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Country Description: Guyana is a developing nation. Except for hotels in the capital city of Georgetown, tourist facilities are not fully developed.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Valid passports are required of all U.S. citizens entering Guyana. Dual nationals must have a U.S. passport to depart Guyana for the United States. Unlike the situation in most of the Caribbean area, a U.S. Naturalization Certificate or birth certificate will not fulfill Immigration or boarding requirements for departure. On arrival, all visitors are granted a 30-day stay. Extensions of stay may be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs at #6 Brickdam, Georgetown. The extension must then be noted in the visitor's passport by the Central Office of Immigration, located on Camp Road, Georgetown. Travelers, for other than tourism purposes, should also check with the Ministry of Home Affairs for additional information about immigration requirements for work permits and extended stays. For other information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Guyana at 2490 Tracy Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 265-6900; or the consulates general of Guyana in California, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

Medical Facilities: Medical care is available for minor medical problems. Emergency care and major medical care requiring a hospital stay are limited due to the lack of specialists, diagnostic aids, and poor sanitary conditions in most medical facilities. Travelers are advised to bring prescription medicine sufficient for their length of stay, and they should be aware that Guyana's humid climate may affect some medicine. Prescription medicine (mainly generic) is available. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. In some instances, supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has been useful, particularly when a medical evacuation is necessary. For additional health information, travelers may contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559; Internet:

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Crimes against wealthy people and property have become commonplace. Foreigners, in particular, are viewed as wealthy targets of opportunity. Crimes of violence are primarily confined to Georgetown and to some of the other more populated areas of the country. Most crimes occur in the major business and shopping districts of Georgetown, in and around the two major indoor/outdoor markets of Stabroek and Bourda, and in the vicinity of the Hotel Tower and Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel (formerly the Pegasus and the Forte Crest Hotel), the two major hotels most frequented by tourists and other foreigners. The area adjacent to the sea wall in Georgetown is usually deserted and, therefore, dangerous, except in the morning and in the late afternoon, when it is frequented by people walking or jogging. Theft from vehicles is common, but occurs infrequently from rooms at the major hotels. Police are cooperative, but largely ineffective. U.S. visitors who suffer criminal assaults are encouraged to contact the police as well as the American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy Consular Section. In addition to money, thieves frequently steal U.S. passports and alien registration cards.

The loss of a U.S. passport in Guyana should be reported to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy. American citizens should be prepared to present evidence of U.S. citizenship and identity, as well as the entry permit from Guyana Immigration showing the date of entry into the country, the U.S. passport number and a police report. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," which provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad. Both this pamphlet and "Tips for Travelers to Central and South America" are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Other Information: Many exotic birds are protected species. The Guyana Ministry of Agriculture will permit only those persons who have been legally residing in Guyana for more than a year to take an exotic bird out of the country when they leave. Americans taking exotic birds out of the country, including pets, listed in appendices I, II, and III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), must have a Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) import permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in order for the bird or pet to be imported into the United States. Please note that this is a U.S. regulation that applies, regardless of CITES distinctions, among the three appendices. U.S. residents and non-residents continue to arrive at U.S. ports of entry without WBCA permits and encounter difficulties. Individuals can obtain WBCA fact sheets and permit applications from the USFWS Office of Management Authority, Branch of Permits, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22203, telephone (703) 358-2104, fax (703) 358-2281.

U.S. citizens are advised to exchange currency only with banks, hotels and established money exchange houses. Many foreigners who opt to exchange money on the streets, lured by promises of higher exchange rates, are increasingly becoming victims of currency fraud. There is no legal recourse unless the police are successful in apprehending the person and then there is no guarantee that the money will be recovered. Street vendors usually offer rates very near to bank or cambio rates, so there is little advantage to be gained by changing money outside the formal system.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Criminal penalties for possession, use, and dealing in illegal drugs are strict, even for small amounts. If convicted by the Guyana courts, offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and high fines.

Traffic Safety/Road Conditions: Road conditions throughout the country are poor. Mini-bus drivers, who provide private transportation, generally do not adhere to traffic rules and regulations.

Civil Aviation Oversight: As a result of its January 1994 assessment, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has found the government of Guyana's civil aviation authority to be in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Guyana's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the U.S. Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-(800)-322-7873 or visit the FAA's home page

Embassy Location/Registration: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy, located at 99-100 Duke Street, Kingston, Georgetown, telephone 02-54900 through 09. Office hours are 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. For emergencies, after hours, on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens may call the U.S. Embassy duty officer at 02-62614, 02-68298, or 02-77868 and leave a message for pager number 5682. Updated information on travel and security conditions within Guyana may be obtained upon request or when registering at the U.S. Embassy.

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