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Newfoundland And Labrador travel guide

About Newfoundland And Labrador

“Newfies” bear the brunt of many a Canadian joke, but they’re having the last laugh: raw natural beauty, charming little villages and welcoming locals should push Newfoundland and Labrador towards the front of your to-visit list.

Pretty wooden houses painted the colours of the rainbow cling to cliffsides and 10,000-year-old icebergs the size of castles drift past their front doors. Humpback, minke and blue whales (to name a few) dance offshore and half a million puffins nest in the rocks – count them if you don’t believe us.

Newfoundland and Labrador is almost three times the size of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined, and is blessed with 29,000km (18,125 miles) of craggy coastline. The province is filled with historic towns and landmarks documenting the region's indiginous aboriginal inhabitants, Viking visitors and maritime heritage.

Water Street on St John’s claims to be the oldest street in North America. And it is strange to think that you are actually closer here to Ireland's Cape Clear than to Ontario's Thunder Bay (though not so odd when you hear the local dialect – grab a copy of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English if you get stuck).

Newfoundland and Labrador is also a place of ancient landscapes, such as the unique and beautiful geological features of the UNESCO-listed Gros Morne National Park, or the colossal mountain ranges of the Torngat, Kaumajet and Kiglapait and their primeval exposed rock.

Many of the province’s indigenous people (the First Nations, Métis and Innu) still reside here, often in isolated communities. And the European descendants are fiercely proud of their roots, so if an Atlantic storm hits, dive into the nearest pub and enjoy an all-day knees-up, with fiddlers and accordion players cranking out Celtic-inspired tunes.

Key facts

Area:

405,212 sq km (156,453 sq miles).

Population:

527,800 (2015).

Population density:

1.3 per sq km.

Capital:

St John's.

Travel Advice

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:  

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in Canada set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Canadian High Commission in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Canada.

Passport validity requirements

To enter Canada, your passport must be valid for the length of your planned stay.

If you’re travelling through another country on your way to or from Canada, check the entry requirements for that country. Many countries will only allow entry if you have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport. 

Visa requirements

To enter or transit through Canada, most people need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) – not both.

Check if you need a visa or an eTA online.

You do not need a visa for short visits (normally up to 6 months). You may need an eTA instead.

You do not need an eTA, if you are:

See Canada’s entry requirements for full details of eTA and visa requirements.

Contact the Canadian High Commission in the UK if you are unsure about visa requirements or your eligibility to enter the country, for example, if you have a criminal record or have been arrested.

Checks at border control

Canadian border officials may ask you to show a return or onward ticket and proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your stay, even if you are staying with family or friends.

Visas for permanent residence, study or work

See information on visas for permanent residence, study or work in Canada.  

Transiting through Canada

If you are travelling through Canada (transiting) by air, you must have an eTA or a transit visa.     

If you have questions, contact:

Find out more about transiting Canada.

Visa and eTA scams

Some unauthorised websites charge for submitting visa applications. These websites are not associated with the Canadian government.

You can check your eTA status online with the Canadian government. If it has been 72 hours since you applied, and you have not received confirmation of your application, complete an enquiry form.   

Travelling with children

If a child travels alone or with only one parent or legal guardian, they should carry a letter of consent from the non-travelling parents or guardians. Immigration officers have the right to question children using simple and appropriate language to see if there are any concerns about child abduction.

For more information, check with the Canadian High Commission in the UK or the Canada Border Services Agency.

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Canada guide

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods that can be taken into and out of Canada. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

The Canadian authorities will confiscate banned food products and you could get a fine. For more information, see importing food, plants or animals to Canada.

If you visit a farm or have contact with wild animals before entering Canada, and plan to visit a farm during your stay, you must declare this on your Customs Declaration Card. For more information, see biosecurity at the Canadian border.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times. 

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Canada

Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Canada. 

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should remain aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Recent attacks include:

  • in 2023, one person stabbed and injured in Surrey, British Columbia
  • in 2021, 4 people killed and one injured by a vehicle in London, Ontario
  • in 2020, one person killed with a hammer in Scarborough, Ontario
  • in 2020, one person killed and 2 wounded in a machete attack in Toronto, Ontario

See the Canadian government’s national terrorism threat level.

Crime

Take precautions to protect yourself from petty crime, including:

  • not leaving your bag or luggage unattended
  • keeping luggage out of sight in cars
  • keeping valuables and passport in a safe location
  • leaving copies of important documents with family and friends in the UK
  • carrying a copy of your passport for ID

Laws and cultural differences

Cannabis

Recreational cannabis is legally available in Canada. Laws vary depending on the province or territory you are visiting. It is illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border without a permit or exemption authorised by Health Canada. Those who attempt to take cannabis out of Canada without the relevant permit face arrest.

See the Canadian Border Services Agency website for more information.

Wildlife

If you are hiking or camping, be considerate and cautious of local wildlife. You should:

  • take all rubbish with you including food items to avoid attracting animals to your site
  • be careful around animals with nearby young or nests – they may be aggressive when protecting their territory
  • research the region to learn about the local wildlife
  • take particular care if you’re in an area where bears have been sighted
  • keep a safe distance from any wildlife including marine animals and birds
  • follow park regulations

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism   

See advice on visitor safety when planning outdoor activities and adventure tourism in Canada, and on preparing for winter sports abroad.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Canada, see information on driving abroad.

See driving in Canada for information on traffic and safety laws. Laws vary between provinces and territories, including:

Take extra care when travelling on country roads and watch out for wild animals. For more information on road conditions and road safety, see Transport Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association and Travel Canada.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience, a higher minimum age and holding an IDP

Driving in winter

In winter, highways are often closed because of snowstorms and avalanches in Alberta, British Columbia and other provinces. Check local weather conditions on The Weather Network.

Driving conditions can be dangerous, even when roads remain open during a winter storm. Take care, follow local restrictions or guidelines and make sure your vehicle has snow tyres and emergency supplies. See winter driving advice, including vehicle preparation and using winter tyres.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards

Hurricanes

From July to November, hurricanes can affect coastal areas. Check the US National Hurricane Center, Environment Canada and The Weather Network websites for the latest weather conditions.

Avalanches

Avalanches can happen in mountainous regions, including Alberta and British Columbia. Always follow avalanche advice and stay away from closed trails. Follow the directions of local guides or instructors. For more information and avalanche news, see the Canadian Avalanche Foundation website. 

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake or tsunami. The Canadian government has information about emergency preparedness.

Thunderstorms

Summer thunderstorms are frequent in most parts of Canada, particularly between April and September. They can damage property and threaten lives.

Winter storms

Winter storms, including freezing rain, blizzards and hail, are frequent in many parts of Canada, particularly from November to April. They can make driving conditions dangerous, damage property and threaten lives. Follow local warnings or news for details.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can happen anywhere in Canada from May to September, but June to July is the peak season in:

  • southern Ontario
  • Alberta
  • south-eastern Quebec
  • southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba through to Thunder Bay
  • the interior of British Columbia and western New Brunswick

Follow instructions from Canadian officials or law enforcement. Check the US National Hurricane Center for weather updates.

Wildfires

Wildfires can start at any time, whatever the season, although there is particular risk of fire in the grasslands and forests of western Canada during the summer months.

In summer 2023 there were also significant fires in eastern Canada, including parts of Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

You should follow local warnings or news for details on the latest outbreaks. The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System shows active wildfires and forecasts. You can also monitor wildfire smoke and air quality on the Government of Canada’s website.

Arctic travel

Parts of Canada are in the Arctic Circle, including some very remote areas of land and sea. Emergency medical assistance and search and rescue are limited in these areas. See Arctic travel safety advice.

Before you travel, check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 911 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks 

At least 8 weeks before your trip:  

See what health risks you’ll face in Canada.

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Canada, including skiing and hiking destinations in the Canadian Rockies such as Banff and Lake Louise. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro

Medication

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

TravelHealthPro explains best practice when travelling with medicines.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare in Canada

Medical treatment can be very expensive. There are no special arrangements for British visitors. 

For emergency healthcare, go to a hospital emergency room or a walk-in clinic.

If you have dual British-Canadian citizenship, you may still have to pay for medical treatment if you do not meet provincial residency requirements for healthcare. Check with the relevant province or territory health ministry for more information.

COVID-19 healthcare in Canada

Public Health Canada has COVID-19 updates and guidance. These Twitter accounts are also official sources of information and guidance:

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Canada

Telephone: 911 (ambulance, fire, police)

Coastguard maritime emergencies

Telephone: 1 800 463 4393

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Canada and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Ottawa or your nearest consulate.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Canada on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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