The United States of America is a large country in North America, often referred to as the "USA," the "U.S.," the "United States," "America," or simply "the States". It has a land area of about 9.6 million sq km (about half the size of Russia and about the same size as China).

America includes both densely-populated cities with sprawling suburbs, and vast, uninhabited and naturally beautiful areas. With its history of mass immigration dating from the 17th century, it is a "melting pot" of cultures from around the world.

The land of the United States is as varied as it is vast. It ranges from the warm beaches of Florida and Hawaii to the frozen north-lands of Alaska, and from the level mid-western prairies to the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

If you like nothing more than scoping out sizzling cities, find your favourite among the Big Apple, atmospheric Boston, the windy city of Chicago, Washington DC, or the Latino flavours of Miami. That's just the eastern side of the country.

In the west, you have San Francisco with its tram-traversed charms - Seattle to the north, and star-studded Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas to the south.

If the great outdoors is more your thing, America has it in spades, from the North Dakota Badlands' and the awesome Grand Canyon to the echoing mountain kingdom of Utah and the spectacular wilderness of the Yosemite Valley.

Know before you go

CAPITAL: Washington D.C.

LANGUAGE: English & Spanish

COUNTRY CODE: US

ELECTRICITY: 110, 60Hz
To power any electrical item an international adapter or a two pin plug is required

POPULATION: 331 million

CURRENCY: US$ Dollar

DIALLING CODE: +1

TIME ZONE:
GMT/UTC -5 (Eastern)
GMT/UTC -6 (Central)
GMT/UTC -7 (Western)
GMT/UTC -8 (Pacific)

Travel Warning

Violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists, but you should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas. Avoid walking through less travelled areas alone, especially at night.

Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your property against petty crime. Don’t leave passports in rental cars, especially in the boot, as there have been a high number of thefts by gangs targeting the vehicles of those who appear to be tourists.

Crime associated with the illegal drugs trade is a major issue in Mexican states bordering Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Some foreign nationals have been among the victims of crime in the border regions, but there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted because of their nationality.

Research your destination before travelling, be vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the USA. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should monitor media reports and be vigilant at all times. Attacks could take place with little or no notice.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK www.fco.gov.uk

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