannot be obtained at border points upon arrival. Travelers to the Slovak Republic can obtain entry information at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic at 2201 Wisconsin Avenue N.W., Suite 250, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 965-5160/1.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are available. However, only a limited number of doctors are English speakers. Doctors and hospitals expect cash payment for health services unless the patient can present an insurance number from the Slovak National Insurance Company. 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 to be useful. 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 http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: The Slovak Republic has a low rate of violent crime. However, particularly in the summer, there has been an increase in street crime such as pickpocketing in shopping centers, in the vicinity of major hotels where foreigners stay, near major tourist sites, and on night trains, especially Prague-Bratislava-Budapest or Budapest-Warsaw. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. It provides useful information on safeguarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad.

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.

Traffic Conditions and Road Safety: The roads in Slovakia are typically safe and well maintained. Four lane highways exist in and around Bratislava. As of April 1, 1997, the maximum legal speed on highways is 130 km. (78 mi.) per hour. On smaller roads the maximum legal speed is 90 km. (54 mi.) per hour; the limit in towns and villages is 60 km. (36 mi.) per hour. Use of car phones while driving is prohibited.

Northeastern Slovakia is mountainous and receives a substantial amount of snow in the winter which can result in travel delays. For travel to mountain and ski resorts, winter tires and chains are recommended. Traffic and road condition reports are available on local radio stations.

A highway user decal must be purchased (it costs approximately U.S. $14.00) for travel on certain heavily used segments of the highway system. The decal must be valid for the calender year in which it is purchased and is available at gas stations, post offices and some newspaper kiosks. Gasoline is readily available throughout Slovakia. Gas stations typically do not offer repair services, and private mechanics must be found. As few gas stations and mechanics accept credit cards, travelers should expect to pay for these services in cash.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava and obtain updated information on travel and security in the Slovak Republic. The U.S. Embassy in Bratislava is located at Hviezdoslavovo Namestie 4, telephone (421) (7) 330-0861.

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