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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
1995 MAY: RUSSIA AND NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES TRAVEL TIPS
BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS



     TIPS FOR TRAVELERS TO RUSSIA AND THE NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES

Introduction

This pamphlet contains information for travel to the Newly Independent 
States (NIS).  These countries include: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, 
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, 
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

The Newly Independent States are currently undergoing fundamental 
political and economic changes.  The tourism industry, like other 
enterprises in the region, has been affected by the elimination of some 
government organizations and the introduction of new bureaucratic 
systems.  These changes can cause confusion for travelers throughout the 
Newly Independent States.

Formerly, all tourism in the region was handled by Intourist, which has 
contracts with a large network of hotels and restaurants.  However, 
other tour agencies have been established which offer comparable 
services.  In addition, there are a number of specialized tour operators 
which organize stays with families and adventure tours.  It is best to 
book travel with regional tour operators through U.S. travel agencies.

Consular Information Program

The Department of State issues Consular Information Sheets for all 
countries of the world.  When the Department, based on the best 
available information, recommends against travel to a certain country, 
it will issue a Travel Warning in addition to the Consular Information 
Sheet.

Consular Information Sheets include such information as the location of 
the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, entry 
requirements, crime and security information, health concerns and 
unusual currency regulations. If an unstable condition exists in a 
country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a 
description of the condition(s) may be included in the Consular 
Information Sheet under an optional section entitled "Areas of 
Instability."  On limited occasions, relevant U.S. embassy advice given 
to official employees will be included.  Consular Information Sheets 
present information in a factual manner so travelers can make their own 
informed decisions concerning travel to a particular country.

The State Department also issues Public Announcements as a means to 
disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats or other short-
term or transnational conditions which pose significant risks to the 
security of American travelers.

There are several ways to access Consular Information Sheets, Travel 
Warnings and Public Announcements.  You can listen to them 24 hours a 
day by calling 202-647-5225 from a touchtone phone.  You can receive 
copies of them of by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the 
Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4800, Department of State, Washington, 
D.C. 20520-4818.  (Write the name of the requested country or countries 
on the outside of the envelope.)

To receive them by fax, dial 202-647-3000 from a fax machine, using the 
machine's telephone receiver, and follow the instructions.  To view and 
download with a personal computer and modem, dial the Consular Affairs 
Bulletin Board (CABB) on modem number: 202-647-9225.  Set your 
communications software to: no parity, 8 bits, one stop bit (N-8-1).

Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings are posted at the 13 
regional passport agencies and at American embassies and consulates 
abroad. They can also be accessed through an airline or travel agent's 
computer reservation system or by computer through many electronic 
information services.

General Information

This section contains general information useful for travel throughout 
the Newly Independent States.  For information about a specific country, 
please refer to the current Consular Information Sheet, or the Country 
Profiles section.

Visas

U.S. citizens must possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas 
for travel to or transit through the Newly Independent States, whether 
by train, car or airplane.  Travelers who arrive without an entry visa 
may be unable to register in a hotel, are subject to large fines, and 
may be delayed by lengthy official processing requirements and/or face 
immediate ordered departure by route of entry (at traveler's expense).  
Under extenuating circumstances, some countries may grant limited stay 
visas at the border or the airport.  Visas should be obtained in advance 
of your trip at the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to 
visit.  If possible, plan to obtain your visa(s) in the United States, 
because they can be difficult and time-consuming to obtain abroad.

Visas are valid for specific dates.  Before starting your trip, be sure 
your visa is valid for the dates of your planned entry and departure and 
indicates the point of entry.  It is helpful to make a photocopy of your 
visa in the event of loss while enroute or after entry to Russia. 
Amendment of a visa necessitated by illness or changes in travel plans 
must be approved in advance by the office that issued your visa.

Tourist, Business, and Transit Visas

U.S. citizens may apply for a tourist, business or transit visa.  Most 
travelers to the Newly Independent States arrange for their visas and 
accommodations through an American travel agent.  A business visa 
requires a letter of invitation from a business contact in the country 
to which you are traveling.  A transit visa requires a copy of your 
confirmed ticket and visa (if required) to your onward destination.

Many NIS governments accept each others' visas as valid for transit of 
less than 72 hours through their own territory.  However, border 
officials, particularly at remote land crossings are not always aware of 
visa reciprocity between other NIS countries and their own government. 
Furthermore, border guards often fail to date stamp foreign passports on 
entry at land borders with other NIS countries, leaving no way to prove, 
when exiting, how much time the traveler has spent transiting a given 
country.  For these reasons, it is always a good idea to obtain a 
separate visa for each country you may transit.

Sponsorship for Visas

Many of the Newly Independent States issue visas (with the exception of 
transit visas) on the basis of support from a sponsor, usually an 
individual or local organization.  It is important to know who your 
sponsor is and how to contact them, because in many of these countries 
the law requires that your sponsor apply on your behalf for replacement, 
extension or changes to your visa.  The U.S. Embassy cannot act as your 
sponsor.  U.S. citizens should contact their tour company or hotel in 
advance for information on visa sponsorship.  

How to Obtain Visa Information 

Authoritative and current information on visas can only be obtained from 
the embassies or consulates of the countries you plan to visit.  When 
you inquire about visas, ask about price, length of validity, the number 
of entries that are permitted and whether or not you will need an exit 
visa.

Your U.S. Passport

Thefts of U.S. passports are increasing rapidly.  The theft or loss of a 
passport, especially when the nearest U.S. consular office is hundreds 
or thousands of miles away, is a major source of inconvenience and 
expense to travelers.  Before your trip, make photocopies of the data 
page of your passport and of your visa(s).  A copy of the addresses and 
telephone numbers of the U.S. embassies and consulates in the countries 
you will visit may also be helpful.  Put one set of the photocopies 
along with two passport photos in a place separate from your passport.  
If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, this will make issuance of a 
new passport faster and easier.  Leave the second set of copies and your 
itinerary with a relative or friend in the U.S.

While in the NIS, you may be asked to turn over your passport to hotel 
personnel or a tour leader for short periods of time for registration 
with police or for other purposes.  Your passport should be returned 
within two or three days.  However, for U.S. citizens on long-term 
business or studies, the registration process can often take longer.  It 
is not unusual for sponsors and local authorities to hold on to American 
passports for as much as several weeks while visas are registered or 
while exit visas are processed.  Be sure to safeguard your passport at 
all other times, as its loss can cause you delays and problems.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must apply for a replacement 
passport at a U.S. embassy or consulate.  If possible, bring with you: 
identification, especially any photo i.d.; proof of U.S. citizenship (a 
birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or a copy of your 
passport); two 2" by 2" passport size photos, in color or black and 
white; and a police report, if available.  (Some embassies are equipped 
with passport photo cameras and can take your passport photo for a fee.)  
In most cases, a new passport can be issued quickly.  If U.S. passport 
records must be checked, the process may delay the issuance of a new 
passport.  A new passport costs $55 for an adult and $30 for a child;  
the execution fee is $10.

Please be aware that in the NIS you must also obtain a new or duplicate 
visa from the Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR) should your 
passport be lost or stolen.  (This office is also known as the 
"Passport-Visa Service" in some areas.)  The passport number on your 
visa must match that of your new passport.  Obtaining a replacement visa 
takes approximately 10 working days.  A police certificate verifying the 
theft of your visa and passport may be necessary to obtain a new visa.

Questions regarding U.S. visas for foreigners should be directed to the 
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Registration

All U.S. citizens who visit the Newly Independent States are encouraged 
to register at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is 
especially important if you are in an area experiencing civil unrest or 
a natural disaster, if you are going to a place where communications are 
poor, or if you plan to stay for a long period of time.  Registration 
takes only a few minutes, and it may be invaluable in case of an 
emergency.  If your passport is lost or stolen, having previously 
registered at an embassy or consulate can make it easier to issue you a 
new passport without a delay.

Travel in the Region

Areas of Instability

When planning a trip to the Newly Independent States, be aware that 
areas of instability still exist throughout the region and that it may 
not be safe or wise to travel through these areas.  For updated 
information on a specific country, please consult that country's current 
Consular Information Sheet.

Name Changes and Travel Times

Many geographic names throughout the region have been changed.  Try to 
obtain maps before your trip, but keep in mind that some place names may 
need to be updated.  If your map and street sign do not correspond, you 
are not necessarily lost; it is entirely possible that the street has 
been renamed.

Departure and arrival times for planes, trains and boats were formerly 
quoted in Moscow time; now, the timetables for travel in and between the 
Newly Independent States have been revised to quote local times.  Within 
Russia itself, however, you may still find Moscow time in use regardless 
of which of the 11 time zones you are in.  Whenever you make 
reservations or purchase tickets, learn which time zones the schedule 
refers to and confirm all departure and arrival times as you travel.

Air Travel Within the Newly Independent States

With the breakup of Aeroflot into many small airlines, travel within the 
NIS is often unreliable.  Domestic air travelers must often cope with 
unpredictable and/or inaccurate schedules and difficult conditions, 
including deterioration of centralized systems of maintenance, poor 
service, overloading and fuel shortages.

In addition, it is often difficult to make arrangements for air travel 
within the NIS from the United States.

Overland Travel

When traveling by train or automobile in the NIS countries, it is 
advisable to bring food and water with you.  You cannot rely on the 
availability or quality of these goods throughout the region.

When traveling overland between Central European countries and the NIS, 
be certain that you have visas for all countries through which you will 
pass. For example, you will need a Belarusian transit visa if you take 
the train from Warsaw, Poland to Vilnius, Lithuania because the train 
passes through Grodno, Belarus.  Most transit problems can be avoided if 
you research your routes well.

Auto Travel

Driving conditions in the NIS are drastically different from those in 
Western Europe.  In some areas, roads are practically non-existent. 
Throughout the region, service stations are few and far between, and the 
lines are often quite long for the scarce amount of available fuel.

Travelers should adhere to all local driving regulations.  They are 
strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties.  
In addition, your automobile should be fully insured under a policy 
valid for the country in which you are traveling.

A valid U.S. driver's license, a valid international driver's license, 
or a valid license from the country in which you are traveling are 
necessary to drive a vehicle.  International driver's licenses, good for 
one year, are available through the American Automobile Association.  
Foreigners planning to drive in the region for more than one month are 
encouraged to obtain an international license.  Travelers without a 
valid license are often subject to prolonged stops by highway police.

Health

Precautions

Travel in the Newly Independent States can be strenuous, particularly 
for the elderly and individuals with special health problems.  When you 
plan your trip, be careful not to overschedule; leave time for rest and 
relaxation.  Tourists in frail health are strongly advised not to visit 
because of the harsh conditions and lack of adequate medical facilities.

Health Concerns

Outbreaks of diphtheria have been reported throughout the NIS, even in 
large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.  The U.S. Centers for 
Disease Control recommend up-to-date diphtheria immunizations before 
traveling to the NIS.  Typhoid can be a concern for those who plan to 
travel extensively in the region.  Cases of cholera have also been 
reported throughout the area; the risk of exposure to cholera can be 
reduced by refraining from drinking local water supplies.

Immunizations

No immunizations are required for travelers to the NIS.  However, 
diphtheria, tetanus, polio and Gamma Globulin vaccinations are 
recommended for the region.  The following vaccines should be 
considered, depending on the locations to be visited, planned 
activities, and the health of the traveler: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, 
rabies and typhoid.  If traveling to certain southern border areas of 
Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, malaria prevention measures are recommended.

Please be aware that many of the NIS countries stipulate that foreigners 
planning an extended stay in the area must be tested for the AIDS virus. 
The length of stay mandating an AIDS test varies from country to 
country. Positive test results for HIV could be grounds for expulsion 
from the country.  All travelers intending to reside in the Newly 
Independent States are strongly advised to have the requisite tests 
performed in the United States, as the testing conditions in the NIS 
tend to be very unsanitary and could pose a hazard to your health.  
Requirements for HIV testing are likely to change in the countries of 
the NIS as new legislation is adopted. Please refer to the current 
Consular Information Sheet or contact the U.S. embassy in the country 
you plan to visit for the latest requirements.

Medical Care in the Region

Medical care in the Newly Independent States is below Western standards. 
There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies, including 
disposable needles, anesthetics, common medications, and antibiotics.  
X-rays are of poor quality, and other advanced diagnostic equipment 
(such as CAT scan machines) is not widely available.  Patient support 
services, including basic hygiene measures, are inadequate.  Travelers 
may expect the length of hospitalization to exceed the duration of stay 
they would expect in Western facilities.  In addition, full, frank, and 
empathetic discussions between doctor and patient are hampered by 
language barriers as well as the lack of customary patient rights.  
Access to the few quality facilities that exist in major cities usually 
require cash payment in U.S. dollars at Western rates upon admission.  
Many resident Americans travel to the West for virtually all their 
medical needs.  If you need medical care, U.S. embassies and consulates 
maintain lists of medical facilities and English-speaking doctors.

Drinking Water

The U.S. Public Health Service warns that many visitors to the NIS have 
returned to the United States infected with the intestinal parasite 
Giardia lamblia.  This infection is usually contracted by drinking local 
tap water. In addition, you should avoid ice cubes, salads, and uncooked 
vegetables and fruits which cannot be peeled, and use bottled water for 
brushing teeth.

Local water supplies can be avoided in several ways.  Some travelers to 
the region bring drinking water with them in their luggage.  If you 
cannot import your drinking water, drink only bottled carbonated drinks 
or beverages that have been boiled for at least five minutes.  Some 
portable water filters are specially constructed to remove the Giardia 
parasite; however, if you are relying on a water filter, it is still 
highly advisable to boil the water after filtering.  In many large 
cities, bottled water of imported or Russian origin can be purchased in 
some stores.  However, travelers should not rely on the availability of 
bottled water from these sources.  In addition, carry iodine tablets to 
disinfect drinking water (though it should be noted that some iodine 
tablets take several hours to work).  Travelers returning from the 
region who develop a diarrheal illness lasting more than five days 
should consult a physician.

Bring Your Own Medicines

Bring with you any necessary medications and keep them in their 
original, labeled containers in your hand luggage.  Because of strict 
laws on narcotics, carry a letter from your physician explaining your 
need for any prescription drugs in your possession.  Also bring along 
any toiletries and personal hygiene items that you will need.  These 
items can be difficult to obtain in major cities and virtually 
nonexistent elsewhere.

For More Health Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has 
detailed information on health matters for the international traveler.  
For recorded information on worldwide health information, contact the 
CDC at 404-332-4559.  For information by fax, contact the CDC at 404-
332-4565 and follow the prompts.

Review Your Health Insurance Policy

If your insurance does not cover you abroad, consider purchasing 
temporary insurance that does.  In addition to medical insurance, 
consider obtaining insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of 
an accident or serious illness.  Because conditions in many hospitals 
are not adequate to ensure recovery, medical evacuation is frequently 
necessary for illnesses or injuries which could be treated locally in 
other countries.  This is an expensive option; for instance, minimum 
cost from Moscow to New York on a stretcher is more than $10,000.  
Medical evacuation by hospital aircraft on the same route approaches 
$130,000.  The minimum cost for medical evacuation from Kiev to Western 
Europe in a hospital aircraft is approximately $20,000 and evacuation to 
the U.S. approaches $100,000.  Such services require a substantial down 
payment before they commit themselves to arranging a flight out of the 
NIS.  Insurance companies, as well as some credit card and travelers 
check companies, offer short-term health and emergency assistance 
policies designed for travelers.  Ask your travel agent for information 
about them or look for their advertisements in travel publications.

Currency

The countries of the Newly Independent States operate on the basis of 
cash-only economies.  This means that traveler's checks and credit cards 
are not widely, if ever, accepted as currency.  Old, or very worn dollar 
bills are often not accepted, even at banks.  U.S. bills in small 
denominations (ones and fives) are often useful for covering taxi fares, 
tips and other minimal expenses easily paid for in dollars.

The countries of the Newly Independent States have experienced periodic 
cash shortages.  The difficulties of a currency shortage can be avoided 
by taking a prepaid tour that includes all meals and hotels.  Most 
travelers, however, solve the problem of the currency shortage by coming 
to the NIS with a sufficient supply of hard currency to cover their 
obligations during travel.  Be advised that some hotel restaurants and 
shops will accept payment only in dollars or other hard currency. 

Before you leave home, check with your credit card and travelers check 
companies to learn if and where these can be used in Russia and the 
Newly Independent States. The countries of the Newly Independent States 
have established their own currency systems.  Generally, U.S. dollars 
can be exchanged for local currency only at official exchange offices or 
in banks. Anyone caught dealing on the black market can expect to be 
detained by the local militia.

Customs Regulations

Customs laws and regulations in the NIS are generally in a state of flux 
and not consistently enforced.  However, when enforced, customs and 
currency laws are strict.  When you arrive, make an accurate and 
complete customs declaration of all money, travelers checks, and 
valuables in your possession.  Include all personal jewelry, such as 
wedding rings and watches, and other high-value items, such as personal 
computers.  Never declare more money leaving the country than you 
declared coming in.  Have your customs declaration stamped by the 
authorities and keep it with you until you leave the country.  Keep your 
exchange receipts to account for your expenditures.  Without these 
records, customs officials could confiscate your cash and valuables upon 
departure.

Attempts to bring any of the following articles into the NIS have caused 
difficulties for U.S. citizens in the past:

Narcotics - Drug laws are strict.  U.S. citizens have received long 
sentences for trying to enter or transit with illegal narcotics.

Pornography - Magazines with sexually explicit photographs, that may be 
considered commonplace in Western countries, may be regarded as 
pornography in some of the NIS countries and are often confiscated.

Gifts for Persons in the NIS - A high rate of customs duty may be 
assessed on gifts that you bring into a foreign country.  U.S. citizens 
have had to abandon gifts at the airport because they lacked funds to 
pay the customs duty.

Video Cassettes - Customs regulations allow for the import and re-export 
of a limited number of blank or commercially recorded video cassettes 
for personal use.  Some travelers with a large number of cassettes have 
had them confiscated.  Travelers are advised to leave blank video 
cassettes sealed in their wrappers when entering a country.

Shopping

Be wary of antiques!  Artwork, souvenirs, and handicrafts purchased at 
special stores for tourists may be taken out of the Newly Independent 
States.  The authorities define antiques as anything which is of 
historical or cultural value, and they apply this definition to a wide 
range of articles.  Antiques and artifacts (such as samovars) often may 
not be taken out of these countries without inspection by local cultural 
authorities and payment of a substantial export duty; this can be an 
inconvenient and time consuming process.  Items such as samovars which 
are not purchased at tourist stores and not cleared by cultural 
authorities are normally confiscated at pre-departure customs 
inspections.  You should obtain a receipt for all items of value that 
you have purchased.  The receipt must indicate that the items were 
bought in a store clearly licensed to sell to foreigners.  Furthermore, 
icons, art, rugs, antiques and other culturally significant objects must 
have a certificate indicating that they have no historical value.  This 
certificate can be obtained either from the store at the time the item 
is purchased or from the Ministry of Culture.

Crime

Crime Against Foreigners

Crime against foreigners in the Newly Independent States continues to 
increase, especially in major cities.  Pickpocketings, assaults and 
robberies occur both day and night.  Be aware of your surroundings; 
travelers are assaulted or robbed on city streets, in underground 
walkways and the subway, in train stations and airports, at markets, 
tourist attractions and restaurants, and in hotel rooms and residences, 
even when locked or occupied.  Members of religious and missionary 
groups have been robbed by people pretending to be interested in their 
beliefs.  Groups of children are known to assault and rob foreigners on 
city streets or underground walkways.  Foreigners who have been drinking 
alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around 
night clubs or bars, or on their way home.  Robberies may occur in taxis 
shared with strangers.  Traffic police sometimes stop motorists to 
extract cash "fines."  Travelers have found it safer to travel in groups 
organized by reputable tour agencies as those traveling alone are more 
vulnerable to crime.

Crime aboard trains has also increased.  For example, travelers have 
been victimized without their knowledge and robbed on the train from 
Moscow to St. Petersburg.  Crimes such as armed robbery have also been 
reported on trains between Moscow and Warsaw and between Moscow and 
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  On some trains, thieves have been able to open 
locked compartment doors.

Crime Against Foreign Businesses

Extortion and corruption permeate the business environment in the NIS. 
Organized criminal groups target foreign businesses in many cities and 
reportedly demand protection money under threat of serious violence.  
Many Western companies hire security services, but this has not always 
proven effective in avoiding armed extortion attempts.

Safety Tips

Although officials in the Newly Independent States have in many cases 
expressed willingness to cooperate with U.S. officials in emergencies 
involving U.S. citizens, communications and transportation can be slow 
and difficult, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate may be more 
than a day's travel away.  To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of 
crime, exercise the same precautions that you would in any large city 
and follow these tips:

--  Safety begins when you pack.  Leave expensive jewelry, unnecessary 
credit cards, and anything you would hate to lose at home.

--  Never display large sums of money when paying a bill.  Conceal your 
passport, cash, and other valuables on your person.  Do not trust waist 
packs or fanny packs because pickpockets have learned that is where the 
valuables are stored.

--  Do not leave valuables in your hotel room; have them locked in the 
hotel safe.

--  Be vigilant on public transport and at tourist sites, food markets, 
flea markets, art exhibitions, and all places where crowds gather.

--  Even slight intoxication is noted by professional thieves.  
Therefore, if you drink in a public place, do so only with a trusted 
friend who has agreed to remain sober.

--  If you are the victim of crime, report it immediately to the local 
police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  It is worthwhile 
to report a theft, because stolen items are sometimes retrieved.

--  Avoid hailing unmarked cars as taxis.  Although this is a common 
practice in the NIS, foreigners have been robbed and assaulted by the 
drivers of such unmarked cabs.  Never accept a ride from a driver who 
already has other passengers.

Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal 
security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the 
Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," which is for sale 
from the U.S. Government Printing Office.  (See back cover for ordering 
information.)

Photography Restrictions

The majority of areas formerly closed to foreigners have been opened; 
currently, only areas and installations closed to the general public can 
be closed to foreigners.  However, use good judgment when photographing 
in museums and sensitive areas.  (Many museums do not permit photography 
near the exhibits.)  When in doubt, ask your tour guide or someone else 
in authority if it is acceptable to take a photograph.

The following are general guidelines for photo-taking in the Newly 
Independent States:

Photographs are permitted of architectural monuments, cultural, 
educational, and medical buildings, theaters, museums, parks, stadiums, 
streets and squares, and living quarters and landscape scenes.

If prior permission is obtained from officials of the institution 
concerned, photographs may be taken of industrial enterprises which 
manufacture non-military products, farms, railroad stations, airports, 
riverports, and governmental, educational, and social organizations.

Telephone Service to the U.S.

Long distance telephone calls can usually be made from a hotel.  It is 
also possible to make calls from the local Telephone and Telegraph 
office.  This is the cheapest way to call, but it also necessitates 
standing in line and putting in a request to make an international call.  
A rudimentary knowledge of the local language is extremely helpful for 
those placing a call through the Telephone and Telegraph office.

U.S. Priority Mail Services

Federal Express, DHL, TNT, and United Parcel Service all offer priority 
mail services between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. and Ukraine. 
(However, even packets sent by priority mail may be held up in customs 
for up to a week.)

Legal Matters

How to Avoid Legal Problems

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's 
laws and regulations.  In some instances, laws in the NIS countries 
differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford 
the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Exercise 
caution and carefully obey local laws.  Penalties for breaking the law 
can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  
Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may have difficulties with 
the authorities and may be expelled and forced to forfeit the unused 
part of a prepurchased tour.  Serious transgressions of the law can lead 
to arrest and imprisonment.

Under Article 12 of the U.S.-USSR Consular Convention of 1964 (which the 
U.S. considers to remain in force), government authorities in the NIS 
countries are required to inform the U.S. embassy or consulate of the 
arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen and to permit communication with 
the detained citizen within two to four days of arrest.  If you are 
detained by authorities, ask that a U.S. consular officer be informed 
and that you be allowed to meet with a consular officer without delay.

Dual Nationality

The U.S. government has notified the governments of the Newly 
Independent States that the U.S.-USSR Consular Convention of 1964 is 
considered to remain in force.  The United States recognizes as an 
established principle of international law that every sovereign state 
has the right to decide under the provisions of its own laws who is and 
who is not its citizen. The U.S. Department of State maintains the 
following:

--  U.S. citizens, whether by birth or naturalization, possess full 
American citizenship and its accompanying benefits and responsibilities 
despite any additional entitlement to other citizenships.

--  A U.S. citizen entering a country of the Newly Independent States 
with a U.S. passport and a valid visa is regarded as a U.S. citizen by 
that country for purposes of the visit, regardless of whether the 
foreign government might also consider that person to be their citizen.

--  U.S. citizens cannot lose their U.S. citizenship because of 
automatic acquisition of foreign citizenship.  However, if a U.S. 
citizen contemplates voluntarily accepting dual nationality in 
connection with assuming duties as a government official in one of the 
NIS countries, he or she should first consult with the Department of 
State's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 202-647-5225 or with the 
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

The countries of the Newly Independent States generally do not prevent a 
U.S. citizen possessing a U.S. passport and appropriate visas from 
visiting those countries and returning to the United States, or to his 
or her country of permanent residence, even if under foreign laws he or 
she is considered a citizen of a NIS country.  Any dual national U.S. 
citizen traveling in any country in the region should contact the 
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate immediately if any question arises 
about his or her U.S. or foreign citizenship.

Legal Permanent U.S. Residents

Please be aware that the ability of U.S. authorities to assist legal 
permanent U.S. residents is limited.  These individuals should travel 
with appropriate documentation of their legal status in the U.S.  Those 
who are citizens of an NIS country should ensure that they have the 
correct entry/exit permission from the appropriate embassy in the United 
States before they travel.

Marriage Abroad

Americans contemplating marriage to a citizen of Russia or other NIS 
country should contact the Consular Section of the nearest American 
embassy or consulate before the marriage takes place.  Consular officers 
cannot perform marriages, but can provide information about local 
regulations concerning marriage.

Adopting A Child Abroad

It is technically possible to adopt a child from most countries in the 
Newly Independent States.  However, adoption laws and procedures vary 
from country to country, and are subject to change with little prior 
notice.  In general, adoption procedures throughout the region are 
complicated, and prospective parents should be prepared to go through a 
lengthy process before being allowed to adopt a child.  The Department 
of State maintains country specific information on file about the 
current laws and procedures for international adoption in the Newly 
Independent States.  U.S. citizens interested in adopting a child from 
one of these countries are encouraged to contact their state's 
Department of Health and Human Services to locate an agency that 
specializes in international adoptions, and/or the Department of State's 
Office of Children's Issues, in the Office of Overseas Citizens 
Services, at 202-736-7000 for further information on foreign country 
adoption requirements.

Country Profiles

The following sections contain information on the individual countries 
of the Newly Independent States.  This is a challenging and exciting 
time to visit these countries.  Because travel conditions are changing 
rapidly throughout the region, you will need to research and plan your 
visit carefully before leaving the United States.  Be patient and 
flexible once you are underway in order to have a successful and 
pleasurable trip.  For updates on each of these countries, please 
consult the current Consular Information Sheets.

RUSSIA

Visas

Russian law requires that all travelers who spend more than three days 
in Russia register their visas through their hotel or sponsor.  Visitors 
who have not registered their visas may be prevented from leaving the 
country. In addition, all foreigners must have an exit visa to depart 
Russia.  For short stays, the exit visa is issued together with the 
entry visa; for longer stays, the exit visa must be obtained by a 
sponsor after the traveler's arrival.

Problems with tourist visas should be referred first to Intourservice, 
located in many major hotels.  If problems are encountered with other 
types of visas, travelers should contact their sponsor, who will 
intercede with OVIR on the behalf of U.S. citizens.

Errors in the dates or other information on the visa can occur, and it 
is a good idea to check your visa carefully before departing the United 
States. U.S. citizens can contact the Russian Embassy, Consular 
Division, 1825 Phelps Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 
939-8918, 939-8907, or 939-8913, or the Russian Consulates in New York, 
San Francisco or Seattle for current information on visa requirements.

Passports

In the event your passport is lost or stolen, please be aware that the 
U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia only accept U.S. dollars, rubles 
or travelers checks as payment for a replacement passport.  (The 
American Consulate General in Vladivostok does not accept payment for 
consular fees in traveler's checks.)

Areas of Instability

At press time, the political situation remains particularly unsettled in 
Russia's Caucasus area, which is located in southern Russia along its 
border with Georgia and Azerbaijan.  Travel to this area is considered 
dangerous.  The regions of the Chechen Republic, the Ingush Republic and 
the North Ossetian Republic have experienced continued armed violence 
and have a state of emergency in effect.  Street demonstrations, which 
sometimes turn violent, may occur without warning, although 
announcements of demonstrations in Moscow are usually carried on local 
English-language radio news programs.

Crime

Crime is a growing problem in Russia, particularly in major cities and 
along the highway between St. Petersburg and Vyborg.  Additional 
information may be found on page 16 in the section on "Crime."

Air Travel

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Russian Civil Air 
Authorities conducted a joint safety evaluation of Russia's civil 
aviation.  Airlines certified to operate internationally meet higher 
standards than domestic-only air carriers yet also fly to most domestic 
destinations.  The Russian Department of Air Transport has provided a 
list, which is available from the U.S. Embassies in Moscow or Kiev or by 
writing the Department of State's Office of Overseas Citizen's Services, 
of those airlines certified by Russia for international operations.  
Travelers should note that safety certification of the airlines on this 
list is provided solely by the Russian Department of Air Transport; the 
Federal Aviation Administration only provides safety certification of 
U.S. airlines.  In addition, a few foreign international airlines are 
starting to offer flights between some of the countries in the region.  
While Russian airlines are in transition to meet international 
standards, flexibility and patience are the keys to successful air 
travel throughout the region.

Auto Travel and Insurance

All tourists entering Russia by automobile are required to sign a 
statement guaranteeing the re-export of their automobiles.  This 
obligation also applies to vehicles which may have been damaged during 
your travels.

Your automobile should be fully insured under a policy valid for Russia 
and for any other country you will enter.  Insurance policies may be 
purchased from Lloyds of London or from Ingostrakh, Kuybyshev Street 
11/10, Moscow and Zakharyevskaya Street 17, St. Petersburg.  Ingostrakh 
is a Russian organization that insures foreigners in Russia.  Ingostrakh 
also sells auto insurance for travelers who plan to drive out of Russia 
through Finland by car.  Auto insurance obtained in Russia is accepted 
in some of the other NIS countries.

Be aware that Russian law allows the insurance company to refuse 
compensation for damage if a driver is pronounced by the authorities to 
be under the influence of alcohol at the time of an accident.  Such 
determinations can be made without the benefit of any tests.

Currency

Though Russia operates on the basis of a cash-only economy, some hotels 
and restaurants in Moscow and St. Petersburg have begun to accept credit 
cards. (These are usually foreign run, joint venture operations.)  
However, do not assume your hotel will accept your credit card as 
payment!

If you find yourself short of funds in Moscow, St. Petersburg, or 
Vladivostok, there are several possible avenues for assistance.  Western 
Union has agents in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok, as well as 
in other cities in the NIS, which can disburse money wired from the U.S.  
In addition, money can be transferred from a bank account in the U.S to 
Dialogbank, located in the Slavianskaya Hotel (the minimum transfer is 
$1,000).  In case of an emergency, funds may also be wired to an 
American citizen through the State Department's Overseas Citizens 
Services at 202-647-5225.  The funds are generally disbursed two 
business days later at the American Citizens Services unit of the U.S. 
Embassy.  In Moscow, automatic teller machines which accept American 
Express credit cards are located at the American Express office and the 
Mezhdunarodnaya (International) Hotel.  An automatic teller machine 
which accepts Visa cards is located in the Metropol Hotel.  Dialogbank 
in the Radisson Hotel provides cash advances for Mastercard holders.  
The American Express offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg can cash 
travelers checks and personal checks for card holders.  In addition, the 
St. Petersburg office can provide card holders with cash advances up to 
$500.  In Vladivostok, Credo Bank (located near the Territorial 
Administration building) can cash American Express traveler's checks for 
rubles only and provide cash advances in dollars on Visa credit cards.

During periodic cash shortages, it can be difficult or impossible to 
cash travelers checks for dollars, for other convertible (hard) 
currency, or even for rubles.  In places where it is possible to cash 
traveler's checks (such as in some hotels in major cities), the fee may 
be high (for example, 5%).  In addition, the currency situation varies 
from city to city.  In Moscow, cash may be available at Dialogbank or 
American Express.  In St. Petersburg, rubles may be available but not 
hard currency (though rubles and hard currency are generally available).

Customs

Russian customs laws and regulations are in a state of flux and are not 
consistently enforced.  All items which may appear to have historical or 
cultural value -- icons, art, rugs, antiques, etc. -- may be taken out 
of Russia only with prior written approval of the Ministry of Culture 
and payment of up to 100 percent duty.  Caviar may only be taken out of 
Russia with a receipt indicating it was bought in a store licensed to 
sell to foreigners.  Failure to follow the customs regulations may 
result in confiscation of the property in question.  For further 
information, see the general information section on "Shopping."

Russian Law

On February 6, 1992, Russia established a new citizenship law 
recognizing dual nationality only if there is an agreement between the 
two countries which specifically addresses dual nationality.  At this 
time, the United States and Russia do not have a dual nationality 
agreement.  Therefore, if you hold dual nationality and encounter 
problems in Russia, you may not be permitted to leave and the ability of 
a U.S. consul to assist you may be limited.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin has signed into law legislation which 
requires all foreigners staying in Russia for more than 3 months to 
undergo a test for the AIDS virus.  The details of the new law were not 
available at the time this brochure went to press.  Please refer to the 
current Consular Information Sheet for updated information on this 
issue.

ARMENIA

Travelers are advised to obtain a visa from the Embassy of the Republic 
of Armenia in Washington, D.C. before traveling to Armenia.  It is 
possible to obtain a 21-day visa at the main airport in Yerevan upon 
arrival, but at a higher cost.  Travelers without a visa cannot register 
at hotels and may be required to leave the country immediately via the 
route by which they entered.

Air transportation to and from Armenia is limited, and passengers should 
be prepared to cope with frequent delays, unexpected refueling stops, 
and poor service.  Other modes of transportation may be unreliable and 
uncomfortable.  Although the U.S. government no longer prohibits U.S. 
officials from traveling overland between Georgia and Armenia, travelers 
should exercise caution.  Travelers should be aware that there is 
frequent armed conflict along portions of the Armenian-Azerbaijani 
border.

Travelers should be prepared for a lack of electricity and heat, fuel 
shortages, and limited availability of consumer goods.  Traveler's 
checks and credit cards are not accepted.  Armenia has a relatively low 
rate of violent crime, but robbery has increased.

AZERBAIJAN

A passport and visa are required to enter Azerbaijan.  Businesspersons 
who apply for visas more than five days in advance and tourists who 
apply more than ten days in advance will not be charged for their visas.  
Individuals requesting visas for less time or arriving in Baku without a 
valid Azerbaijani visa will be charged a fee ranging from $40 to $250 
for their visa.  Although visas can be obtained in Baku after arrival, 
passports without visas are retained by immigration authorities at the 
airport. Visitors must apply to the consular department of the Ministry 
of Foreign Affairs the next working day to retrieve their passport.  All 
visitors to Azerbaijan are strongly urged to obtain a visa prior to 
their arrival. Travelers with valid Georgian visas are permitted to 
enter Azerbaijan for five days.  Thereafter, they must obtain an 
Azerbaijani visa.  Visa applicants must include a letter of invitation 
from an individual or organization in Azerbaijan when applying for a 
visa.  Outside the United States, visas may be obtained from Azerbaijani 
embassies in Germany, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.  For additional 
information on visa requirements, contact the Embassy of Azerbaijan in 
Washington, D.C. at telephone 202-842-0001 or fax 202-842-0004.

Although Azerbaijan has a low rate of violent crime, incidents of street 
crime and assaults on foreigners are increasing.  Travelers should 
exercise caution as public disturbances may occur without warning.  In 
the capital of Baku, armed troops are positioned outside a number of 
government buildings to provide additional security.  Azerbaijan has 
been engaged in an ethnic conflict with Armenia over the territory of 
Nagorno-Karabakh. Approximately twenty percent of the territory of 
Azerbaijan is occupied by Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh.  
Travelers may be stopped at roadblocks while vehicles and travel 
documents are inspected.  Travel to several regions is restricted and 
requires advance permission from the Ministry of the Interior.  The 
Consular Section of the American Embassy in Baku can provide additional 
information on the crime situation including safety tips and contact 
numbers for the local police.

Train travel in the Caucasus region has been severely disrupted by civil 
strife and is not secure.  Air travel to Azerbaijan is currently 
available through Turkey on a regular basis, and, through Germany and 
the United Kingdom on a more limited schedule.

A state of emergency and midnight to 5:00 a.m. curfew established in 
October 1994 remain in effect for Baku.  There are numerous roadblocks 
and checkpoints throughout the capital.  Visitors to Azerbaijan are 
encouraged to exercise extreme caution.

BELARUS

A visa is required for entry into Belarus.  Visas may be obtained at the 
Belarusian Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate in New York.  An 
invitation from a Belarusian sponsor, whether an individual or a travel 
agency, is required.  Russian and Kazakh visas are valid for transit (up 
to three days) through Belarus.  Visas may also be obtained at 
Belarusian embassies and consulates abroad, although this can be a time-
consuming process.

Travelers passing through Belarus on the way to other points in the NIS 
must possess a Belarusian transit visa.  On occasion, travelers taking 
the train from Warsaw, Poland to Vilnius, Lithuania have been required 
to leave the train in Grodno, Belarus and return to their point of 
departure to obtain a transit visa.  Transit visas are not available on 
the train.  This problem can be avoided by taking the direct rail route 
that goes to Sestokai, Lithuania via Suwalki, Poland, without passing 
through Belarus. 

U.S. citizens residing in Belarus are required to register with the 
local Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR).  Failure to do so will 
result in fines and frequent visits from local militia.  U.S. citizens 
residing in hotels are automatically registered.

Traveler's checks are not accepted in Belarus.  Intourist hotels in 
Minsk accept American Express, and several stores selling imported goods 
and the Planeta Hotel accept Visa cards.

The number of reported diphtheria cases in Belarus has quadrupled in the 
past three years.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends 
immunization against diphtheria.

GEORGIA

A passport is required for entry into Georgia, but a visa is not 
required before arrival.  Visitors who enter at the Tbilisi airport 
receive a temporary stamp at passport control and are instructed to 
obtain a visa from the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs.  Visas are usually granted within five days.  Travelers who 
have valid visas for Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan can use these 
visas for transit (up to three days) through Georgia without an 
additional Georgian visa.  Those arriving from or departing to other 
countries, including the remainder of the Newly Independent States, must 
obtain a Georgian visa in order to leave the country.  On an exceptional 
basis, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs can assist travelers to 
obtain visas at the checkpoint at Sarpi on the border with Turkey, and 
at the port of Batumi on the Black Sea. Arrangements must be made in 
advance to issue a visa at one of these entry points.

Travelers should be aware of the risks of travel in Georgia.  Some 
terrorist incidents have occurred in connection with regional conflicts. 
Despite the nominal end of the war in Abkhazia, travel in that region is 
still hazardous.  High crime rates in South Ossetia make unofficial and 
unescorted travel there risky.  The security situation in Tbilisi has 
improved slightly, but crime rates are still high.  The security of 
overland travel inside Georgia is minimal.  Trains destined for Armenia 
have occasionally been targeted by terrorists, and all train and 
vehicular traffic is vulnerable to robbery by bandits.

Violent crime is not uncommon in Georgia.  Sporadic gunfire, often 
celebratory in nature, can be dangerous to bystanders.  Travelers on the 
metro system in Tbilisi are particularly susceptible to criminal acts. 
Petty theft and pickpocketing is common, especially in open-air markets. 
While police authority has improved slightly, security conditions can 
change rapidly.

KAZAKHSTAN

Entry visas are issued at the Kazakhstan Embassy on the basis of a 
letter of invitation from a Kazakh organization, or at the Almaty 
Airport.  Visas issued at the airport without a letter of invitation are 
only valid for three days.  Kazakhstan immigration officials consider 
visas for Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and 
Belarus to be valid for transit (up to three days) through Kazakhstan.

Incidence of infectious diseases in Kazakhstan is generally higher than 
in the U.S., and immunizations are unavailable.  Drinking only boiled or 
bottled water will help guard against cholera, which has been reported.

Common street crime has increased, especially at night, and some robbery 
victims have been assaulted.  Robbers congregate around hotels that 
cater to foreigners.  Walking in a group or utilizing an official 
metered taxi with door to door service is the best way to traverse the 
cities after sunset.

KYRGYZSTAN

Visas are required for entry into Kyrgyzstan.  Visas are issued by the 
Kyrgyz Embassy in Washington, D.C.  No letter of invitation is required 
for a stay of up to two months.  For detailed information, contact the 
Kyrgyz Embassy at telephone (202) 628-0433 or fax (202) 347-3718.  In 
countries where no Kyrgyz Embassy is present, the Russian Embassy has 
the authority to issue a Kyrgyz visa.  All visitors staying in 
Kyrgyzstan more than three days are required to register with OVIR, the 
Office of Visas and Registration.  Visitors who do not register within 
three days are fined.

Currently, no airline provides dependable, regularly scheduled 
international air service into Bishkek.  Most air travelers fly to 
Almaty, Kazakhstan, and then travel overland to Bishkek (approximately a 
four-hour journey).  Train travel in the region is irregular and 
arduous.

Kyrgyzstan has a moderate rate of violent crime, and members of the 
foreign community have been singled out as targets.  Some incidents of 
muggings have occurred outside hotels catering to foreigners.

Kyrgyzstan has a cash-based economy, and credit cards are not accepted. 
Only one bank accepts traveler's checks, and the fee can be as high as 
20 percent.

MOLDOVA

Travelers must have visas to enter Moldova.  Visas are available from 
the Moldovan Embassy in Washington, D.C., from the Moldovan Consulate in 
Frankfurt, Germany, or in other selected cities.  When traveling to 
Moldova with the intention of continuing elsewhere in the NIS, keep in 
mind that visas for travel to other NIS countries are mandatory and 
difficult to obtain in Moldova.

The U.S. Embassy in Chisinau advises that only essential travel should 
be undertaken into or through the Transnistria region.  There are 
frequent checkpoints in Transnistria, manned by armed, young and 
inexperienced paramilitary units who are not under the control of the 
Moldovan government and whose members rarely understand English.  
Travelers may be subject to extortion or robbery at checkpoints.  Only 
Air Moldova and Tarom (Romania's national airline) regularly fly to 
Moldova.  Air Moldova service is well below Western standards.  Aircraft 
appear to be old and cabin areas are in poor condition.  Train service 
is also below Western standards and an increasing number of Americans 
have been victimized while traveling on international trains to and from 
Moldova.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend Hepatitis B series for certain 
travelers.  In addition, rabies vaccinations may be useful as casual 
exposure to stray dogs is common throughout Chisinau.

TAJIKISTAN

At the time of publication, a Travel Warning for Tajikistan was in 
effect. Although a cease-fire is in effect between the warring factions 
and peaceful elections were held, sporadic fighting continues along the 
Tajikistan-Afghanistan border.  In addition, unsettled conditions exist 
in some areas of the countryside, particularly in parts of the Gharm 
Valley and Gorno-Badakhshan.  There is a potential for terrorist actions 
in the capital, Dushanbe, primarily targeting Russians.  The U.S. 
Embassy provides a full range of consular services, but is extremely 
limited in the services it can provide outside Dushanbe.  For updated 
information, contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 202-
647-5225.

A visa is required for entry into Tajikistan.  Registry at a hotel is 
prohibited without a visa, and travelers who enter the country without a 
visa will be required to leave immediately via the route by which they 
entered.  In the United States, Tajik visas are issued by the Russian 
Embassy in Washington, D.C., or the Russian Consulates in New York, San 
Francisco, or Seattle.  Contact these sources for current information on 
visa requirements for Tajikistan.

Due to the unsettled situation in the region, travel to, from, and 
within Tajikistan is difficult and unreliable.  The only regular 
international air travel to and from Dushanbe are connections to Moscow 
and St. Petersburg via Air Tajikistan.  These flights may be cancelled 
due to lack of fuel. International train connections are extremely 
dangerous because of criminals operating on board.  Travelers to other 
Central Asian countries or Russia must have appropriate visas, which are 
not available in Tajikistan.

The civil war has significantly contributed to the deterioration of 
Tajikistan's medical infrastructure.  Many trained medical personnel 
have left the country and there is a potential for significant outbreaks 
of disease due to the migration of refugees and the discontinuance of 
immunization activities.

International banking services are not available in Tajikistan.  
Traveling with large amounts of cash can be dangerous.  However, credit 
cards and traveler's checks are rarely accepted in lieu of cash.

TURKMENISTAN

Without a visa, travelers to Turkmenistan cannot register at hotels and 
will be required to leave the country immediately via the route by which 
they entered.  If a visa is not obtained from the Embassy of 
Turkmenistan in Washington, D.C., it may be obtained on arrival at the 
airport for twenty dollars for a ten-day stay.  This visa may be 
obtained without presenting an invitation letter.  However, if an 
extension of the visa is necessary, a letter of invitation must be 
furnished by the traveler's host to support the application.  Extensions 
may be authorized by applying at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Generally, the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs takes five working days to process any requests to 
extend visas, although for a fee, this process can be expedited.

UKRAINE

Visas for entry into Ukraine may be obtained in advance from the Embassy 
of Ukraine, or the Ukrainian Consulates in New York or Chicago.  Almost 
all Ukrainian visas are issued on the basis of invitations.  The 
invitation may be extended by a person, company, or organization in 
Ukraine or through a tour company voucher.

Travelers who intend to visit Russia from Ukraine must have a Russian 
visa. Visitors who arrive in Ukraine without a visa must obtain one at 
the border point.  Three day visas for travelers arriving without an 
invitation are issued for $150.00 at Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, and Simferopol 
airports and at the ports of Odessa and Yalta.  Sometimes travelers art 
also required to purchase a tourist voucher for the visa to be issued.  
Visas are not normally available at land crossing points.

Travelers are usually denied admission to Ukraine without a visa, or if 
the entire number of entries on the Ukrainian visa have been used.  
Those travelers intending to enter neighboring countries, such as Russia 
or Poland, and then re-enter Ukraine should keep this in mind.  
Travelers departing Ukraine do not need an exit visa; however, the visa 
must be valid (not expired) for departure to take place.

All foreigners staying in Ukraine for more than three days are required 
to register their passports with local law enforcement authorities 
(though this requirement is sporadically enforced).  The registration 
requirement is automatically met when foreigners stay in hotels, when 
resident business persons register their businesses, or when students 
register under established exchange programs.  Private visitors must 
have their hosts, relatives, or landlords register their U.S. passport 
at the local "Visas, Permits, and Passport Department" (VVIR) office of 
the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  Visitors who do not register may 
experience delays when leaving Ukraine, as well as fines or other 
difficulty when trying to extend visas. (Check your visa carefully for 
any errors in the dates of travel, number of entries, and/or authorized 
destinations in Ukraine.)  A fee of ten U.S. dollars or the equivalent 
in Ukrainian currency is usually charged for visa extensions or passport 
registration.

Your letter of invitation cannot be issued by an American in Ukraine, 
unless that person represents, is employed by, or studies in a 
registered organization (such as a joint venture or recognized 
university).  In recent years, some Americans whose visas are sponsored 
by missionary groups, even registered ones, have faced problems with 
visa extension.  The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs no longer 
extends visas for private Americans, only for journalists, certain 
businesspersons, and other select foreigners spending extended time in 
Ukraine.  The U.S. Embassy in Kiev accepts only U.S. dollars or 
Ukrainian coupons as payment for passport replacement.

There have been isolated cases of diphtheria, typhoid and cholera in 
Ukraine.  Adequate vaccination received before leaving the United States 
protects against these diseases.

Ukrainian customs regulations prohibit the sending of money through the 
international mail system to Ukraine.  Money sent through the mail is 
subject to confiscation.  Make sure you have enough money to cover your 
expenses before entering Ukraine.  In Kiev, cash may be available at the 
Agroprombank, Export/Import Bank, or Bank Ukraina.

It is legal for Ukrainian citizens to hold hard currency; therefore, a 
black market does not exist for U.S. dollars.  It is legal only to use a 
bank, hotel, or licensed currency exchange kiosk (in Ukrainian "Obmen 
Alyut") to exchange money.  Several banks and financial companies, 
including Western Union, can cash travelers checks and disburse money 
wired from the United States.  In addition, a credit card cash advance 
may be obtained for a fee at "Xchange Points," a company headquartered 
in Kiev's Lybid Hotel.  As of March 1995, Ukraine has no operating 
Western bank.

Customs declarations are carefully examined upon departure from Ukraine; 
keep receipts for purchases made both inside and outside Ukraine.  
Certain items deemed to be of historical or artistic significance may be 
unexportable.  When purchasing artwork, always request a certificate 
attesting to the item's value and artistic significance.  In Kiev, the 
Ministry of Culture on Prorizna Street has an office that can also issue 
these certificates, after a complicated bureaucratic process.

Crimea has experienced chronic, low-level tension on the political level 
since 1992.  Contact the U.S. Embassy in Kiev or the Office of Overseas 
Citizens Services for current information on the situation.

UZBEKISTAN

Private travel to Uzbekistan must be arranged through a travel agency 
(package tour) which has a relationship with Uzbek tourism, or via an 
invitation from a private Uzbek citizen organization or business which 
requests visa issuance through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least 
a month in advance.   This is a time-consuming process; travelers are 
encouraged to make their arrangements a at least two months prior to 
their departure.  Visas are issued at embassies and consulates abroad, 
although transit visas may be issued at Tashkent Airport.

Uzbekistan's visa policy, which requires that the visa specify each city 
to be visited, is under review.  Travelers should contact the Embassy of 
Uzbekistan or refer to the current Consular Information Sheet for 
clarification of Uzbekistan's visa requirements for American citizens. 
Travelers without a proper visa cannot register at hotels, will be fined 
and required to leave the country immediately via their entry route. 
Unlike other NIS countries, travelers with NIS visas are permitted entry 
to Uzbekistan for genuine transit only.  Travelers with NIS visas who 
intend to visit Uzbekistan and then return to the NIS country from which 
they arrived must obtain a separate visa for Uzbekistan.  Transit visas 
are available for Tashkent and other transit points such as Termez and 
Urgench, with confirmation of onward transportation within three days.  
All travelers in Uzbekistan for even one day are required to register 
with OVIR, the Office of Visas and Registration.  Travelers who stay in 
a hotel are automatically registered, but all other travelers are 
responsible for registering themselves.  Fees for registration with OVIR 
range from twenty to two hundred dollars, depending on length of stay.  
Visitors without proper registration are subject to fines (ranging from 
twenty to sixty dollars) and possible harassment by local authorities.  
Also, the government of Uzbekistan officially requires visitors to carry 
a medical certificate proving that they are not HIV infected, but this 
requirement is only sporadically enforced.

Diseases contracted by foreigners in Uzbekistan include salmonella, 
hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies, and meningitis.  Other food and 
waterborne diseases are common.  Therefore, travelers are advised to 
drink only boiled or bottled water and to peel all fruit and vegetables.  
Due to inappropriate sanitation conditions, travelers should avoid 
eating dairy products and most food sold in the streets.

Uzbekistan is a country in transition; a resurgence of Islamic tradition 
coexists with an increase in common street crime.  Although modest 
Western-style clothing is appropriate in Tashkent, women should be 
prepared to dress conservatively in areas outside the capital.  In rural 
areas, women in pants, short skirts, or sleeveless blouses face a risk 
of harassment.  In urban areas, all travelers should take the same 
precautions against crime that they would take in a large American city.

U.S. Embassy and Consulate Locations in Russia

Moscow: Novinskiy Bulvar 19/23;  tel. (7)(095) 252-2451.  
After hours duty officer: tel. (7)(095) 252-1898 or 255-5123.

U.S. Consulates General are located at:

St. Petersburg:  Ulitsa Furshtadskaya 15;  tel. (7-812) 275-1701.  
After hours duty officer: (7-812) 274-8692.

Vladivostok:  12 Mordovtseva;  tel. (7-4232) 268-458 or 267-117.

Yekaterinburg: tel. (7-3432) 601-143, or by fax, 601-181.   The 
Consulate General in Yekaterinburg provides emergency services  only for 
American citizens.

U.S. Embassy Locations in the Newly Independent States

18 General Bagramian Street 
Yerevan, ARMENIA 
tel. (7-8852) 15-11-44

Prospect Azadlig 83 
Baku, AZERBAIJAN 
tel. (9-9412) 98-03-35, (9-9412) 98-03-36 or (9-9412) 98-03-37

46 Starovilenskaya Ulitsa 
Minsk, BELARUS 
tel. (7-0172) 31-50-00

25 Atoneli Street 
Tbilisi, GEORGIA 
tel. (7-8832) 98-99-67 or (7-8832) 98-99-68

99/97A Furmanova Street 
Almaty, KAZAKHSTAN 
tel. (7-3272) 63-24-26

Erkindik Prospect #66 
Bishkek, KYRGYZSTAN 
tel.  (7-3312) 22-27-77

Strada Alexei Mateevici 103 
Chisinau, MOLDOVA 
tel. (373-2) 23-37-72

Interim Chancery 
#39 Ainii Street 
Oktyabrskaya Hotel 
Dushanbe, TAJIKISTAN
tel.  (8-3772) 21-03-56

Hotel Jubileniya 
Ashgabat, TURKMENISTAN 
tel. (7-3632) 24-49-25

(As of June 1995, the U.S. Embassy's permanent address will be:  9 
Pushkin Street, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.  Please refer to the most 
current Consular Information Sheet for Turkmenistan for the U.S. 
Embassy's new telephone numbers.)

Yuria Kotsubinskoho 10 
Kiev, UKRAINE 
tel. (7-044) 244-7344, 7345, 7349; 216-3805 (afterhours)

(The city codes for Ukrainian cities and the country code for Ukraine 
will change sometime after publication.  Please refer to the current 
Consular Information Sheet for the new numbers.)

82 Chelanzarskaya 
Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN 
tel. (7-3712) 77-14-07 or (7-3712) 77-22-31

NIS Embassies in the United States

Embassy of the Republic of ARMENIA 
1660 L St., NW 
11th Floor 
Washington, D.C.  20036 
telephone:  (202) 393-5983

Embassy of the Republic of AZERBAIJAN 
927 15th St., NW 
Suite 700
Washington, D.C.  20005 
telephone:  (202) 842-0001

Embassy of the Republic of BELARUS 
New Hampshire Ave. NW 
Suite 1619
Washington, D.C.  20009 
telephone:  (202) 986-1604/1606

Embassy of the Republic of GEORGIA 
1511 K St., NW 
Suite 424
Washington, D.C.  20005 
telephone:  (202) 393-6060

Embassy of the Republic of KAZAKHSTAN 
3421 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, D.C.  20008 
telephone:  (202) 333-4507

Embassy of the Republic of KYRGRZSTAN 
1511 K St., NW 
Suite 706 
Washington, D.C.  20005 
telephone:  (202) 347-3732

Embassy of MOLDOVA 
1511 K St., NW 
#333 Washington, D.C.  20005 
telephone:  (202) 783-3012 (main switchboard)
            (202) 783-4218 (visa information/Consular Section)
fax:        (202) 783-3342

Embassy of the RUSSIAN FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC 
1125 16th St., NW 
Washington, D.C.  20036 
telephone:  (202) 939-8907/8911/8913/8918

Russia also has consulates in the following U.S. cities: 
--  2790 Green St., San Francisco, CA 94123
--  9 E. 91st St., New York, NY, 10021 
--  2001 6th Ave., 23rd Floor, Seattle, WA 98121

Embassy of the Republic of TURKMENISTAN 
1511 K Street, NW 
Suite 412
Washington, D.C.  20005 
telephone:  (202) 737-4800 
fax:        (202) 737-1152

Embassy of UKRAINE 
3350 M St., NW 
Washington, D.C.  20007 
telephone:  (202) 333-0606, 333-7507/08/09 
fax:        (202) 333-0817

Embassy of the Republic of UZBEKISTAN 
1511 K St., NW 
Suites 619, 623
Washington, D.C.  20005 
telephone:  (202) 638-4267

Uzbekistan Consulate 
866 United Nations Plaza 
Suite 326 
New York, NY 10017
telephone:  (212) 486-7570

PLANNING ANOTHER TRIP?

For general travel information, the following  pamphlets may be ordered 
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Washington, DC 20402;  telephone  202-512-1800.  The price of each 
publication is $1, except where noted.

Your Trip Abroad   (price $1.25) 
A Safe Trip Abroad Tips for Americans
Residing Abroad

Country specific information can be found in the following publications:

Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean 
Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa 
Tips for Travelers to Central and  South America 
Tips for Travelers to the People's Republic of China 
Tips for Travelers to Mexico 
Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa  (price $1.25) 
Tips for Travelers to South Asia 

General visa information for these and other countries is available in 
Foreign Entry Requirements.  You may order Foreign Entry Requirements 
for 50 cents from the Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO  81009.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 10269 
Bureau of Consular Affairs 
Revised May 1995

The information in this publication is in the public domain and may be 
reproduced without permission.  When this material is reproduced, the 
Department of State would appreciate receiving a copy at:  CA/P/PA, Room 
6831, Department of State, Washington D.C. 20520-4818.

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