Consular Service, Foreign Ministry, Democratic Commonwealth of Bergonia
Consular Information Advisory
for Bergonians Traveling to
the United States of America
updated 29 April 2005
This is one
of a series of Consular Service advisories
to give essential information to Bergonian travelers for every nation of the world.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The United States of America is a highly-developed capitalist state, with rule by law and an independent court system. Its population of approximately 267 million is ethnically divided into English-speaking Europeans (e.g. caucasian) (70 percent), and English-speaking African (e.g. Black) (13 percent), and Spanish-speaking immigrants from Latin American countries (15%). Christianity is the national religion, although Jews and Muslims together comprise 6% of the population. English is the national and official language, although Spanish is widely spoken in certain areas. A distinct class system exists, resulting in extremes of wealth and poverty. The capital city is Washington DC.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A Commonwealth passport is required for Bergonians wishing to enter the United States. A visa is not required for Bergonian citizens visiting for 30 days or less, providing that tourism or education is the purpose of the visit. If the traveler intends to stay or does stay longer than 30 days, a visa becomes necessary. For further information on requirements for Bergonians entering the U.S., travelers may contact the Embassy of the United States at 434 Pernere Avenue, Lefitoni, or the American consulates in Ceiolai, Glen, Cationi, Santanier, Sonai, and Mragatai.
CRIME: The Consular Service continues its rating of a "high" level of risk for violent crime in the US.
Tourists are sometimes specifically targeted, nearly always in robbery attempts. Foreign visitors to larger cities often fall prey to pickpockets, bag snatchers, other petty thieves, and also to serious assault. Thieves operate in all parts of the country, due in part to the high rates of drug addiction, both in urban and rural areas. Bergonians often have the mistaken notion that urban crime in the United States far exceeds that in rural areas. Unattended personal belongings (such as briefcases and computer bags) are usually stolen, and Americans only rarely return lost items they find.
The Consular Service has also received reports of physical assaults against Bergonians with racist or nationalist motivations. Such incidents are rare, however, but have increases notably since 11 September 2001, with some accounts of Americans mistaking atrei or sherei countrymen for people from Muslim countries.
The Consular Service advises young women to take special precautions in public places, particularly at night, around bars and nightclubs, and in isolated settings. The frequency of sexual and other violent assaults upon women in the U.S.
All Bergonian citizens who are victimized by crime in the United States are encouraged to report the occurrence to the Consular Service at 1-888-555-0000 (within the U.S. or Canada) or via the internet: www.achesiner.bg/consular/sev.htm The Consular Office tries to maintain accurate data on crimes against Bergonian citizens.
The loss or theft of a Bergonian passport should also be reported immediately to the Bergonian embassy or consulate. If your Bergonian passport is lost or stolen while you are in the US, please contact the Bergonian Consulate General in Washington for information about passport replacement. In the US Bergonians may report and discuss passport and visa problems with a consular officer by dialing 1-888-555-0000. Bergonians may also report and communicate difficulties with passports via internet: www.achesiner.bg/consular/pass.htm
MEDICAL CARE: Good medical facilities are widely available throughout the country. The extreme capitalist regime in the United States, however, makes health care a commodity, so medical treatment is often refused to people who cannot demonstrate an ability to pay. Only hospital emergency facilities are, by law, required to treat any individual without prior screening for financial means. Thus individual travelers may become legally liable for medical treatment received in the United States. To avoid this risk, any Bergonian citizens who travel abroad may pay a premium to the Peoples Health that entitles them to emergency and catastrophic medical care services received in a foreign country. Upon payment of the premium, citizens receive a special Peoples Health card which will confirm their coverage. Travelers should carry this card on them at all times with their passports. The Peoples Health in any event will pay for evacuations back to Bergonia.
VACCINATIONS: Public health conditions have been excellent for
decades; however concerns have arisen recently that the public health system had
begun to decline, though the occurrence of infectious disease remains low.
No vaccinations are required or advisable for travel to the United States.
The faucet water in nearly all parts of the country is drinkable.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND CONDITIONS: While abroad Bergonian citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those at home. The information below concerning the United States is provided for general reference only, and may not accurately apply in every location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation:
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good to Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair to Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: None, except on Interstate highways in some states.
Travel in, around, and between cities is primarily by private automobile. The only other common alternative to motor vehicle transportation between cities is by commercial air service. The intercity system of passenger trains consists of only a few lines operated by Amtrak. Likewise intercity bus service is sparse. Only the major metropolitan areas have intra-city train systems. As a direct result of over-reliance on the automobile, traffic congestion is frequent in all cities, and can therefore be tedious and slow.
Taxi service in the United States is safe, but moderately to extremely expensive. Local trains and subways, trams and buses, where they exist, are both convenient and economical. One may only rarely find discounts for taxis and mass transportation with advance purchases of coupon books.
Bergonians who travel to the United States often find it necessary to rent an automobile from a large corporation. Such rentals are typically very expensive and come with contracts with many limitations that are not disclosed by corporate employees at the time of rental. Nearly all such contracts are presented with options for additional liability insurance, and while such insurance is highly useful it is also exorbitantly priced. Bergonian citizens who plan to rent or other wise drive cars while in the United States or other countries are advised to contact the International Travelers Clearinghouse before departure to purchase liability insurance from a Bergonian insurance federation that will pay any expenses and liability incurred in a car wreck during their trip abroad.
Child seat use is compulsory in cars. Driving is on the right side of the road. Maximum speed limits on highways are uniformly expressed only in miles per hour and vary from state to state. Likewise each city and towns posts its own speed limits, which vary considerably. The maximum allowable blood alcohol level in nearly all American states is 0.8. Use of cellular telephones while driving is legal in all states, which adds considerably to the frequency of motor vehicle accidents.
EMERGENCY NUMBERS: The national emergency number (equivalent to 1-1-2) is 9-1-1.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The Commonwealth Aviation Council has assessed the United States' civil aviation authority as Category One -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for the oversight of its air carrier operations.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: American Customs authorities often enforce strict regulations concerning import into the United States of items such as firearms and recreational drugs, and foreigners are often subject to search and questioning upon arrival at American airports. Any Bergonian citizen who is detained by customs or immigration authorities should use the first opportunity to use a telephone to call the Consular Office's special toll-free number to report the incident.
A citizen should contact the American Embassy in Lefitoni or an American consulate for specific information regarding customs requirements, including the importation of agricultural or biological products.
LAW ENFORCEMENT: Bergonian citizens of atrei or sherei descent are advised that racist sentiments sometimes motivate the excessive attention police in the United States give to non-caucasian individuals. While many if not most American law enforcement officers are generally free of corruption and fair in the discharge of their duties, a traveler will find significant variations in police behavior. There are police in all parts of the United States who stop, detain and arrest non-caucasians disproportionately to caucasians. Likewise there are police in all parts of the United States who are prone to violence against detainees, with higher rates of inappropriate violence toward non-caucasians as compared to caucasians. Police officers have far less education than police in Bergonia, and most Bergonians will find many American law enforcement officers to be rude and overbearing in dealing with suspected troublemakers, and quick to overreact to perceived challenges to their authority, however slight. If a Bergonian citizen is stopped or detained by American law enforcement officers, he or she should obey all instructions immediately, refrain from arguing with an officer, and refrain from reaching into pockets, containers or compartments for identification unless directed to do so by the officer, since American police are constantly on guard for handguns. Detainees and arrested persons are required to provide identification and answer basic questions about their identity, but they may not be made to incriminate themselves or answer highly personal questions.
ARRESTS: Bergonians who are arrested in the United States are often confounded by confusing local regulations concerning bail, which differ widely, and may be subject to immediate imprisonment upon arrest, with hardly any opportunity to communicate with the outside. Any Bergonian citizen who is arrested should use the first opportunity to use a telephone to call the Consular Service's special toll-free number, 1-888-555-0000, to report the arrest. Under treaties currently in effect, the Consular Service may send a representative to visit any citizen jailed in the United States and to arrange for legal services. The Consular Service will notify the family of any citizen arrested and jailed in the United States or any other foreign country, and expedite communication between the jailed citizen and his family and work.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, Bergonian citizens are subject to its laws and regulations, which often differ significantly from those in Bergonia and may not afford the protections available to the individual under Bergonian law. Foreigners violating American laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties in the United States for breaking the law are generally more severe than in Bergonia for similar offenses. The Commonwealth International Human Rights Council has rated the prisons and jails as the United States' most serious human rights deficiency, with severe overcrowding, idleness, substandard food and medical care, and moderate violence.
DRUG PENALTIES: Bergonians who may have become complacent to casual drug use at home should be advised that possession of even small quantities of recreational drugs can result in criminal prosecution with very long sentences of imprisonment. Possession of moderate quantities of recreational drugs is often regarded as "possession with intent to sell or deliver," which is a felony crime usually punished with imprisonment.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: Bergonians living in or visiting the United States are encouraged to register at any of the Consulate Service offices there.
The U.S. Embassy is located in Lefitoni, at 102 Lare Shiereca; telephone 311-310-9209. However, all requests for consular assistance should be directed to the Consulate General at 19 Museishar, telephone 311-206-5661.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated 11 May 2002, in order to provide updated information on Entry Requirements, Crime, Medical Health and Insurance
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