Estonia is a rapidly developing nation that has experienced significant success in reforming its political and economic institutions since regaining independence in 1991. Tourist facilities are generally good though some amenities may be lacking in rural areas. Some goods and services may not be available outside of major cities.
Passport required. Tourists and business travelers may stay in Estonia for up to 90 days without a visa. U.S. citizens who wish to work in Estonia or remain longer than 90 days must obtain a visa or residence permit. For further information concerning entry requirements and residency permits, contact the Estonian Embassy, 2131 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C 20008, telephone (202) 588-0101, or the Consulate General of Estonia in New York City (212) 883-0636. Also look at the Embassy’s Internet home page at http://www.estemb.org.
Travelers in Estonia should exercise the same precautions with regard to their personal safety and belongings they would take in major U.S. cities. The most common crimes encountered by foreign tourists are purse snatching, pickpocketing and mugging. Violent crime, though rarely directed against foreigners, does occur. Intoxicated people leaving bars alone or in small groups late at night are a favorite target for muggings, which can turn violent. In several instances, foreign visitors have been befriended by well-dressed criminals who offer their unwary victims drinks laced with a powerful sedative, then rob them while they sleep. Car thefts are common and can occur in daylight. Police capabilities in Estonia are improving but still suffer from lack of equipment, training, personnel and resources. Few police officers speak English. Credit card fraud is on the rise. Travelers should take prudent precautions to safeguard their credit card numbers and report any suspected unauthorized transactions to the credit card company immediately.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
The quality of medical care in Estonia is improving but still falls short of Western standards. Estonia has many highly trained medical professionals, but hospitals and clinics still suffer from a lack of equipment and resources. Elderly travelers and those with health problems may be at increased risk. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
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 Estonia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Driving in Estonia is more dangerous than in the United States. Aggressive driving is the norm and many roads are not up to Western standards. Wild animals, such as moose and icy road conditions can create unexpected hazards. Driving at night, especially in the countryside, can be particularly risky. Americans planning to drive in Estonia should obtain an international driver’s license prior to arrival.
For information about international driving permits, contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.
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. Persons violating Estonia’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Estonia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
U.S. citizens living in or visiting Estonia are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Estonia. The U.S. Embassy in Tallinn is located at Kentmanni 20, telephone (372) 631-2021; fax (372) (6) 312-025; emergency cell phone: (011)(372)509-2129, if dialed from the U.S., and 82-509-2129 if dialed from within Estonia. The Embassy’s home page on the Internet is at http://www.usemb.ee.
As there is no direct air commercial service at present between the United States and Estonia, nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Estonia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Estonia's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.
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