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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
United Kingdom - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in the United Kingdom due to the threat of terrorism.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place and may vary depending on the region or city. The use of a face covering might be mandatory in some public spaces, including public transport and shops. If you violate the restrictions, you could be fined for endangering public health.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
COVID-19 response - Government of the United Kingdom
Violent crime, such as mugging and sexual assault, occurs particularly in larger cities. There have been incidents of passengers being sexually assaulted and robbed when using unlicensed taxis. Consult Transport for London’s Report a crime or incident page for information on what to do if you have been the victim of a crime on the transportation system, including in a taxi.
Report a crime or incident on the transportation system – Transport for London
Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs in:
- tourist areas
- pubs and bars
- underground pedestrian walkways
- public transportation
Cellphone theft is rampant in tourist areas such as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square.
Vehicle theft and theft from parked vehicles also occurs, particularly in tourist areas and roadside stops.
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Avoid isolated areas
- Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash
- Be vigilant, particularly in urban areas during the summer months and when walking after dark
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 these items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
ATM scams are on the rise in the United Kingdom (U.K.); they can range from simple to sophisticated, sometimes involving hidden electronic devices that obtain account information and personal identification numbers.
To avoid being a victim of fraud:
- Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- Avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN and check any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
- Pay careful attention when cards are being handled by others during payment processing
More about overseas fraud
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities.
In the United Kingdom, previous incidents have resulted in casualties. They include random violent incidents in public areas, such as knife and vehicle attacks as well as explosions.
These incidents have occurred mainly in the London area but have also happened elsewhere.
Further attacks in Europe are also likely. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
The Government of the United Kingdom maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media (including social media).
Current terrorism threat levels in the UK - British Home Office
Demonstrations and civil unrest
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 taking place
- Follow the advice of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstration
In Northern Ireland, civil unrest, often associated with Protestant parades through predominantly Catholic neighbourhoods, may occur during the Orange Order summer marching season (April to August). Expect possible delays and disruptions in some areas during the weeks leading up to July 12, the day Protestants celebrate their victory at the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.
Exercise caution during the summer marching season and follow the advice of local authorities.
Roads are excellent but are often narrow and congested (especially in urban areas).
Use caution when entering a traffic circle (roundabout). Pedestrians should use caution when crossing streets and be mindful that traffic is usually coming from the opposite direction than what they may be used to.
Public transportation is excellent and extensive.
Only use officially licensed marked taxis.
Delays may occur on train routes, including Eurostar trains, due to track repairs or flooding.
Delays at ports of entry
Expect delays also at airports and other ports of entry due to stringent security screening measures.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Mountain or trekking activities
If you intend to do mountaineering or trekking:
- never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
Scottish Avalanche Information Service
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the British authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least the expected duration of your stay in the U.K. This requirement may also apply when travelling to Northern Ireland from other parts of the United Kingdom, and vice versa.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadians needing any type of visa should consult UK Visas and Immigration to ensure that they apply for the proper visa and have the appropriate documents for the purpose of their visit (for example, marriage, employment, study), as well as to find out if they will be required to pay a health-care surcharge. Canadians planning to work or volunteer in the United Kingdom for any period of time are required to have a work permit.
Tourist visa: Not required (for stays of six months or less)
Business visa or work permit: Required*
Student visa: Required
*A work permit or visa is required even if planning to do unpaid, volunteer or part-time or temporary work.
- UK Visas and Immigration
- Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application – UK Government
Automated e-passport gates
If you are 18 and over and travelling with a Canadian e-passport, you will be able to use the automated e-passport gates for entry into the UK. Accompanied children between 12 to 17 will also be able to use them. A landing card is no longer required.
Other entry requirements
UK Border 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 any type of employment (such as curriculum vitae or educational certificates), you may be denied entry and expelled from the country. Similarly, if a person seeking entry as a visitor is suspected of planning to reside in the UK for any reason, including having a UK-based partner, entry may be denied. If you have previously been refused entry, contact the British High Commission in Ottawa to enquire about entry clearance before making plans to visit the UK, even if a visa is normally not required.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - April 19, 2020
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional 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. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* 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.
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
In some areas in Western Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile virus.
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.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Medical services and facilities
Good medical care is widely available. You may be required to pay medical fees in advance.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
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 and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
Canada and the United Kingdom are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in the 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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
You must carry adequate photo identification, such as a passport or residency permit, at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is lost or seized.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the United Kingdom.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of the United Kingdom, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Traffic drives on the left.
International driving permit
Although you should carry an international driving permit, you can drive with a valid Canadian licence for up to 12 months from your date of entry.
Use of cellular telephones
The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited, unless it is fitted with a hands-free device.
Drinking and driving
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. Convicted offenders receive heavy fines or jail sentences.
A fee is charged to those driving into central London on weekdays. The Congestion Charge zone is indicated by a large “C” painted on the roads and by signs. You can pay the fee by phone, online or at selected shops and gas stations. Parking in London is limited and charges are high.
- More about the International Driving Permit
- Congestion Charge - Transport of London
- Information on road safety and regulations - European Commission
The currency of the United Kingdom is the pound sterling (GBP).
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.
Cash controls information - European Commission
Natural disasters and 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.
More information on weather conditions:
In mountainous regions, avalanches present a risk that may result in injuries or fatalities.
Scottish Avalanche Information Service
Dial 999 for emergency assistance.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom is limiting in-person services. If you need consular assistance, contact the High Commission by email. For emergency consular assistance please email firstname.lastname@example.org, for an emergency related to a passport, please email email@example.com.
London - High Commission of Canada
Belfast - Consulate of Canada
Wales - Consulate of Canada
Edinburgh - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in London and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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