ForeignDopers: What do your Foreign Ministries say about travel to the US?

Inspired by even sven’s post in the Africa/New Guinea thread:

And in fact, that information sheet is pretty amusing. You can read it here - Canadians, evidently, should also watch out for volcanos, hurricanes, whooping cough and the death penalty:

And so I put it to you, Dopers from Foreign Lands: Link to your English-language travel advisories regarding the United States! If there isn’t an English translation, or even if there is, feel free to summarize the good bits.

If you go to the U.S. State Department they have similar warnings for pretty much every country. Even first world Western European countries, and if it’s not Western Europe or Canada even super safe countries like Singapore are made out to be dangerous.

Oh, yes - I know. That’s why I started this thread - I thought it would be amusing to see how other countries portray the United States in comically exagerrated ways.

The UK Foreign Office advice is pretty unsensational.

Hmm… Finland’s Foreign Ministry’s advise to travellers warns about potential terrorism, TSA, 21 year age limit for buying booze, strict laws and expensive medical care. Nothing very exciting I’m afraid.

Not for nothing, a European on 4chan/b posted a thread not too long ago about traveling to the US wherein he asked, paraphrased: “I’m shit scared of being killed by gunfire while I’m there. What should I do to be safe?”

The more polite responses were along the lines of “Don’t try to buy drugs, stay out of bad neighborhoods at night,” etc.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warns about terrorism, crime, natural disasters, and other parts of everyday life in the U.S. On “Local Laws” it says,

It also warns about high cost for health services in the U.S.

Totally unsurprisingly the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs advisory is very similar to the Australian one.

I particularly like the medical advisory though…

Most New Zealanders don’t bother with any health insurance at homeas we have a pretty good public system in place.

Quick summary of the health care system in America.

If someone shoots you:

  1. you’ll probably have access to the best care in the world.

  2. the bill, however, will kill you.

The Spanish government has taken to having the different language versions of their webpages not be direct translations, so that info isn’t available in English.

There is a general reminder that “nowadays there simply isn’t any country where you can be sure to be safe from terrorists”, it’s above the country-specific parts.

For the US, it gives information about this “not quite a Visa” that we now need to get before embarking. Seriously, wth’s the point of the Visa waiver program when people from these countries now need to obtain before traveling a document whose validity and permissions are the same of a Tourist Visa? Oh yes, the VWP was in place before, so by giving Fido a different name they can claim it’s a different dog, riiiight…

There’s also a warning that “following the attacks in NYC and Washington, airport security has been greatly increased, so get to the airport earlier than you normally would.” They stop short of saying “early by British standards, not just by Spanish standards.”

Oh, and a link to their “hurricane info” page. Instead of copy-pasting the same info to the warning pages of any country which has hurricanes, they placed it in its own page.

German Foreign Minstry travel dvice (German language)

The first section does not refer to the US but to the situation re Fukushima - apparently prepended to all countries at present.

As for the US, the bulk of the information regards the onerous immigration/security formalities. Salient points from the rest of the text:

[li]firearms easily available, so do not resist a mugging[/li][li]hurricane season, May-November[/li][li]California fire season, June-November[/li][li]do take a credit card, failing that, traveler’s checks. Most banks do not change foreign cash. [/li][li]low speed limits, hard penalties for speeding and DUI[/li][li]punitive damages not covered by car third-party insurance. Not enforceable in Germany but if you re-enter the US later.[/li][li]criminal procedure unfamiliar, often severe criminal penalties. Note on contacting consular representatives.[/li][li]hard penalties for having drugs, even small quantities where diversion would apply in Germany. Strict checks even for passengers in transit to another country. [/li][li]widespread bans on drinking alcohol in public, high drinking age of 21, carding.[/li][li]widespread smoking bans, enforced by fines[/li][li]you can get in trouble for nude bathing, even for changing at the beach, even for letting small children run around naked. Best do not bathe topless, also applies to young girls. [/li][li]Take care when photographing your children when they are not fully clothed - could be prosecuted as child porn.[/li][li]high age of consent, per-state, risky (examples quoted: 18 year old traveling with 17 year old GF, 16 year old with 15 year old GF).[/li][li]nursing in public - take care in non-liberal [European meaning] parts of country[/li][li]strict criminal laws on leaving children unsupervised. In general: never leave under-eight-year olds unsupervised, leave under-13-year-olds only unsupervised for a short time.[/li][li]patronising prostitutes illegal in many states[/li][li]stalking illegal [my note: only specifically illegal in Germany since 2007][/li][li]promptly pay parking/speeding tickets[/li][li]when stopped by police, roll down window, put hands on steering wheel. Police may misunderstand leaving car for attack.[/li][li]notes on vaccinations, esp. hep. A/B, and on West Nile virus[/li][li]good quality medical care available but in some areas only at a long distance [my note: this is because ‘rural’ is much more rural in some parts in the US than it is in any region of Germany]. Get travel insurance covering US and a credit card with a high limit. When medically possible, often preferable to fly back to Germany for treatment.[/li][/ul]

The little region of T. Maestros has rhyming couplets, who usually use protection, and these little bits of doggerel, from which you get no protection:


These are actually all very good points and I was somewhat surprised there was no mention of any of this stuff in our travel advice. Finns are used to nude bathing even if we don’t usually do it on public beaches and the other stuff seems like potential pitfalls for the unwary also.

That is Pollution by Tom Lehrer.

From the UK Foreign Office’s advice (see post #4) I like

Does it say something about Britons that these are two of the first three bits of advice on local laws and customs?