While you are traveling in Uganda, 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. Persons violating Ugandan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.In Uganda, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport, or a copy of it, together with your Ugandan visa. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Uganda are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Photography in tourist locations is permitted, however, taking pictures of military/police installations or personnel is prohibited. Military and police officers have detained tourists for taking photographs of Entebbe Airport and of the area around Owen Falls Dam, near Jinja, although the prohibition on taking photographs is not publicly displayed on signs. In Uganda, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some things that might be legal in Uganda, 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 Uganda, 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 wherever you go.
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. 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.
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