We recommend that all overseas travelers take the following steps:
- Check the Department of State’s country specific guidance: click here for the latest UK information.
- Consult the Department of State’s Traveler’s Checklist.
- Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so we can send information about safety conditions and better assist in an emergency.
- Sign your passport, complete the emergency information page, and give a photocopy of the passport’s biographical data page to a trusted friend or relative in case of emergency.
- Take out a travel insurance policy (Medicare, Medicaid and many private health insurance plans don’t cover overseas costs and we can’t pay medical costs or medical evacuation).
See below for more guidance to help you prepare for your trip.
Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the below lists. Inclusion on a list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.
Applying for a visa
The UK government’s UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website is your best source for information about UK immigration regulations and requirements. It includes an interactive tool to help you check whether or not you will need a visa. If your questions are not answered online, you can contact UKVI directly.
Child traveling without both parents
If a child under the age of 18 will not be traveling with both parents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recommends that the accompanying adult or the child (if unaccompanied) carries a notarized written consent letter from both parents if possible. Visit the CBP website for more information about this parental consent letter.
We recommend that you register the child’s details with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Delayed or denied entry
Driving and parking
Visit the UK government’s website for important information about driving in the UK on the basis of a U.S. driver’s license.
Please also visit the Department of State’s website for information about driving abroad and International Driving Permits.
The Blue Badge scheme helps people with disabilities park closer to their destination. Click on the links below for details.
UK government information about driving with medical conditions
UK government information about Blue Badge parking
How to contact the local council for information about Blue Badge parking
Emergencies and security
- Call 999 if you experience or witness an emergency requiring emergency assistance (police, fire and ambulance services).
- Dial 101 if you need to speak to local police about a non-urgent matter.
- If you fall victim to crime, we’re here to help. Click here for details.
Recent events serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens must maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. We recommend that you visit the Department of State’s website for important information including travel advisories, alerts and country-specific information. You can also obtain information by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada.
We strongly recommend that you register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program as STEP allows you to enter information about your overseas travel so that the Department of State can better assist you if there is an emergency.
If you use social media, you can follow us in case of emergency:
Gibraltar and the Channel Islands
We recommend that you contact the immigration authorities of any countries you will be visiting for information on entry requirements. Information about travel to Gibraltar and the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark) is provided on the UK Government website.
Group travel (including school groups)
Members of their groups and their parents (if they are minors) can use the Department of State’s Traveler’s Checklist to help them prepare for the trip.
If a child under the age of 18 will not be traveling with both parents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recommends that the accompanying adult carries a notarized written consent letter from both parents if possible. Visit the CBP website for more information about this parental consent letter, including specific guidance for group travelers.
We recommend that U.S. citizen travelers, including group leaders, register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). You are not required to register with the Embassy as registering with STEP serves that purpose. Any foreign members of your group may wish to contact their Embassy or High Commission to ask about similar programs.
We suggest that leaders, members of the group and their parents (if they are minors) follow us on social media:
U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, are required by law to enter and exit the United States on a valid U.S. passport only. If you are a dual national and have a question about which passport to use to enter or exit another country, please contact the immigration authorities of that country for clarification.
U.S. passports are valid for travel to the United States up until the day they expire. However, as some countries require a passport to be valid for a certain period after travel, we recommend that U.S. citizens always have at least six months’ validity left on their passport. Information about renewing a U.S. passport in the United States can be found via the Department of State’s website.
We recommend you contact the immigration authorities of the country or countries you wish to visit if you have further questions about passport validity after checking the Department of State’s country specific information.
Personal safety advice
- Be vigilant at ATMs, in crowds, at tourist sites and in transit. Tactics intended to distract you while your belongings are taken include ‘accidents’ with offers to help, offers to give directions or advice, and offers to take photos or free hugs. Click here for more information to help you avoid these scams.
- Bring photocopies of your passport ID page, tickets and insurance policy to carry while originals are locked in a safe place in your hotel or vacation rental. You are unlikely to need your passport until you depart unless you are traveling overseas, exchanging currency or cashing travelers checks
- The legal drinking age is 18 and moderate drinking in public is socially acceptable. Take it easy if you are not used to alcohol.
- Look both ways when crossing the road as traffic will come from the ‘opposite’ direction!
- Most weapons including pocket knives, mace and pepper spray are illegal.
- Seek directions, advice and currency exchange from official sources.
Tourism (including House of Parliament)
Click here for information about how to request a card of introduction to watch a Commons debate (including Prime Minister’s Question Time) at the Houses of Parliament.
For information about sites and buildings of U.S. cultural and historical interest around the UK, click here.