United Kingdom Travel Advice
Security travel advice for the United Kingdom
How safe is the United Kingdom?
Threat level: Low-Medium
COVID-19 Situation Update in the United Kingdom
Amid new variants of coronavirus, entry to the United Kingdom is banned to travellers from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Further to the new variant of coronavirus in South Africa, entry to the United Kingdom is banned to travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola, the Seychelles and Mauritius.
The United Kingdom was in full lockdown between the 4th of January and the 8th of March and is now lifting lockdown restrictions in stages.
International travellers arriving in the UK must follow different rules based on a traffic light system (green, amber and red). Passengers who have visited a country on the 'green' that is deemed safe will not be required to quarantine on arrival in England. They must fill in a passenger locator form, provide a negative PCR test result before travelling and take a sequencing test on day 2 after arrival. Passengers who have visited a country on the 'amber' list that pose a risk must fill in the passenger locator form, present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result before travelling, quarantine at home for 10 days (quarantine rule will be lifted on the 19th of July for fully vaccinated people who will have to show proof of vaccination in the past 14 days in the form of the NHS Covid Pass or via a letter) and take a sequencing test after their arrival on day 2 and day 8 (test on day 8 won't be necessary after the 19th of July for fully vaccinated people). Travellers from 'red' countries that pose a high risk of contracting COVID-19 will be refused entry (except British and Irish citizens as well as people with residency rights who will be subject to compulsory quarantine in a government approved facility).
Face-covering is now compulsory on public transport including in buses, trams, trains, coaches, aircraft and ferries and people must maintain social distancing of at least 1 metre.
2021 Lockdown Exit Plan
On the 22nd of February 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a lockdown exit plan that consists in lifting lockdown restrictions in four stages, which will be dependent on cases, deaths and hospital admissions continuing to fall. The first stage of the plan was effective on the 8th of March and consisted in re-opening schools and colleges. The 'stay-at-home' order ended on the 29th of March and was replaced by a 'stay local' instruction, applying rule of six that allows people to meet in group of six people or two households to gather in parks and gardens. On the 12th of April, shops and outdoor hospitality reopened. Whereas, indoor pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues reopened on the 17th of May. International travel resumed on the 17th of May but rules on quarantine and other entry requirements differ depending on a traffic light system ('green' for safe countries, 'amber' for countries that pose a risk and 'red' for countries that pose a high risk of contracting COVID-19). All limits on social contacts, social distancing, capacity for large events and the obligation to wear a face mask in public transport and shops should be lifted on the 19th of July. See the full official lockdown exit plan roadmap online provided by the government.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, where lockdown rules differ, lockdown restrictions were relaxed on the 1st of April in Northern Ireland and on the 5th of April in Scotland when the Scottish "stay at home" order terminated.
In Wales, the "stay-at-home order" ended on the 13th of March and was replaced by a "stay local" message. Groups of 6 people from two different households are now allowed to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens, and outdoor sports facilities also reopened. Non-essential shops reopened on the 22nd of March and outdoor hospitality establishments reopened on the 26th of April.
For more information on preventive measures to avoid contracting coronavirus, please refer to our healthcare section.
Security Situation in the United Kingdom
The general travel advice for the United Kingdom is to remain cautious and report anything of suspicious nature, most stays to the United Kingdom continue without issue. It is best to monitor news at key political times and to carry out a good standard of general personal security.
For specific security threat information with regards to London, see our: London Travel Advice.Threat levels:
- The current threat from international terrorism is SEVERE
- Terrorism in Northern Ireland is SEVERE (highly likely)
- Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Britain is SUBSTANTIAL (strong possibility)
Please contact the anti-terrorist hotline to report an immediate threat to life or property: 0800 789 321.
In the Streatham area of London on the 2nd of Febuary 2020, police shot dead a terror suspect after he had stabbed two people in Streatham High Road. Witnesses have described 'silver canisters' strapped to the chest of the attacker.
On the 29th of November 2019, a stabbing attack occurred during a conference in Fishmongers' Hall venue. It was carried out by a former terrorist offender, who appeared to be wearing an explosive device that turned out to be fake. He fled the scene and was shot by the police on London Bridge. Two members of the public died and three others were injured.
On the 11th of October 2019, a knife attack took place at the Arndale Centre in Manchester city centre during which four people were stabbed. The suspect was arrested and the incident was treated as a terrorist attack.
On the 8th of June 2017, Metropolitan Police received reports of a suspicious package in Duncannon Street. Trafalgar Square was evacuated and cordoned off during investigations, there are no reports of injuries and specialist officers were stood down. This incident is not currently being treated as terrorist-related.
On the 3rd of June 2017, just after 10pm, a transit van with 3 occupants drove into people on London Bridge and they then proceeded into nearby Borough Market on foot, stabbing people as they ran through. Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, London. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, with many restaurants that attract people in the evenings.
There were 7 killed in this terrorist incident, with over 50 injured. The police shot dead the three that undertook the attack, it was found that they were wearing hoax suicide bomb vests. The vehicle used, appeared to be a rental van.
On the 22nd of May 2017, in an apparent suicide attack, a lone wolf had detonated an improvised explosive device in the egress/foyer area of the Manchester Arena.
Attendees of which were mainly young families and teenagers, were specifically targeted leaving the venue after an Ariana Grande performance. Injuries were sustained if not caused by the initial blast, then by the result of panic that followed. There have been 22 fatalities and at least 59 hospitalised injuries, from a venue which can hold around 20k persons.
Controlled explosions were carried out in the vicinity (Cathedral Gardens area) as a precautionary measure, of which were later found to be abandoned clothing.
On the 22nd of March 2017, an attack upon multiple persons was carried out on the Westminster Bridge, also a police officer was stabbed at Old Palace Yard. A vehicle mounted the pavement on its persuit towards the Westminster Palace Grounds, upon crashing into the palace fence, the assailant proceeded to leave the vehicle entering the grounds attacking police officers.
The police had subdued the attacker by shooting the individual. Searches and cordons were carried out by specialise police units, namely Counter Terrorist Specialist Officers (CTFO's), with the Met counter terrorism command persuing investigations.
The threat of another terrorist attack in UK remains high. The “war on terror” is a high priority for British Intelligence and Police. Visitors to the United Kingdom and to London in particular are asked to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the Police or Counter Terror hotline: 0800 789 321
The United Kingdom with its support and role in the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has become a key target by Islam fundamentalists and there have been a number of attacks in London. On the 7 July 2005, the UK saw for the first time the use of suicide bombers. The attack was well planned with a number of targets being hit within a short time period. 52 civilians were killed and over 700 were injured in the attacks. The UK government have prevented many similar attacks, including an anniversary-style attack on 7/7/2015.
One of the most threatening and unpredictable style attacks for the intelligence services, is the lone wolf style attacks against individuals and groups. Incidents such as Pavlo Lapshyn attacks, where Lapshyn used small explosives outside mosques and stabbed a Muslim man to death in Birmingham in order to provoke a race war.
In 2013, a British soldier was murdered in an attack in Woolwich by two Islamic extremists. It is thought that the attack was in retaliation to British military presence in Islamic countries.
In 2015, three people were stabbed at Leytonstone tube station in east London by an attacker citing “This is for Syria”.
The general security situation in the United Kingdom is quite good, compared to many European cities. Gun crime is quite low but knife crime, muggings, street robbery and pick-pocketing is a concern. General crime in many large cities, can be an issue, especially in urban areas during the summer months and when walking after dark.
It is recommended when travelling to busy areas, you take precautions to secure your belongings securely, as groups of thieves do operate in busy areas.
Demonstrations can occur within the capital cities, most frequently in London. These are held by movements against austerity, capitalism and the current foreign policy, such as conflicts in the Middle East. Groups such as Occupy, The People’s Assembly from Austerity and Stop the War Coalition hold regular demonstrations. The group "Anonymous" holds a yearly “Million Mask March” on November 5th, these gatherings have been known to turn violent and spread from initially arranged areas such as Trafalgar Square, Victoria Embankment, Millbank, Parliament Square and Whitehall.
There have been some previous civil unrest, such as the London riots in 2011. It is strongly advised that you disperse from areas affected and return to a safe location. Events like this, can spread unruliness within areas and the risk of crime against persons is heightened.
While the issue of Irish Republicanism has since the mid-1990s settled, there still can be incidents during key anniversaries within certain areas of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. There is a heightened risk of issues during the Orange Order summer marching season, which is April to August.
The United Kingdom's International Relations
The United Kingdom has respectable ties throughout the international community in many areas of political affairs such as humanitarian, conflictual and global climate negotiations. It currently is a member of many international organisations and as such, has an extensive foreign policy, which isn’t always agreed upon internationally, however may align the country with other international superpowers. Due to this, it increases its risk within international conflicts.
Travelling around the United Kingdom
Road conditions are of a decent standard on main routes, however there can be congestion and traffic, especially in cities and busy towns. Please check our live travel map below, which can show levels of traffic for your chosen area.
International links are good and routes to the European continent can be made from the coastal ferry ports and the Eurostar trains. Be aware that adverse weather conditions can affect these services and/or industrial strikes.
There have been previously delays and disruptions to journeys, due to the migrant crisis and the connecting destinations in France. If travelling through from or to the continent from the UK, please do so with caution, especially commercial vehicles such as Heavy Goods Vehicles, as attempts to gain entry to the UK from the migrants is attempted on a daily basis.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in the United Kingdom
Emergency services: 999
Note: Emergency services in the UK include Police, Medical, Fire and Coastguard service.
The United Kingdom Overview
Official languages: English
Currency: Pound Sterling
Time now in London:
Consular information for the United Kingdom
24 Grosvenor Square,
Telephone: +44 207 4999 000
Emergency Telephone: +44 207 4999 000
14 Three Kings' Yard,
Telephone: +44 20 7312 2200
Telephone: +44 20 7073 1000
39 Chesham Pl,
Telephone: +44 20 7235 5555
30 Princes Gate,
Telephone: +44 20 7581 1281
For further embassy information and locations, please see our live travel map below.
Visa requirements for the United Kingdom
Passport holders from EU Member States, The Commonwealth or the United States of America do not require a visa for entry to the UK. For all other countries, please see: Visa Check UK
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that all visitors to the UK are up to date with all routine inoculations such as Tetanus, however there are no specifically recommended vaccinations required for the United Kingdom.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak that is affecting the country, it is recommended to apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing, and avoid contact with people showing flue-like symptoms. Both elderly people over the age of 70 and people with underlying health issues are recommended to stay at home for an extended period. If you are coughing and have fever, it is required to quarantine yourself for 14 days and only call emergency services if you have severe respiratory issues.
The medical facilities and healthcare system are excellent in the United Kingdom, with services widely available. All travellers, including those in possession of a European Health Insurance Card, will be untitled to receive medical treatment if necessary during their trip. It will also cover you for any pre-existing medical issues, should they become a problem. This only applies to state-run services and does not extend to private healthcare or medical evacuation back to your country.
Travellers outside of the E.U. will have to pay for any medical treatment. It is strongly recommended that all visitors purchase health insurance before departure.
Our offices in the United Kingdom
Intelligent Protection International Limited has offices in London and in Cheshire and its international headquaters is located in the Cotswolds, near Cheltenham. For these regional offices, see:
Tel: +44 207 4566740
Intelligent Protection International Limited - Headquaters
Tel: +44 1453 791444
Intelligent Protection International Limited - Cheshire
Wilmslow Road, Handforth,
Tel: +44 1625 836773
For further information on our services across the UK, see: Close Protection Services in the UK