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UNITED KINGDOM - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for United Kingdom. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
The implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement saw a marked reduction in sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. Although the main paramilitary groups are observing a ceasefire, some small renegade groups, on both sides, have not accepted the agreement and continue to be responsible for acts of violence, including car bombs. Authorities may occasionally impose localized measures, such as traffic or parcel/luggage checks, in the interest of public safety.
Civil unrest, often associated with Protestant parades through predominantly Catholic neighbourhoods, may occur in Northern Ireland during the Orange Order summer marching season (April to August). Violent rioting took place in East Belfast from June 20 to 23, 2011. Exercise caution during the summer marching season and follow the advice of local authorities.
Expect possible delays and disruptions in some areas during the weeks leading up to July 12, the day Protestants celebrate their victory at the Battle of the Boyne.
Petty crime (pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging) occurs at tourist sites and airports, in tourist areas, restaurants, pubs and bars, as well as on public transportation. Be vigilant, particularly in urban areas during the summer months. Vehicle theft also occurs.
There is a fluctuating threat of terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. Exercise caution and maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places. Monitor local media for the latest information on threats to security. Visit the United Kingdom Home Office website for more information on threat levels.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Since fall 2010, activists have staged a series of violent demonstrations in London and other cities to protest against government cutbacks. Further clashes cannot be ruled out.
Roads are excellent but are often narrow and congested, especially in urban areas.
Traffic drives on the left. Use caution when entering a traffic circle (roundabout). Pedestrians should use caution when crossing streets.
Public transportation is excellent and extensive.
Sexual assaults and robberies have been reported by passengers using unlicensed taxis. Use only officially marked taxis. Consult the Transport for London website for more information.
Ferry services link the United Kingdom to Europe and Ireland. The Eurotunnel spans the English Channel from England to France.
Delays may occur on train routes, including Eurostar trains, due to track repairs or flooding. Expect delays also at airports and other ports of entry due to stringent security screening measures.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum, or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Credit card and automated banking machine (ABM) card fraud is increasing, as well as identity theft. Beware of ABM scams; they can range from simple to sophisticated, sometimes involving hidden electronic devices that obtain account information and personal identification numbers (PINs). Pay careful attention when cards are being handled by others during payment processing.
There is also a marked increase in financial scams conducted over the Internet, whereby con artists try to convince victims to send them money. Scenarios involve lotteries, online dating, inheritance notices, and email hacking giving the appearance that a friend is in trouble and requires funds to be wired.
In addition, Canadian citizens regularly receive requests for emergency funding from persons whom they have “met” online. The scammer builds up a relationship and gains a person’s trust, before declaring that they need funds to deal with a fabricated emergency, such as the need for hospital treatment.
See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
General safety information
Remain vigilant in all places and avoid isolated areas. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Please consult our publication on Advice for Canadians in the United Kingdom.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the British authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the British High Commission or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit the United Kingdom, which must be valid for at least the expected duration of their stay in that country. This requirement may also apply when travelling to Northern Ireland from other parts of the United Kingdom, and vice versa.
Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds for your stay. If you are unable to do so, or if you seek entry as a visitor but are found with items indicating that you intend to seek employment (such as curriculum vitae or educational certificates), you may be denied entry and expelled from the country. If you have previously been refused entry, contact the British High Commission for entry clearance before making plans to visit United Kingdom, even if a visa is normally not required.
Canadians needing any type of visa should consult the UK Border Agency, which uses a five-tier visa regulation system. They should also visit this website to ensure that they have appropriate documents for the purpose of their visit (marriage, employment, studies, etc.). Canadians planning to work in the U.K. for any period of time are required to have a work permit; this includes voluntary work.
Tourist Visa: Not required (for stays less than six months)
Business Visa or Work Permit: Required
Student Visa: Required
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Good medical care is widely available.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and United Kingdom are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in United Kingdom to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and British authorities.
Although an International Driving Permit is recommended, you can drive with a valid Canadian licence for up to 12 months from your date of entry.
A fee is charged to those driving into central London. This “congestion charge” is indicated by a large "C" painted on the roads. You can pay the fee by phone, online or at selected shops and gas stations. Visit the Transport for London website for further details.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines or jail sentences.
You may import up to one kilogram of meat cooked in a can or hermetically sealed container. It is illegal to import firearms, tear gas canisters and certain types of knives. The HM Revenue and Customs website provides information on what items you can bring into the United Kingdom and what you have to declare.
The currency of United Kingdom is the pound sterling (GBP).
Credit cards are widely accepted and automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available. Traveller’s cheques are not usually accepted at retail outlets but can be exchanged at banks.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
England, Scotland and Wales are subject to wind storms that can cause death and injury and severely damage commercial, residential and natural areas. Heavy flooding, fog, rain and snow can have widespread impacts, including transportation disruptions.
In mountainous regions, avalanches present a risk that may result in injuries or fatalities. If you are planning a mountaineering or skiing holiday, consult the website of the SportScotland Avalanche Information Service for information on weather and safety conditions. Take note of the contact information of the High Commission of Canada in London in the event of an emergency.
London - High Commission of Canada
Belfast - Consulate of Canada
Edinburgh - Consulate of Canada
Wales - Consulate of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the High Commission of Canada in London and follow the instructions. You may also make a toll-free call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 00 800 2326-6831 or call collect at (613) 996-8885.
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