DESCRIPTION: Macau, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since December 20, 1999, has a high degree of autonomy, except in the areas of defense and foreign policy. Macau retains its own currency, laws, and border controls. With a population of approximately 544,600, Macau covers a 29.5 square-kilometer area including the peninsula of Macau, which is connected to the PRC, and the two islands of Taipa and Coloane. Gambling and tourism are the largest sectors in Macau's economy. Facilities for tourism are well developed. See the Department of State Background Notes on Macau for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live or visit Macau, please take the time to tell our Consulate about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Local consulate and embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates. There is no U.S. diplomatic or consular presence in Macau. The U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong provides consular assistance to U.S. citizens in Macau.
U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau
26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
Telephone: 852-2841-2211, 852-2841-2225, 852-2841-2323 (Direct lines to American Citizen Services during regular business hours)
Emergency after-hours telephone: 852-2841-9011
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Your passport must be valid for at least 30 days beyond your intended period of stay in Macau. If you are a tourist, you may visit for up to 30 days without a visa. According to the Macau Immigration Department, if you depart and then immediately reenter Macau, when you reenter, you should expect that you will be given fewer than 30 days to remain in Macau.
Because many neighboring areas require that your passport has six months validity remaining, if you are planning to travel in these areas, be sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date of your planned travel. If you hold a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card or a Hong Kong Re-entry Permit, you may use either document to enter Macau for a maximum stay of up to one year. You must present your passport or other valid travel document upon arrival. Visit the Macau Government Tourist Office website for the most current visa information.
You should obtain all required visas prior to departing the United States. Specifically, you must have a PRC visa if you plan to travel to the PRC from Macau. You should apply for the PRC visa at the PRC embassy or consulate where you reside. In some cases you can get a PRC visa at the PRC Visa Office in Macau; however, there are limitations depending on the visa category. For example, the visa may be issued for a shorter length of validity and for fewer entries than one obtained in the United States. If you are the parent of a child who holds a U.S. passport, be aware that the PRC Visa Office may require an original birth certificate or other documentation for your child. Persons applying in Macau for PRC visas for their U.S.-born children have been unable to obtain PRC visas without the children’s U.S. birth certificate. Further information on travel to and around the PRC is available in the China Country-Specific Information Sheet.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Macau.
You can find information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:
Stay up to date by:
CRIME: Petty street crime, including pick-pocketing, occasionally occurs in tourist areas in Macau, including in and around casinos and at the airport. You should protect your personal belongings and travel documents at all times.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
While the Macau government does not have an office devoted solely to crime victim assistance, the social welfare department offers support to crime victims. The support includes monetary benefits, health care, psychological services, and counseling. These are available at the local Social Service Centers. You will find more resources for victims of crime in Macau in our Help for U.S. Victims of Crime in Macau information sheet. In addition, the Macau Tourism Crisis Management Office emaintains a tourism hotline (Tel: 853-2833-3000, for visitors to Macau who encounter emergency situations.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Macau is 999.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Macau, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods.Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Macau, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
If you violate Macau’s laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Macau are severe, and if you are convicted of these offenses, you can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case in Macau. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Currency: There are no currency restrictions for tourists in Macau. Although the pataca is the official currency in Macau, Hong Kong currency is commonly used and widely accepted in transactions, especially in tourist areas. If you are visiting Macau from Hong Kong, you may wish to bring sufficient Hong Kong dollars to cover your expenses. Credit cards and ATM network debit cards are widely accepted in Macau. Banks and major hotels accept traveler's checks.
Customs Regulations: Macau customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Macau of items such as firearms, ivory, certain categories of medications, and other goods. Please see the Macau Customs Service website for further information.
You should know that the importation into the United States of counterfeit brand-name items, such as watches, compact discs, computer software, and clothing, is prohibited by U.S. law.
Please see our Customs Information sheet.
Dual Nationality: According to the PRC nationality law, persons of Chinese descent who were born in the PRC, including Macau, are PRC citizens. However, under an agreement between the United States and the People's Republic of China, all U.S. citizens entering Macau on their U.S. passports, including such persons as may be considered PRC nationals by the PRC authorities, are considered to be U.S. citizens by the Macau SAR authorities for purposes of ensuring U.S. consular access and protection during their initial legal stay of up to 30 days in Macau.
If you are a dual national contemplating onward travel into mainland China, you should strongly consider which passport you will use to enter and exit China. Under the U.S. – PRC Consular Convention, the U.S. Embassy and consulates general in the PRC are not able to provide you with consular protections ifyou do not use your U.S. passport to enter or exit China.
In addition to being subject to all Macau SAR laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may be subject to laws of Macau that impose special obligations on Macau citizens. For further information on consular protection and dual nationality, please refer to our information on dual nationality.
Language: The official languages in the Macau SAR are Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese; however, English is spoken in tourist areas.
Typhoons: During the storm season (July through September), the Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau issues typhoon warnings on an average of six times a year. The Bureau has a good notification and monitoring system. Please consult the Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau for further information. General information about natural disaster preparedness is from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Macau, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. The People's Republic of China, including the Special Administrative Region of Macau, is signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Macau law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services, and the government generally enforces these provisions. The law mandates access to public buildings, usually in the form of a ramp, for persons with physical disabilities. Cross-walks are also required in Macau, and they generally include audible signals for hearing-impaired and raised-treading for visually-impaired pedestrians. Handicap accessible parking is mandated in publically owned parking lots. The Social Welfare Bureau is primarily responsible for coordinating and funding public assistance programs to persons with disabilities.
In general, the historic part of Macau is hilly and the pavement uneven, but the newer parts, particularly around the CoTai strip, are flat, and the streets and sidewalks are wide. The airport is accessible, and the ferries from Hong Kong to Macau are accessible with assistance from the staff. Major hotels and casinos, taxis, and public transportation offer widely available shuttle buses, but none is equipped with special equipment to accommodate the physically disabled. For Macau residents who are mobility impaired, the Social Welfare Bureau offers free transportation to medical appointments by accessible van through their Rehabilitation Bus Service. Accessible van rental and Macau tours for the mobility impaired are available through Macau Barrier Free Tourism (tel. 853 2840 3315 or 853 6289 6796, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website in Chinese only).
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Several major hospitals in Macau have adequate medical facilities, and Kiang Wu and Conde de Sao Januario hospitals are able to provide emergency medical care. The U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong maintains a list of medical providers in Macau on the consulate website. Highly developed medical facilities and trained personnel are available in Hong Kong, which is about an hour by jetfoil and 10 minutes by helicopter from Macau.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions, on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Macau, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Macau is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic moves on the left in Macau, and roads are narrow and winding. Traffic is generally congested throughout the day. Most visitors to Macau choose not to drive. Taxis are inexpensive and plentiful at the airport, ferry terminal, and gaming venues. Public buses are also inexpensive and frequent, but you may have difficulty finding them outside major tourist areas.
For specific information concerning Macau driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, email the Public Security Police Force, or contact them by telephone (853) 2837 4214 or fax (853) 2852 3407 or the Macau Transport Department, 762-804 Avenida da Praia Grande, China Plaza Bldg., 2nd floor; telephone (853) 8866-6363; fax (853) 2875 0626. (Please note: This website is available only in Chinese and Portuguese).
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Macau, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Macau’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Macau dated June 28, 2011.