United Kingdom travel advice
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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
COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- mandatory mask use
- required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.
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 the United Kingdom are 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
- religious holidays
- public celebrations
- major political events, such as elections
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.
National threat level - British Home Office
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common. Cellphone theft is rampant in certain tourist areas of London. Vehicle theft and theft from parked vehicles also occurs, particularly in tourist areas and roadside stops.
Thieves work alone or in groups and may use various techniques to distract you and steal your belongings.
They are especially active in crowded areas, such as:
- tourist attractions and areas, including Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square
- airports and public transportation
- restaurants, pubs and bars
- patios and outdoor cafés
- hotel lobbies
- underground pedestrian walkways
- roadside stops
Violent crime, such as mugging, knife crime and sexual assault occurs, particularly in larger cities. There have been incidents of passengers being sexually assaulted and robbed when using unlicensed taxis.
If you have been the victim of a crime on the transportation system, including in a taxi, consult Transport for London to learn how to report it.
Report a crime or incident on the transportation system - Transport for London
During your trip:
- ensure that your belongings, including your passport, are secure at all times
- don’t keep your passport and other types of ID at the same place and carry a photocopy rather than the original
- avoid showing signs of affluence
- avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables
- pay attention to your surroundings, particularly in crowded and tourist areas
- be wary of unsolicited offers or advice from strangers
- be vigilant in urban areas, particularly after dark
- never leave personal belongings unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk
- use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
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. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Credit card and ATM fraud
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Fraud can range from simple to sophisticated, and sometimes involve hidden electronic devices that obtain account information and personal identification numbers.
When using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
- use ATMs located in 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
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Cybercrime occurs. Perpetrators may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
- Avoid making purchases on unsecured websites
- Use judgment when posting information on social media
- Be especially careful if you are meeting people you have met online
- Never click a suspicious link in an email or text message asking for your credit card details
Demonstrations and strikes
Demonstrations take place regularly. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Strikes and pressure tactics occur from time to time, in key sectors such as transport. These strikes can sometimes complicate travel and disrupt public services.
- Consult local media to be aware of strikes that may affect your stay or travel plans
- In the event of a transport strike, plan extra time to get to your destination
In Northern Ireland, Protestant parades through predominantly Catholic neighbourhoods may occur from April to August, during the Orange Order summer marching season, particularly during the weeks leading up to July 12.
During the summer marching season:
- expect possible delays and disruptions in some areas
- exercise caution
- follow the advice of local authorities
Outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking, may lead to safety concerns if they are not well-organized. Weather conditions can change rapidly, even in summer.
If you intend to go walking, biking or hiking in remote areas:
- never do so alone and do not part with your hiking companions
- obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be doing it before setting out
- 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
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- ensure that you’re adequately equipped
- stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
Roads are excellent but are often narrow and congested, especially in urban areas. Use caution when entering a traffic circle (roundabout). Rural roads may become hazardous during severe weather conditions.
Pedestrians should use caution when crossing streets and be mindful that traffic is coming from the opposite direction than what they may be used to.
Public transportation is excellent and extensive. Trains and buses services connect most cities and areas of the country.
Taxis are generally safe. Only use officially licensed marked taxis.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:
- entry or exit bans
- mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
- suspensions or reductions of international transportation options
Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.
- verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
- consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
- monitor the media for the latest information
- reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator
The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
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 the Foreign Representatives 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 United Kingdom. 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.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays of up to 6 months
Business visa or work permit: required
Student visa: required
You may need a work permit or visa even if you plan to do:
- unpaid work
- volunteer work
- part-time work
- temporary work
A marriage visitor visa is also required if you plan to get married or register a civil partnership in the United Kingdom.
You should obtain your visa from the UK Visas and Immigration or the closest British High Commission in Canada before your departure.
The High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom, in London, cannot assist you in your visa application process. Consult the UK Visas and Immigration authorities or the British High Commission in Canada to:
- make sure you apply for the proper visa you need according to the purpose of your visit (marriage, employment, study)
- find out which documents you need to obtain your visa
- obtain any status updates
- check if you will be required to pay a health-care surcharge
- Check if you need a UK visa - UK Government
- UK Visas and Immigration - UK Government
- Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application - UK Government
Other entry requirements
UK Border officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of 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 you seek entry as a visitor and are suspected of planning to reside in the UK for any reason, including having a UK-based partner, you may be denied entry.
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.
Transiting through a United Kingdom airport
If you plan to transit through a United Kingdom airport, make sure you comply with the entry requirements of your final destination. If you don’t meet the entry requirements of your final destination, you may be denied boarding.
Unplanned layovers could lead to substantial travel costs and delays. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
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.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.
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.
* 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.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
Polio - Proof of vaccination required
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for adults.
Proof of vaccination:
If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.
Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.
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.
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.
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. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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
COVID-19 - Testing facilities
Consult the following links to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test:
- List of private providers of coronavirus testing - Government of the United Kingdom
COVID-19 tests offered at the National Health Service (NHS) should not be used for international travel. They don’t respond to the requirements established by Transport Canada.
Health care is excellent. Service is available throughout the country.
You must pay for medical services provided by the National Health Service (NHS) unless:
- you are an ordinarily resident of the United Kingdom
- you are accessing emergency services exempted from fees.
You may be required to pay the medical fees in advance.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect prison sentences and heavy fines.
Laws on knives
It is illegal to carry, purchase, sell or enter the country with certain types of knives. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and jail sentences.
Selling, buying and carrying knives - UK Government
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.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and the United Kingdom.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the United Kingdom, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the British court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in the United Kingdom to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Traffic drives on the left.
International driving permit
You can drive with a valid Canadian licence for up to 12 months from your date of entry. Certain car rental companies may require an international driving permit. You should carry an international driving permit.
If you drive into central London between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., you will be required to pay a daily congestion charge. 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.
The currency of the United Kingdom is the pound sterling (GBP).
If you are carrying £10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the United Kingdom.
It includes sums in:
- banknotes and coins
- bearer bonds
- travellers’ cheques
- cheques that are signed but not made out to a person or organization
- money orders (Northern Ireland only)
- gold coins, bullion or nuggets (Northern Ireland only)
- prepaid cards (Northern Ireland only)
Take cash in and out of the UK - Government of the United Kingdom
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.
Fog, and snow can also have widespread impacts, including transportation disruptions.
- Keep informed of regional weather forecasts
- Stay away from disaster areas
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
Storm forecast - Met Office
Flooding and landslides
Heavy rains can cause severe flooding, mudslides and landslides, particularly in certain coastal and riverside areas. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.
- Exercise caution, particularly in coastal areas and around major rivers
- Stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- Follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders
- Storm forecast - Met Office
- Flooding risks in England - UK Government
- Flood forecasting - Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Forest fires may occur, particularly during summer months.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
- follow the advice of local authorities
There is a risk of avalanches in mountainous regions, especially following heavy snowfalls. Some may be fatal.
Monitor the avalanche forecasts if you plan on practicing mountain activities.
Avalanche Forecasts - Scottish Avalanche Information Service
Dial 999 for emergency assistance.
London - High Commission of Canada
Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar
Belfast - Consulate of Canada
Edinburgh - Consulate of Canada
Wales - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom, 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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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