What makes Macau a unique country to travel to?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Safety and Security
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.
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).