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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
Safety and security
Violent crime, such as mugging and sexual assault occurs, particularly in larger cities. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs in tourist areas and airports, restaurants, pubs and bars and underground pedestrian walkways, and on public transportation. Be vigilant, particularly in urban areas during the summer months and when walking after dark.
Vehicle theft and theft from parked vehicles also occurs, particularly in tourist areas and roadside stops.
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.
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.
Beware of automated banking machine (ABM) scams, which 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 ABMs 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.
See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities. Since March 22, 2017, separate attacks, causing multiple deaths and injuries, have taken place in the U.K.: 4 in London and 1 in Manchester. The attacks have been indiscriminate and have targeted public places, including public transportation, a market, an entertainment venue and the area near a religious site. While the majority of attacks have occurred in the London area, the likelihood of an attack elsewhere in the United Kingdom cannot be ruled out. 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, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
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). 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.
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.
Occasional strike action and migrant (see General Safety Information below) activity in and around Calais can cause delays when using cross-channel services to travel to and from the United Kingdom. Contact your transportation carrier for up-to-date information and monitor local news.
Expect possible delays and disruptions in some areas of Northern Ireland during the weeks leading up to July 12, the day Protestants celebrate their victory at the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Mountain or trekking activities
If you intend to do mountaineering or trekking:
- never practice these activities alone;
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company;
- buy travel insurance that covers helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity;
- advise 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;
- sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service; and,
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture away from marked trails or slopes.
If you are planning on mountaineering or skiing, consult SportScotland’s Scottish Avalanche Information Service for information on weather and safety conditions.
General safety information
Exercise normal security precautions and avoid isolated areas. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe. Some countries have already experienced disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations, and have seen major delays at border crossings. The situation also heightens the potential for demonstrations that could turn violent without warning, particularly at railway stations and other transportation hubs. If you are travelling in the region, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities, and contact your transport carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel.
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.
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 any type of 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 in Ottawa for entry clearance before making plans to visit the United Kingdom, even if a visa is normally not required.
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.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Measles in Europe - April 24, 2018
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 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.
Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.
You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.
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.
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. You may be required to pay medical fees in advance. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses in case of illness or injury (including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation).
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
Laws & 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.
Canada and the United Kingdom are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Council of Europe). 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.
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.
Traffic drives on the left.
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.
The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited, unless it is fitted with a hands-free device.
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. Visit Transport of London’s Congestion Charge page for further details.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines or jail sentences.
Additional information regarding road safety and regulations can be found on the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are similar to those imposed in Canada. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
The currency of the United Kingdom is the pound sterling (GBP).
Credit cards are widely accepted and automated banking machines 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 country sites, visit the European Commission’s cash controls website.
Natural disasters and 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. Consult the Met Office, the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency for additional information and advice.
In mountainous regions, avalanches present a risk that may result in injuries or fatalities. If you are planning on mountaineering or skiing, consult the Scottish Avalanche Information Service for information on weather and safety conditions.
Dial 999 for emergency assistance.
London - High Commission of Canada
Belfast - Consulate of Canada
Edinburgh - Consulate of Canada
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.
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, express 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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