International Travel and COVID-19

Before travelling:

If you have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series, you should continue to avoid non-essential travel to all destinations.

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United Kingdom Travel Advice

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Latest updates: Health - Editorial change

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Risk level

United Kingdom - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in the United Kingdom due to the threat of terrorism.

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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.

Foreign Representatives in Canada

Terrorism

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 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

Crime

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. 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 particularly in:

  • tourist areas
  • airports
  • restaurants
  • pubs and bars
  • underground pedestrian walkways
  • public transportation

Cellphone theft is rampant in certain tourist areas of London, 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 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. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Fraud can range from simple to sophisticated, sometimes involving hidden electronic devices that obtain account information and personal identification numbers.

Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • 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
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

Demonstrations

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

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, 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.

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Road safety

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 coming from the opposite direction than what they may be used to.

Public transportation

Public transportation is excellent and extensive.

Taxis

Taxis are generally safe. Only use officially licensed marked taxis.

Air travel

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 on engaging in mountain or trekking activities:

  • never do so alone
  • hire an experienced guide if you are inexperienced in mountain trekking
  • 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 reach your destination
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails

Useful links:

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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
  • quarantine
  • 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.

Before travelling:

  • 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.

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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.

Passport

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.

Official travel

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.

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Visas

Tourist visa: Not required for stays of up to 6 months

Business visa or work permit: Required

Student visa: Required

You need a work permit or visa even if you plan to do unpaid, volunteer, part-time or temporary work. A marriage visitor visa is required if you plan to get married or register a civil partnership in the United Kingdom.

Before your departure, you should consult UK Visas and Immigration or the British High Commission in Canada to ensure that you apply for the proper visa and have the appropriate documents for the purpose of your visit (for example, marriage, employment, study), as well as to find out if you will be required to pay a health-care surcharge.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020, and the withdrawal transition period ended on December 31, 2020. If you reside in the United Kingdom, make sure you have the proper residency status and permit to continue living in the UK after the transition period ends.

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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 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.

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.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

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, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. 

Person-to-Person Infections

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

COVID-19 - Testing facilities

Consult the following links to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test:

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 will be required to pay for medical services provided by the National Health Service (NHS) unless you are an ordinarily resident of the United Kingdom or are seeking access to certain 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.

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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.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect prison sentences and heavy fines.

Useful links

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

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

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.

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Driving

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. You should carry an international driving permit. Certain car rental companies may require an international driving permit.

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.

Congestion Charge

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.

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Money

The currency of the United Kingdom is the pound sterling (GBP).

When crossing one of the border control points of the United Kingdom 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.

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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 rains occur and may result in flooding and mudslides. Certain coastal and riverside areas might be particularly subject to flooding.

Fog, and snow can also have widespread impacts, including transportation disruptions.

In mountainous regions, avalanches present a risk that may result in injuries or fatalities

  • Keep informed of regional weather forecasts
  • Stay away from disaster areas
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Useful links:

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial 999 for emergency assistance.

Consular 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 ldn.consular@international.gc.ca, for an emergency related to a passport, please email ldn.passport@international.gc.ca.

London - High Commission of Canada
Street AddressCanada House, Trafalgar Square, London, SW1Y 5BJ, England, United KingdomTelephone+44 (0) 207 004 6000Fax+44 (0) 207 004 6053Emailldn.consular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-United-KingdomServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookHigh Commission of Canada to the United KingdomTwitter@CanadianUKOther social mediaCanada and the United Kingdom
High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom
High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom
Consular district

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar

Belfast - Consulate of Canada
Telephone+ 44 (0) 2897-542405Emailcanada.consul.bel@aol.co.ukInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-United-KingdomServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in the United KingdomTwitter@CanadianUK
Edinburgh - Consulate of Canada
Telephone+44 (0) 330 500 1224Emailedinburgh@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-United-KingdomServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in the United KingdomTwitter@CanadianUK
Wales - 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.

Disclaimer

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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