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Travel Security Advice for Mozambique

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mozambique_mapMozambique_Overview

 


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Mozambique is a developing country in southern Africa which has been steadily rebuilding its economy and civic institutions since ending a 16-year civil war in 1992.  The country stabilized following Mozambique's first multi-party elections in October 1994, and a new president was elected in December 2004.  Despite high economic growth rates in recent years, Mozambique remains among the world's poorest countries.  Facilities for tourism in Maputo, the capital city, are steadily improving but remain limited in other areas as many of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available.  The official language is Portuguese, although English is spoken in many tourist areas, and in some rural areas only local languages are widely spoken.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Mozambique for additional information.

REGISTRATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Mozambique are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State travel registration page so that they can obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.  

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A visa is required for entry into Mozambique.  It is recommended that travelers acquire the appropriate visa prior to departing for Mozambique, although a one-entry visa can be obtained at country points of entry, including airports.  Foreigners in Mozambique without a valid visa can expect to pay a substantial fine (1000 meticais) for each day they are in Mozambique illegally.  The fine can be assessed upon travelers’ departure or if travelers are caught by authorities while still in Mozambique.  Please pay close attention to the period you are authorized to stay in Mozambique on your visa ("Autorizado a permaneçer pelo período de [number of days])."  This is the maximum number of days you may stay before you must depart Mozambique.  The passports of all travelers who wish to enter Mozambique must be valid for six months upon arrival and must contain at least three clean (unstamped) visa pages each time entry is sought.  The Mozambican Embassy and Consulates in South Africa charge up to five times the amount charged in the U.S. or at border crossing points for a tourist visa to Mozambique.  Visit the Embassy of Mozambique web site for the most current visa information.

In September 2007 the Mozambican Interior and Health Ministries decreed that all travelers entering Mozambique, having previously visited a country where yellow fever is present, must present a valid certification of vaccination against yellow fever.  We recommend all travelers be vaccinated to avoid complications at the border.  Any passenger who cannot present such a certificate at the port of entry will be vaccinated at a cost of $50 US dollars or the equivalent in metical.  Additionally, all travelers entering Mozambique must carry their yellow vaccination book.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Mozambique. 

Information about
dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Threats to Safety and Security:

Overland travel after dark is extremely dangerous due to poor road conditions, lack of emergency services, and the increased potential for vehicle hijacking.  Visitors should be particularly vigilant when driving on the main thoroughfares connecting Mozambique and South Africa as incidents of vehicle theft, including assault and robbery, have been reported.  Official Americans serving in Mozambique are prohibited from overland travel outside Maputo city limits after dark and are encouraged to travel in convoys of two or more vehicles when outside of the city during daylight hours.  Official Americans are prohibited from using “chapas” (local minibuses) due to frequent accidents involving these vehicles.  Due to residual landmines, overland travelers are advised to remain on well-traveled roads or seek local information before going off-road outside of Maputo and other provincial capitals.

Pedestrians and drivers alike make few distinctions between roads and sidewalks (where they exist), and serious or fatal vehicle/pedestrian accidents are common, especially at night. 

Drivers should obey police signals to stop at checkpoints, which are common throughout Mozambique.  Foreigners visiting Mozambique for more than 90 days are required to have an International Driver’s License or to obtain a Mozambican driver’s license.

Although demonstrations do occur in Mozambique, they are infrequent and there have been no recent demonstrations against U.S. interests.  If any demonstrations do occur, they should be avoided.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's,
Bureau of Consular Affairs' website

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.

CRIME:

Although the vast majority of visitors complete their travels in Mozambique without incident, the most serious threat facing U.S. citizens visiting Mozambique is crime.  Street crimes, including mugging, purse-snatching and pick-pocketing are common, both in Maputo and in secondary cities.  Carjackings are increasingly common.  Visitors must be vigilant when out in public areas and should not display jewelry or other expensive items.  Isolated areas should be avoided.  Joggers and pedestrians have frequently been mugged, even during daylight hours.  Visitors should take caution when walking at night, even in well-known tourist areas. Due to an increase in violent crime, pedestrian activity is discouraged on Maputo's Avenida Marginal between the Southern Sun hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn) and the Waterfront Restaurant.

Mozambican police are not at the standard U.S. citizens are accustomed to in the United States and visitors should not expect the same level of police service.

Many airline trips from Mozambique to the U.S., Europe, or African destinations transit Johannesburg, South Africa.  Baggage pilferage is an ongoing problem at Johannesburg's Oliver Tambo International Airport.  Travelers are encouraged to secure their luggage, use an airport plastic wrapping service, and avoid placing currency, electronics, jewelry, cameras, cosmetics, running shoes, or other valuables in checked luggage.  Having a complete inventory of items placed in checked baggage can aid in processing a claim if theft does occur.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. 

VICTIMS OF CRIME:

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State list of embassies and consulates ).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

There is no local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Mozambique.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.  Persons violating Mozambican laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Mozambique are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Special Circumstances: Mozambican law requires that all persons carry an identity document such as a passport when out in public and that they present it to police upon request.  Notarized copies of both the biographic page of a passport and a valid Mozambican visa are acceptable forms of identification, although police will occasionally demand original documents.  There are certain areas in Mozambique where pedestrian traffic is prohibited and the ban is strictly enforced.  These areas include the front of the presidential offices located north of the Hotel Polana on the seaside of Avenida Julius Nyerere and the Praça dos Herois on Avenida Acordos de Lusaka near the airport, both in Maputo.

It is against the law to destroy Mozambican currency; offenders can expect a jail sentence or fine.  The limit for an undeclared amount of U.S. dollars one can take out of the country is $5,000.  The maximum amount of local currency one can take out is 500 metical, which is approximately 20 U.S. dollars.  Some American travelers have reported having difficulties cashing traveler’s checks and have relied instead on ATMs and credit cards for money withdrawals in Mozambique.  Outside of the major hotels and restaurants, credit cards are not widely accepted in Mozambique.  The South African rand and U.S. dollar are sometimes accepted as legal tender, although this is more common in the southern part of the country or in tourist areas; all transactions must have a local currency (metical) payment option.

Please see our Customs Information sheet.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Medical facilities are rudimentary, and most medical providers do not speak fluent English.  Medicines are not always consistently available.  There are both public and private medical facilities in the city of Maputo and most provincial capitals.  All health care institutions and providers require payment at the time of service, and may even require payment before providing service.  While some private clinics accept credit cards, many medical facilities do not.  Doctors and hospitals outside Maputo generally expect immediate cash payment for health services.  Outside of Maputo, available medical care ranges from very basic to nonexistent.

The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Mozambique.  For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad in order to determine whether their policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.



TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning Mozambique is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

The main north-south thoroughfare is passable until the city of Caia (Sofala province), where vehicle passengers must disembark and cross the Zambezi River by ferryboat.  On the north side of the river, the road continues to the Northern provinces.  The road network connecting provincial capitals is in fair condition, but can be riddled with potholes and other obstacles.

The EN4 toll road between Maputo and South Africa is well-maintained.  Official Americans are prohibited from traveling outside cities after dark because of the increased risk of banditry, poor road conditions in some areas, poor maintenance of many vehicles in the country (e.g., no headlights or rear lights), as well as the threat imposed by livestock grazing on roadsides.  Travel outside Maputo often requires a four-wheel drive vehicle, which creates an additional security risk since these vehicles are high-theft items.  Public transportation is limited and often has poor safety standards.

The U.S. Embassy advises American citizens not to use “chapas” (local minibuses) as a method of transportation due to frequent, often fatal accidents involving these vehicles.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  We also suggest that travelers visit the website of the Mozambique’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Mozambique, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Mozambique’sCivil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page.


CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

EMBASSY LOCATION:

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State list of embassies and consulates.

U.S. Embassy Maputo, Mozambique


193 Avenida Kenneth Kaunda
Maputo, Mozambique
Telephone: (258) 21 49 2797
Emergency after-hours telephone: (258) 21 49 0723
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Mozambique dated January 21, 2009, to update sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Crime, and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions.

 


 

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office has information regarding Mozambique HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)...........

There is also a Malaria Warning for Mozambique HERE provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.......

Regards

The SW Team........

 

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