New Mexico travel guide

About New Mexico

Sensational sunsets, expansive deserts and wide-open plains; imposing mountain ranges, lush forests and gargantuan caverns; historic cities and a reputation for the extraterrestrial: welcome to New Mexico.

Nicknamed “the land of enchantment,” the state somehow manages to live up to that lofty billing with its spectacular topography and fascinating heritage. The Pueblo and Navajo Native American cultures are very much alive and well here, and a strong Hispanic lineage also helps determine its distinctive character.

New Mexico’s historic national parks include the equally overwhelming and enchanting Carlsbad Caverns (where you can watch Mexican free-tailed bats emerge at sunset), the beguiling beauty of White Sands, the awe-inspiring sight of Shiprock mountain in Navajo country, and the striking cliff dwellings and Pueblo settlements of Bandelier National Monument.

The state’s largest city, Albuquerque, is a colourful metropolis made famous by the hit television series, Breaking Bad. A hip city with a vibrant arts and music scene, the city’s charming Old Town and bountiful cultural attractions, coupled with its attractive setting on the Rio Grande, make it a popular destination.

Santa Fe, with its earthy adobe architecture, is the USA’s oldest state capital, known for its sophisticated artistic community. You can catch a glimpse of the oldest church in the country, procure local art and Navajo weavings at Indian markets, or merely take in the city’s pleasant ambiance.

In the southeastern quarter of the state lies Roswell, a relatively unexceptional city until 1947 when a UFO reportedly crashed nearby. To this day visitors flock to this corner of New Mexico to imbibe the extraterrestrial ambiance and walk around a museum dedicated to the infamous incident.

Key facts

Area:

314,914 sq km (121,589 sq miles).

Population:

2.1 million (2015).

Population density:

6.6 per sq km.

Capital:

Santa Fe.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for USA on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

There remain commercial options to return to the UK from the USA but UK nationals holding a US visa may be denied re-entry to the US if they return while the travel restrictions are in place.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in USA.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. Testing arrangements vary from state to state, but there are a range of providers available and you should contact local authorities in your location for information on testing facilities. Details of testing options in your area can also be found on State Health Department websites and local health department websites.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive while in the USA you will be required to quarantine in a private area, likely a hotel or private residence. The length of time will depend on the guidance in the state where you are residing. This applies to those under 18 as well. You may also be contacted by local authorities to advise to isolate if you were in close contact with someone else who tested positive. Any assistance for those required to isolate will depend on the local authority. You should check the CDC travel planner to verify local state guidance.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in USA

Many airports in the USA have implemented safety measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. You should check the website of the airport you are flying into or transiting to see how these could affect you.

On 21 January 2021 President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring masks to be worn on airplanes, trains, buses and at airports.

Some states have rules in place requiring travellers from other states, with high rates of COVID-19, to quarantine for 14 days or to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Before travelling you should check the websites of the relevant state governments. Further information can be found on the CDC website.

A number of US states have mandated the use of masks and face coverings while in public. These will vary from state to state. You should consult the website of the state to which you are travelling. Contact details are found on the US.GOV site .

Further restrictions will vary locally with some states relaxing lockdown procedures while others are pausing or reversing their re-openings.

Penalties for breaches of regulations will vary between each state and may sometimes vary in different areas in the same state.

Accommodation

Hotels are re-opening across the USA but will be operating at capacities dictated by local rules and regulations.

Public places and services

Local regulations on shops, restaurants, bars, beaches and other leisure activities may be following measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Some may require proof of vaccination. You should be aware that public places likely to attract large crowds may be closed at short notice. You should follow local media and any guidance issued by local authorities.

On 9 September 2021 President Biden announced details of a 6-pronged national COVID-19 action plan. This includes requiring all employers with over 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly. You can find details and requirements of the White House COVID-19 plan on the White House website.

Healthcare in USA

There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the USA. The US Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA. UK prescriptions are not valid in the USA. In order for a British National to obtain pharmacy drugs, you would need to have a prescription from a US provider. This can be done from attending an ‘Urgent Care’ facility, Emergency Room or a doctor’s surgery.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact a local healthcare provider. More details are available on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in the USA.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in USA

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. For the USA, details can be found on the CDC Vaccine website. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The USA’s national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. British nationals resident in the USA are eligible for vaccination. Each state is responsible for distributing vaccines and has its own vaccination plan. You should contact the local health department in the state or territory where you are resident for information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in the USA, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

You can also find information at:

Crime

Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your property against petty crime. Don’t leave passports in rental cars, especially in the boot, as there have been a high number of thefts by gangs targeting the vehicles of those who appear to be tourists.

Violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists, but you should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas. Avoid walking through less travelled areas alone, especially at night. You can find public advisories and information about recent incidents on the websites of local law enforcement authorities.

Incidents of mass shooting can occur, but account for a very small percentage of homicide deaths. Read the US Department of Homeland Security website, which has published advice on what to do in such an incident.

Research your destination before travelling, be vigilant, and follow the advice of local authorities. Crime associated with the illegal drugs trade is a major issue in Mexican states bordering Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Some foreign nationals have been among the victims of crime in the border regions, but there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted because of their nationality.

Road travel

Traffic laws vary from state to state. If you’re planning to drive in the USA, check the driving rules in the state(s) you’ll be visiting. In most states, a full UK driving licence is sufficient (provisional licences aren’t accepted). However, some states may also require an International Driving Permit (IDP), which you can get over the counter at the Post Office. The USA doesn’t issue IDPs to foreign visitors, so you’ll need to get one before you travel. If you’re hiring a vehicle, check requirements with your rental company before you travel.

Driving is on the right hand side of the road.

Check the weather conditions before embarking on a long journey, particularly in mountainous and isolated areas where there is increased likelihood of snowfall, or in dry desert areas where you may need extra water and petrol stations could be scarce. Do not sleep in your car by the roadside or in rest areas and avoid leaving any items on display in your car. Try to stay on main roads and use well-lit car parks. If you’re involving in a collision while driving, indicate to the other driver to follow you to a public place and call 911 for the police.

Petrol stations that do not display the price of fuel usually charge considerably more than the national average for a gallon of fuel. They’re often found close to tourist destinations and airports, and notoriously near to Orlando International Airport.

In 2019 there were 36,120 road deaths in the USA (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 11 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.7 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

Air travel

Before you travel, check the security measures you’re likely to face at the airport on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website. The TSA has a helpline number to help passengers with disabilities and medical conditions before they fly.

Don’t make flippant remarks about bombs or terrorism, especially when passing through US airports.

Safety concerns have been raised about INSEL Air. The UK Government, like other governments (including the USA and The Netherlands), prohibits its staff from using the airline while safety checks are being carried out.

Tourism

Safety rules at public venues, such as theme parks and other tourist attractions, may vary from state to state.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the USA. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should monitor media reports and be vigilant 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 more about the global threat from terrorism.

The main threat comes from individuals who may have been inspired by terrorist ideology to carry out so-called ‘lone actor’ attacks targeting public events or places. Attacks could take place with little or no notice.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides public information about credible threats. Expect an increased presence of law enforcement and tight security at public places and events. This may include a heavy police presence, additional restrictions and searches on bags, and the use of screening technologies. For all current alerts within the USA and its territories, visit the DHS website.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Laws vary from state to state. When you are physically present in a state, even temporarily, you are subject to that state’s laws. You must carry a passport showing that you have leave to enter or remain with you at all times.

The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people differ hugely across the country. Read our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel. You can find more detail on LGBT issues in the USA on the Human Rights Campaign website.

Under US federal law, the legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 21 years. Some states have different laws. If you are under 21 years of age, check the relevant state laws before drinking or attempting to buy alcohol.

Possession or trafficking of a controlled substance in the USA can carry a severe prison sentence and/or fine. Check with each state you are intending to visit to make sure you comply with the personal possession and consumption laws of controlled substances within those states. A list of all types of controlled substances, as listed under the Controlled Substances Act, can be found on the US Department of Justice website.

The FCDO has published information about the assistance offered by the British Embassy and Consulates to British nationals if arrested or detained in the USA.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in the USA set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to USA

It is not possible for most British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China, South Africa or India within the previous 14 days. The US Government announced on 15 October that it would lift travel restrictions starting from 8 November for foreign citizens who are fully vaccinated with any Covid-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More details are on the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. We are waiting for further details on how this will be implemented at US borders. British nationals planning to travel to the US from 8 November 2021 onwards may wish to wait for further information to be released by the US Government. We will update Travel Advice concerning entry to USA accordingly.

Those arriving from outside the above areas will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need.

US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visas holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt. They will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements. Further details are on the US Embassy Website.

The CDC requires that all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country get a COVID test no more than 3 days before their flight departs and present a negative result or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months to the airline before boarding the flight. If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorised for emergency use by the World Health Organisation, you should also get a viral test 3 to 5 days after travel. Unvaccinated people should get tested with a viral test 3 to 5 days after travel and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Those who have recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the last 3 months, should follow all requirements and recommendations for fully vaccinated travellers, except you are not required to get a test unless you are symptomatic. In addition, everyone should follow all state and local guidelines. More details are on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

On 21 January 2021 President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring masks to be worn on aircraft, trains, buses and at airports.

Quarantine requirements

For international arrivals, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated passengers are tested within 3 to 5 days after travel and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Passengers fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine do not have to quarantine but need to take a viral test within 3 to 5 days of arrival. If you are travelling domestically within the US, individual states and territories may have their own quarantine requirements. A full list of local quarantine requirements is available on the CDC website. You should check the list frequently as it is likely to change, sometimes daily, as rates of COVID-19 transmission increase or decrease.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

The USA has not yet confirmed that it will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. You should follow the entry rules for unvaccinated people. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

The CDC has stated that, in their guidance on what constitutes someone who is fully vaccinated, COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organisation such as the AstraZeneca/Oxford and Covishield vaccines, are recognised by the US Government. How this guidance is interpreted will vary depending on the locality in the US. More details are on the CDC website.

Entry for Green Card and Current Visa Holders

New and renewed Green Cards (a Permanent Resident Card) are not currently being issued. However, existing Green Cards remain valid, although individuals who have been away from the USA for a substantial period of time should check their validity with their nearest US Embassy or Consulate before traveling. Further details are on the US Citizens and Immigration Services website.

Those with existing visas remain valid as long as the holders are in the USA. All current visa holders based in the USA wishing to travel to the UK or any other country covered by the Presidential Proclamation are strongly advised to check before they travel as to whether they would need an exception to re-enter the USA. The US authorities only consider applications for these once you have left the USA, so applying before travel is not possible.

Students travelling from the UK (and the Schengen Area and Ireland) with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel.

New Visas and Humanitarian Exceptions

The US authorities are only providing emergency and mission-critical visa services at present and visa appointments remain limited. Due to the impact of COVID-19, their visa services and travel restrictions may change rapidly. If you have an urgent need to travel, you can contact the US Embassy to ascertain if you might qualify for an economic interest, humanitarian, or other exception. However, the criteria for these exceptions are very strict and you should be ready to provide as much information as possible to support your application if you apply for one. Should you not meet the current criteria for an exception, existing appointments for non-urgent non-immigrant visas may be cancelled at short notice. You should continue to check the US Embassy website for any changes.

Further information is available on the US Embassy’s website.

Transiting USA

You cannot enter or transit the USA if you have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China, or South Africa within the previous 14 days. For further information, please check the advice from US Customs and Border Protection website. Those transiting to the USA from outside these areas will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visa holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt. They will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements.

All passengers transiting the USA by air are asked that they take a COVID test 1-3 days before travelling. All passengers must follow state and local COVID safety requirements, including mask wearing and social distancing.

For further information, please refer to the US Government’s travel page.

Regular entry requirements

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. You don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Global entry

The US Customs and Border Protection programme Global Entry gets pre-approved travellers through border control faster at some US airports. If you’re a British citizen you can now register to get a UK background check on GOV.UK. If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into the USA or transit through the USA on an ESTA. If you’re planning to enter or transit through the USA using an ETD, you must apply for a visa from the nearest US embassy or consulate before you travel, which may take a number of days, or hold a valid lawful permanent resident card (often referred to as a ‘green card’), which you must have with you on arrival.

UK ETDs issued in the USA are valid for exit from the USA.

Bringing medicines into the USA

There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the US. The USA Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA.

Travelling with children

If a child (under the age of 18) is travelling with only one parent or someone who isn’t a parent or legal guardian, you may be asked to provide certain documents at the border. For further information, see the US Customs and Border Protection website.

Travelling to the USA from Cuba

It’s possible to travel to the USA after you’ve been to Cuba. However, you may wish to take supporting documents about the purpose of your trip to Cuba in case you’re questioned by US immigration officials at the port of entry on arrival in the USA. If you have any further questions or concerns, contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for USA on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in USA.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you are abroad.

There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the USA. The US Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA. UK prescriptions are not valid in the USA. In order for a British National to obtain pharmacy drugs, you would need to have a prescription from a US provider. This can be done from attending an ‘Urgent Care’ facility, Emergency Room or a doctor’s surgery.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Medical treatment is expensive and there are no special arrangements for British visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Some hospitals may ask non-US residents to pay a deposit or ‘good faith’ payment on admittance. You should direct any requests for funds to your travel insurance provider in the first instance; only pay the hospital if you’re advised to do so by your travel insurance company. Your level of medical care won’t be affected while your claim is being processed.

Medical facilities in American Samoa are basic and medical evacuation by air ambulance to Hawaii, New Zealand or Australia may be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Health risks

You should take suitable steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks. There are occasional outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.

UK health authorities have classified the USA as having a risk of Zika virus transmission in Florida, Texas (Cameron County and Hidalgo County only), Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. For more information and advice, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website: for travel to Florida and Texas (Cameron County and Hidalgo County only) - for travel to Puerto Rico - for travel to US Virgin Islands - for travel to American Samoa - for travel to Guam.

Snow storms

Snow storms during winter can cause disruptions to critical infrastructure, such as power cuts, or delays and cancellations throughout the major transport hubs in the USA. Contact your travel company or airline before you travel. To monitor airport conditions in the USA, visit the Federal Aviation Administration website.

Hurricanes

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November. The Pacific hurricane season normally runs from May to November. They can affect US coastal regions, Hawaii and Guam. The South Pacific tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to May and can affect American Samoa.

You should monitor the progress of approaching storms on the US National Hurricane Center website and follow instructions issued by the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website contains information about how to prepare for extreme weather conditions and what to do if you are told to evacuate. It also provides a list of disaster supplies that will help if you live in an area affected by storms and hurricanes.

See our tropical cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.

Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Infrastructure in these territories remains fragile. If you’re in an affected area, you should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities.

Earthquakes

Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Washington state and the US Virgin Islands are prone to earthquakes. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the Federal Emergency Management website.

On 7 January 2020, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck around 10 kilometres off the coast of Puerto Rico. Aftershocks continue, notably a magnitude 5.5 earthquake on 2 May which caused further structural damage in the south-west of the island. If you’re in this area, you should exercise caution if travelling by road to Ponce and the south-west coast.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year depending on weather conditions. To learn more about what you should do during, and after a tornado, visit the FEMA website

Wildfires

Forest and brush fires (wildfires) are a danger in many dry areas. High winds can cause fires to spread very rapidly. Areas of high risk are canyons, hills and forests. Monitor local media and weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. Exercise caution in areas which have been recently affected by wild fires as they are more susceptible to mudslides during heavy rainfall.

For more information visit the National Interagency Fire Centre and US Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group websites.

For more detail about wild fires in California, visit the CAL FIRE website.

Volcanoes

There is continuous volcanic activity on Hawaii’s Big Island. British nationals in the area should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. For further updates see the State of Hawaii’s website. To learn more about what to do before, during and after a volcano, visit the Federal Emergency Management website.

Large numbers of British nationals travel successfully and safely in and around the Arctic each year. The Arctic is, however, a vast region, comprising the northerly areas of Alaska (USA), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden. If you’re considering visiting the Arctic, read the specific travel advice for each of these countries and consider carefully the potential remoteness of certain destinations from search and rescue, evacuation and medical facilities. Independent travellers are particularly advised to develop contingency arrangements for emergency back-up.

The most popular way of visiting the Arctic is by ship. As some areas of the Arctic -specifically the more northerly and remote regions - can be uncharted and ice-covered, you should check the previous operational experience of cruise and other operators offering travel in the region. You should also consider the on-board medical facilities of cruise ships and talk to cruise operators as appropriate, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

The eight Arctic states take their international search and rescue obligations very seriously, and have recently signed a binding agreement on search and rescue co-operation in the Arctic. However, in the highest latitude regions of the Arctic, cruise ships may be operating in relative isolation from other vessels and/or inhabited areas. You should be aware that in these regions, search and rescue response will often need to be despatched from many hundreds of miles away, and assistance to stranded vessels may take several days to arrive, particularly in bad weather. Search and rescue assets are also likely to offer only basic transport and basic medical care, and are unlikely to be capable of advanced life-support. Responsible cruise operators should happily provide additional information relevant to the circumstances of the cruise they are offering, and address any concerns you may have.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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