|04MADRID770||2004-03-05 16:51:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Madrid|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 MADRID 000770
1. UPDATE OF CONSULAR INFORMATION SHEET FOR SPAIN AND
2. COUNTRY DESCRIPTIONS: Spain and Andorra are both highly
developed and stable democracies with modern economies.
Spain is a member of the European Union. Additional
information on Spain may be obtained from the Tourist Office
of Spain (http://www.okspain.org), telephone (212) 265-8822,
or via the Internet at http://www.okspain.org. The website
of the Spanish Embassy in the United States is
http://www.spainemb.org. Additional information on Andorra
may be obtained from the Andorran Mission to the U.N., 2
U.N. Plaza, 25th Floor, New York, New York 10018, telephone
(212) 750-8064 or via the Internet at http://www.andorra.ad.
3. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for both
countries, but a visa is not required for tourist or
business stays up to 90 days. Individuals who enter Spain or
Andorra without a visa are not authorized to work. American
citizens planning to study in Spain should be aware that
Spanish immigration regulations require applications for
student visas to be submitted 60 days before anticipated
travel to Spain.
4. In an effort to prevent international child abduction,
many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit
points. These often include requiring documentary evidence
of relationship and permission for the child's travel from
the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such
documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate
5. For further information concerning entry requirements for
Spain, travelers should contact the Embassy of Spain at 2375
Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone
(202) 728-2330, or the nearest Spanish consulate in Boston,
Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York,
San Francisco, or San Juan. Spanish government websites with
information about entry requirements (in Spanish) can be
found at www.mae.es and www.mir.es. For further information
on entry requirements to Andorra, travelers should contact
the Andorran Mission to the U.N., 2 U.N. Plaza, 25th floor,
New York, NY 10018, telephone (212) 750-8064 or via the
Internet at http://www.andorra.ad.
6. DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Spanish or Andorran laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual
nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose
special obligations on their citizens. For additional
information, please see the Consular Affairs Internet home
page at http://travel.state.gov/dualnationality.html for our
Dual Nationality flyer.
7. SAFETY AND SECURITY: Spain and Andorra share with the
rest of the world an increased threat of international
terrorist incidents. The ETA terrorist organization remains
active in Spain. ETA attacks historically have been directed
against the police, military, local politicians, and other
Spanish government targets. However, in February 2004, ETA
reiterated its intention to target Spanish tourist areas,
advising that foreign nationals could be among the victims.
Since 2000, ETA attacks have resulted in over two dozen
fatalities and numerous injuries. In 2003, ETA activity
included a thwarted attempt to bomb a train loaded with pre-
holiday travelers. In 2001 2002, and 2003, ETA attacks
included a number of car-bomb incidents, some occurring in
areas frequented by tourists, including the Madrid and
Malaga airports. While there were no tourist fatalities from
these incidents, there have been a number of injuries. U.S.
tourists traveling to Spain should remain vigilant, exercise
caution, monitor local developments, and avoid
demonstrations and other potentially violent situations.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling
abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet
web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current
Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and
Public Announcements can be found.
8. CRIME: While most of Spain has a moderate rate of crime
and most of the estimated one million American tourists have
trouble free visits to Spain each year, street crimes
against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas.
Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of
muggings and violent attacks, and older tourists and Asian
Americans seem to be particularly at risk. Criminals
frequent tourist areas and major attractions such as
museums, monuments, restaurants, outdoor cafes, Internet
cafes, hotel lobbies, beach resorts, city buses, subways,
trains, train stations, airports, and ATM machines.
9. In Barcelona, a number of attacks have been reported on
Las Ramblas, near the Picasso Museum, in the Gothic Quarter,
in Parc Gell, in Plaza Real and on Montjuic. In Madrid,
incidents have been reported in major tourist areas,
including the area near the Prado Museum, near Atocha train
station, in Retiro Park, in areas of old Madrid including
Sol and the El Rastro flea market, near the Royal Palace and
in Plaza Mayor.
10. Travelers should remain alert to their personal
security and exercise caution. Travelers are encouraged to
carry limited cash, one credit card, and a copy of their
passport; leaving extra cash, credit cards, passports and
personal documents in a safe location. When carrying
documents, credit cards or cash, you are encouraged to
secure them in a hard-to-reach place and not to carry all
valuables together in a purse or backpack.
11. Crimes occur at all times of day and night and to
people of all ages. Thieves often work in teams or pairs.
In most cases, one person distracts a victim while the
accomplice performs the robbery. For example, someone might
wave a map in your face and ask for directions or
"inadvertently" spill something on you. While your attention
is diverted, an accomplice makes off with the valuables.
Thieves may drop coins or keys at your feet to distract you
and try to take your belongings while you are trying to
help. Attacks are sometimes initiated from behind, with the
victim being grabbed around the neck and choked by one
assailant while others rifle through or grab the belongings.
Some attacks have been so violent that victims have needed
medical attention. A group of assailants may surround the
victim in a crowded popular tourist area or on public
transportation, and only after the group has departed does
the person discover he/she has been robbed. Purse-snatchers
may grab purses or wallets and run away, or immediately pass
the stolen item to an accomplice. A passenger on a passing
motorcycle sometimes robs pedestrians. There have been
reports of thieves posing as plainclothes police officers
sometimes beckoning to pedestrians from cars and sometimes
confronting them on the street and asking for documents.
American citizens are encouraged to deal with uniformed law
enforcement personnel only.
10. Theft from vehicles is also common. Items high in value
like luggage, cameras, laptop computers, or briefcases are
often stolen from cars. Travelers are advised not to leave
valuables in parked cars, and to keep doors locked, windows
rolled up and valuables out of sight when driving. "Good
Samaritan" scams are unfortunately common, where a passing
car or "helpful" stranger will attempt to divert the
driver's attention by indicating there is a flat tire or
mechanical problem. When the driver stops to check the
vehicle, the "Good Samaritan" will appear to help the driver
and passengers while the accomplice steals from the unlocked
car. Drivers should be cautious about accepting help from
anyone other than a uniformed Spanish police officer or
11. While the incidence of rape and sexual assault is
statistically very low, attacks do occur. Americans should
not lower their personal security awareness because they are
on holiday. Spanish authorities have warned of availability
of so-called "date-rape" drugs and other drugs, including
"GBH" and liquid ecstasy.
12. A number of American citizens have been victims of
lottery or advance fee scams in which a person is lured to
Spain to finalize a financial transaction. Often the victims
are initially contacted via internet or fax and informed
they have won the Spanish Lottery (El Gordo), inherited
money from a distant relative, or are needed to assist in a
major financial transaction from one country to another. For
more information, please see the information sheet on the
Bureau of Consular Affairs website at
13. Andorra has a low rate of crime.
14. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be
reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest
U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The Spanish government has a
system for foreigners to file police reports by telephone
with an English speaker, this must be followed up by a trip
to a police substation to sign the form and obtain a copy.
If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition
to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest
U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The
Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find
appropriate medical care, to contact family members or
friends and explain how funds could 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.
15. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a
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.
16. MEDICAL FACILITIES AND INSURANCE: Good medical care is
available in both Spain and Andorra. The Department of State
strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical
insurance companies prior to traveling abroad to confirm
whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover
emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S.
medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred
outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is
purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. However, many travel agents and private companies
offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses
incurred overseas, including emergency services such as
17. When making a decision regarding health insurance,
Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and
hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service
and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost
well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require
medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties,
whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical
insurance have found it to be life saving when a medical
emergency has occurred. When consulting with your insurer
prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be
made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be
reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance
policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and
for disposition of remains in the event of death.
18. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad,
including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the
Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure,
"Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad,"
available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or
auto fax (202) 647-3000.
19. OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions, such as safe food and water
precautions and insect-bite protection, may be obtained from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for
international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747);
fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information
about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the
World Health Organization's website at
http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for
travelers is available at http://www.who.int/iht.
20. 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 Spain and Andorra is provided
for general reference only, and it may not be totally
accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
21. Traffic in Madrid and Barcelona is faster-paced than in
U.S. cities and can be unnerving due to unfamiliar signs or
motorbikes weaving between traffic lanes. Drivers should
always obey the closest traffic light, as there are separate
pedestrian lights in the city. Drivers should be alert when
driving at night in urban areas, due to the possibility of
encountering drivers or pedestrians under the influence of
alcohol. Night driving in isolated rural areas can be
dangerous, because of farm animals and poorly marked roads.
Rural traffic is generally heavier in July and August as
well as during the Christmas and Easter seasons. New traffic
regulations went into effect in Spain as of January 30,
2004. of particular note is the prohibition on the the use
of a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving
a car. There is a fine of approximately 150 euros for
violation of this regulation and loss of driving privileges.
Pedestrians should use designated crossing areas when
crossing streets and obey traffic lights.
22. Public transportation in large cities is generally
excellent. All major cities have metered taxis, and extra
charges must be posted in the vehicle. Travelers are advised
to use clearly identified cabs only and to ensure that taxi
drivers always switch on the meter. A green light on the
roof indicates that the taxi is available. Rail service is
comfortable and reliable, but varies in quality and speed.
Intercity buses are usually comfortable and inexpensive.
23. For additional general information about road safety,
including links to foreign government sites, please see the
Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific
information concerning Spanish driving permits, vehicle
inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact
the Spanish National Tourist Organization offices in New
York via the Internet at www.okspain.org. For information
about driving in Andorra refer to the Andorran website at
24. AVIATION SECURITY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) has assessed the Government of
Spain's Civil Aviation Authority as Category A -- in
compliance with international aviation security standards
for oversight of Spain's air carrier and airport operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the TSA in
the United Sates ,at 1-866-289-9673 or email TellTSA
(TellTSA@tsa.dot.gov) or visit
the TSAs Internet website at
25. 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 the DOD
at telephone (618) 229-4801.
26. CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: It is advisable to contact the
Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., or one of Spain's
consulates in the United States for specific information
regarding customs requirements. This is especially important
if you are attempting to send any medications to Spain
through postal channels. Spain's customs authorities
encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary
Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of
professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for
exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters,
located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and
guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For
additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send
an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit www.uscib.org for
27. 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. Persons violating Spanish law, even unknowingly,
may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for
possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Spain are
strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
and fines. The Madrid City and Balearics Regional
Governments have banned the consumption of alcohol in the
street, other than in registered street cafes and bars.
Visitors to Madrid, Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca should be
aware that failure to respect this law might result in the
imposition of fines.
28. CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international
adoption of children and international parental child
abduction, please refer to our Internet site at
http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.htm l or telephone
29. REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS:
Americans living in or visiting Spain or Andorra are
encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S.
Embassy in Madrid or at the U.S. Consulate General in
Barcelona, where they may obtain updated information on
travel and security within Spain or Andorra.
30. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, is located at Serrano
75; telephone (34)(91) 587-2200, and fax (34)(91) 587-2303.
U.S. citizens who register in the Consular Section at the
U.S. Embassy, Consulate General, or Consular Agency listed
below can obtain updated information on travel and security
within Spain or Andorra. Additional information is available
through the U.S. Embassy's Internet homepage at
31. The U.S. Consulate in Barcelona is located at Paseo
Reina Elisenda 23-25; telephone (34)(93) 280-2227 and fax
(34)(93) 205-5206. Visitors to Barcelona can access
additional information from the Consulate General's web page
32. There are six Consular Agencies in Spain, which provide
limited services to American Citizens, but are not
authorized to issue passports.
Fuengirola near Malaga, at Avenida Juan Gomez Juanito #8,
Edificio Lucia 1C, 29640, Fuengirola, telephone (34)(952)
474-891 and fax (34)(952) 465-189, hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00
La Coruna, at Canton Grande 6, telephone (34)(981) 213-233
and fax (34)(981 22 88 08), hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.;
Las Palmas, at Edificio Arca, Calle Los Martinez de Escobar
3, Oficina 7, telephone (34)(928) 222-552 and fax (34)(928)
225-863, hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.;
Palma de Mallorca, Edificio Reina Constanza, Porto Pi, 8, 9-
D, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Telephone (34)(971) 40-
3707 or 40-3905 and fax (34)(971) 40-3971. Hours 10:30 a.m.
to 1:30 p.m.;
Seville, at Paseo de Las Delicias 7, telephone (34)(954) 231-
885 and fax (34)(954) 232-040, hours 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.;
Valencia, at Doctor Romagosa #1, 2-J, 46002, Valencia
telephone (34)(96)-351-6973 and fax (34)(96) 352-9565, hours
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
For Andorra, please contact the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona.
* * * * *
33. This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated
February 25, 2002 to update sections on Country Description,
Entry Requirements, Dual Nationality, Safety and Security,
Crime, Other Health Information, Traffic Safety and Road
Conditions, Criminal Penalties and Registration/Embassy and
Return to Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings