Washington DC Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Washington DC
How Safe is Washington D.C.?
Threat level: Medium-High
Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States and is home to the White House, the Supreme Court and the Capitol Building. As the federal government is located in this city, the travel advice for Washington D.C. is that there could potentially be a terrorist attack in the city.
Following First Amendment violent protests that took place on the 5th of January, during which the Capitol was taken under siege by pro-Trump extremist protesters, the Mayor of Washington had issued a Public Emergency order that ended on the 21st of January. However, the situation is volatile and further disorder may occur as President Joe Biden starts his mandate. If you are in Washington, monitor local news and avoid taking part in any demonstrations that could turn violent.
Washington state is the most affected US states by the coronavirus, so to limit the risk of contamination, self-isolate, avoid public gathering and apply good hygiene practices. To contain the spread of the virus, the US has declared national emergency and has suspended travel from the 26 European countries of the Schengen border-free travel area including the UK and Ireland for a period of 30 days.
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides Executive Protection services on the East coast. If you are interested in these services, please visit: Executive Protection in Washington D.C.
There are reported cases of the coronavirus in the USA, with the states of California, Texas and Florida being the most affected.
To contain the spread of the virus, the US has declared national emergency. Travel from European countries of the Schengen border-free travel area including the UK and Ireland is banned and some states have imposed a 14-day quarantine for travels from other states or to present a negative COVID-19 test result.
Starting on the 26th of January, all airline passengers travelling to the United States, aged two years or older, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test, taken within three calendar days of travel or when testing positive, documentation providing evidence of recovery from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel, issued by a healthcare provider or public health official. Travellers must also attest to having received a negative test result or having recovered from COVID-19 with medical clearance by completing the CDC disclosure and attestation to the United States of America.
However, additional measures may vary from one state to another including on the mandatory use of face masks in public places. Some states started reopening certain industries between May and June but new outbreaks in the summer have caused certain states to reinstate some of the restrictions on public venues or pause plans to reopen further. In Washington, to tackle the spread of the virus, retail stores have reduced capacity at 25%, indoor dining isn't permitted, indoor social gatherings are banned, outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and indoor entertainment venues are shut. A statewide order has made compulsory the use of face masks in public, both indoors and outdoors when social distancing rules can't be applied.
See our healthcare section for details about the precautions to take to avoid contracting the disease.
Recent Security Risk Events
In 2015, ISIS released several videos with threats to attack the White House warning of a similar style attack like the one seen in Paris. Although this is not for certain, it is still advised to remain vigilant when planning a trip to Washington D.C.
Crime levels are relatively low in Washington D.C. although like most big cities, they are a main target for petty thefts and pickpocketing due to huge influxes of tourists each year. The best travel advice for Washington D.C. is to only carry essential valuables and be aware of your surroundings, especially around High Street North East, Southeast D.C. and Anacostia.
Humidity in Washington D.C. hits a climax in the summer months and can be incredibly dangerous when walking around and exploring. Make sure to stay hydrated at all times and do not stay in the sun for too long.
Travelling around Washington D.C.
The most convenient form of travel around Washington D.C. is the metro as it is the quickest and cheapest way to reach different destinations. Metros run from 5 a.m. (7a.m. on Saturday and Sunday) and stops at midnight )3a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights).
Another form of public transport that can be used are taxis however at times, these can be hard to find, especially during busy periods. Many locals choose to favour the rideshare company Uber instead as it is believed to be cheaper and less time consuming.
Another convenient way to travel is by cycling. Washington D.C. has its own bike-share program making it accessible for bike users to travel to and from popular tourist attractions.
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 Washington D.C.
Police, Fire, Ambulance emergency: 911
Washington D.C. Overview
Currency: American dollar
Time now in Washington D.C.:
Consular information for Washington D.C.
Canadian Embassy Washington D.C.
501 Pennsylvania Ave. NW,
Washington, D.C. 20001
Telephone: +1 202-682-1740
British Embassy Washington D.C.
3100 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: +1 202-588-6500
French Embassy Washington D.C.
4101 Reservoir Rd NW,
Washington, DC 20007
Telephone: +1 202-944-6000
Chinese Embassy Washington D.C.
3505 International PI NW,
Washington DC 20008
Telephone: +1 202-495-2266
For further embassy information and locations please see our live travel map below.
Healthcare in Washington DC
The healthcare system in Washington DC is a very high standard but can prove to be extremely expensive. It is advice for all travellers to take out necessary travel health insurance in order to cover excess overseas costs.
There are many pharmacies located around Washington D.C. and the most popular chain is CVS that are open 24 hours.