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Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland
Time Zone : MEZ -1 h
Capital : London (7.285.000 Occupants)
Tel. Prefix : +44
EU, G-8, Nato, OECD, OSZE, Uno, WEU
Kingdom and Gibraltar - Consular Information Sheet
DESCRIPTION: The United Kingdom is a highly developed constitutional
monarchy comprising England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland;
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. Tourist facilities
are widely available.
REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Tourists are not obliged
to obtain a visa for stays of up to six months in the United Kingdom
or to enter Gibraltar. Those wishing to remain longer than one
month in Gibraltar should regularize their stay with Gibraltar
information on entry requirements may be obtained from the British
Embassy at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008;
tel.: (202) 588-7800. Inquiries may also be directed to British
Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles,
New York, and San Francisco. The web site of the British Embassy
in the United States is http://www.britainusa.com/consular/embassy/embassy.asp.
AND SECURITY: The United Kingdom is stable and modern. Political
demonstrations are well policed and, except at times in Northern
Ireland, generally orderly. There is, however, a history of terrorist
violence related to the political situation in Northern Ireland
(a part of the United Kingdom).
incidents of terrorist violence have occurred throughout England
and Northern Ireland. U.S. citizens have not been specifically
targeted, but some have been injured when caught up in disturbances.
In the last year, a major suburban London bridge was damaged by
a bomb, various explosions occurred in high-density London neighborhoods,
and an explosive device discovered on a London subway line caused
major public transport delays.
recent years, there has been widespread civil unrest throughout
Northern Ireland during the summer marching season (April to August).
As a result, American citizens traveling in Northern Ireland have
experienced delays and disruption. Some degree of civil unrest
may continue for the foreseeable future.
the fall of 2000, fuel refinery blockades by the transport industry
caused fuel shortages that curtailed emergency services, public
transport (including airlines) and slowed or halted distribution
of food and other vital commodities. Gas pump lines caused major
traffic jams throughout the U.K. Further protest and resultant
disruptions - even to tourists - cannot be ruled out if there
is continued concern about high fuel prices.
While the United Kingdom and Gibraltar benefit from generally
low crime rates, The U.K. has recently experienced an increase
in crime, including crimes involving violence. Incidents of pickpocketing,
muggings, "snatch and grab" thefts of watches and jewelry and
theft of unattended bags are extremely common. According to U.K.
government reports, these have increased significantly over the
target tourists, especially at historic sites, restaurants, on
buses, trains and the London Underground (subway). Thieves often
target unattended cars parked at tourist sites. In London, travelers
should use only licensed "black taxi cabs" or car services recommended
by their hotel or tour operator. Unlicensed taxis or private cars
posing as taxis may offer low fares, but are often uninsured and
may have unlicensed drivers. In some instances, travelers have
been robbed while using these cars.
to the circumstances described above, visitors should take steps
to ensure the safety of their U.S. passports. Visitors in England,
Scotland and Wales are not expected to produce identity documents
for police authorities and thus may secure their passports in
hotel safes or residences. In Northern Ireland, however, passports
or other photographic I.D. should be carried at all times. The
need to carry a passport to cash Travelers Checks is also minimized
by an abundance of ATMís able to access systems widely used in
the U.S. and offering more favorable rates of exchange.
loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of Stateís pamphlet
A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free
journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
FACILITIES AND INSURANCE: While good medical services are
widely available, free care under the National Health System is
allowed only to U.K. residents. Tourists and short-term visitors
can expect charges roughly comparable to those assessed in the
INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside
the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not
provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for
medical services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy
applies overseas, including provisions for medical evacuation,
and for adequacy of coverage. Generally, travel insurance cannot
be purchased once you have departed the United States. Serious
medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation
to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur.
Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of Stateís Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans
Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs
home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other
health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention's international traveler's hotline at tel.:
1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299),
or by visiting the CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S.
citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly
from those in the United States. The information below concerning
the United Kingdom is provided for general reference only, and
may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent
penalties for drunk driving are stiff and often result in prison
sentences. Visitors uncomfortable with or intimidated by the prospect
of driving on the left-hand side of the road may wish to avail
themselves of extensive bus, rail and air transport networks that
are reasonably inexpensive. Roads in the United Kingdom are generally
good, but are narrow and often congested in urban areas. If you
plan to drive while in the U.K., you may wish to obtain a copy
of The Highway Code, available in the United Kingdom. The Automobile
Association (AA) of the U.K. provides information and updates
on travel and traffic-related issues on its web site at http://www.theaa.co.uk.
transport in the United Kingdom is excellent and extensive. However,
poor track conditions were thought to have contributed to train
derailments resulting in some fatalities. Repairs are underway
and the overall safety record is excellent.
U.S. citizens are injured every year in pedestrian accidents in
the United Kingdom, forgetting that traffic moves in the opposite
direction than in the United States. Care should be taken when
Gibraltar, as in the U.S. and Continental Europe, driving is on
the right-hand side of the road. Persons traveling overland between
Gibraltar and Spain may experience long delays in clearing Spanish
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning United Kingdom driving permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, refer to
the United Kingdomís Department of Environment and Transport web
site at http://www.detr.gov.uk; the Driving Standards Agency web
site at http://www.dsa.gov.uk, or consult the U.S. Embassy in
Londonís web site at http://www.usembassy.org.uk.
phone number for police/fire/ambulance emergency services - the
equivalent of "911" in the U.S. - is 999 in the United Kingdom
and 12 in Gibraltar.
SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of the United Kingdom's Civil
Aviation Authority as Category One - in compliance with international
aviation standards for oversight of the United Kingdom's air carrier
operations. For further information, travelers may contact the
Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.
REGULATIONS: British customs authorities may strictly
enforce regulations regarding the import or export of certain
items, including material deemed likely to incite racial hatred,
firearms and personal defense items such as mace or knives. It
is advisable to contact the British Embassy in Washington or one
of the United Kingdom's consulates in the U.S. for specific information
regarding customs requirements. Customs authorities encourage
the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet
for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial
samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet
Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business,
1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees
the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information
call 212-354-4480, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit
http://www.uscib.org for details.
PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject
to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ
significantly from those in the United States and may not afford
the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties
for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States
for similar offenses. Persons violating British law, even unknowingly,
may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession,
use or trafficking in illegal drugs in the United Kingdom are
strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and
travelers to and from the United Kingdom should be aware that
penalties against alcohol-related and other in-flight crimes ("air
rage") are stiff and are being enforced with prison sentences.
ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children
and international parental child abduction, please refer to our
Internet site at: http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html,
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or visiting the
United Kingdom may register at the Consular Section of the U.S.
Embassy in London, or at the U.S. Consulates General in Edinburgh
or Belfast and obtain updated information on travel and security
within the United Kingdom.
U.S. Embassy is located at 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE;
Telephone: in country 0207-499-9000, from the U.S. 011-44-207-499-9000
(24 hours); Consular Section fax: in country 0207-495-5012; from
the U.S. 011-44-207-495-5012. The embassy web site is http://www.usembassy.org.uk.
U.S. Consulate General in Edinburgh, Scotland, is located at 3
Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BW; Telephone: in country 0131-556-8315,
from the U.S. 011-44-131-556-8315. After hours: in country 0131-260-6495,
from the U.S. 011-44-131-260-6495. Fax: in country 0131-557-6023;
from the U.S. 011-44-131-557-6023. The web site is http://www.usembassy.org.uk/scotland.
U.S. Consulate General in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is located
at 14 Queen Street, Belfast BT1 6EQ; Telephone: in country 01232-328-239;
from the U.S. 011-44-1232-328-239. After hours: in country 01232-241-279,
from the U.S. 011-44-1232-661-629. Fax: in country 01232-248-482,
from the U.S. 011-44-1232-248-482.
is no U.S. consular representation in Gibraltar. Citizen services
questions should be directed to the U.S. Embassy in London. Passport
questions can be directed to the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, located
at Serrano 75/Madrid, Spain; telephone (34)(91) 587-2200, and
fax (34)(91) 587-2303.
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National Hymne of Great Britian