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Great Britain

If you’re travelling to Great Britain, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Entry requirements (visa/passport)
  • Health
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security Status

High Degree of Caution

Latest Travel Alert

Anyone considering travel should be aware that restrictions are subject to change at short notice, and all passengers should undertake proper research and carefully consider the necessity of their travel at this time. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. It is also important to check with your travel insurance provider on coverage before travel.

If considering travelling abroad, you are advised to monitor the official advice and information provided by the authorities at your destination. Information about entry restrictions applied by other countries is available below. Additional restrictions may be imposed by the country of your destination, including during your visit.

Travel to Great Britain

Travel from Ireland to Britain

Under existing British regulations, passengers arriving into Britain from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not required to self-isolate, nor undergo testing, in the context of the Common Travel Area. 

Travel to Britain from outside the Common Travel Area

Under new regulations, all passengers including Irish citizens resident in the UK who travel into England from outside the Common Travel Area and from a country which is not on the “red list” are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 of their quarantine at home.  They must remain in self-isolation until they receive a negative result. However, If you are in transit to another location within the Common Travel Area, and do not break your transit journey, you can travel onto your final destination without having to take a PCR test.

Travel to Britain from a red list destination

New UK COVID travel regulations came into effect early on 30 November. UK and Irish citizens, and residents of the UK and Ireland, travelling from a red list country to the Common Travel Area (CTA) will have to undertake Mandatory Hotel Quarantine (MHQ) at the first port of entry to the CTA (i.e. if travelling from South Africa to Dublin via London, you will have to enter MHQ in London).

This applies to all transit passengers, including children. MHQ at a designated facility will have to be pre-booked before travelling. Travellers from red list countries will also have to take a COVID test in the 72 hours before their travel.

Further information

Travel to England

Travel to Scotland

Travel to Wales 

Travel to Northern Ireland 

EnglandRed list of countries and territories - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

ScotlandRules for international travel to and from Wales: coronavirus | GOV.WALES

WalesCoronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and quarantine - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

COVID-19

If you are in Great Britain, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. 

GOV.UK

As with any destination, we recommend you remain vigilant, monitor media reporting and follow the advice of local authorities.

 

Travel to Ireland

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

The British authorities currently place the terrorist threat level for Great Britain at "substantial", the second highest alert level, which means an attack remains highly likely. There is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. Additional security measures are in place at airports, throughout transportation networks and at high profiles venues in Great Britain. Travellers may experience delays.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Great Britain but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Great Britain, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in London or the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Great Britain, remember although the regulations are very similar to Ireland, you should always exercise caution.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

The Common Travel Area (CTA) in existence between Ireland and the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) enables British and Irish citizens to move freely within the CTA. The UK Government may require proof of citizenship so Irish citizens are advised to carry an acceptable form of identification document that shows their citizenship when travelling to Britain.

The UK Government advises that this could include:

-your valid passport or passport card  

-a copy of your passport or passport card with your identity and nationality clearly visible

-an expired passport or passport card, which Border Force are satisfied was issued to you originally

-evidence of having obtained Irish (or British) citizenship

However, this list will not be treated as exhaustive. Other documents, including providing more than one document, may be accepted. These will be considered on a case by case basis by the UK Border Force.

Please note, however, that some airlines and other carriers require that you have a valid passport before you can travel with them. Please check with your travel company regarding their requirements before travelling.

Health

Health

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

During the Brexit transition period the UK will continue to participate in the EHIC scheme, and will continue to recognise EU-issued EHICs, from any EU Member State including Ireland.
Arrangements after 31 Dec 2020 will depend whether the UK reaches a further agreement with the EU on this issue.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

Apply for your EHIC and find out more information.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.

Medical treatment

Visitors requiring immediate treatment for serious injuries/illness should call 999 or go to the nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency department (A&E). For minor illnesses and injuries there are a number of National Health Service (NHS) walk-in-centres, details on www.nhs.uk

NHS Direct provide a 24 hour telephone service for information on particular health conditions at telephone 0845 4647. The UK Department of Health provides full details on entitlements and costs for overseas visitors on their website www.dh.gov.uk

Vaccinations

Irish citizens don’t require vaccinations for travel to Great Britain.

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you require assistance in the case of emergency while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, 0207 235 2171, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox.

This mailbox will be monitored regularly.

Embassy of Ireland
17 Grosvenor Place,
London SW1X 7HR
Great Britain

Tel: +44 20 72352171
Fax: +44 20 7589 8450

Monday – Friday 9:30am to 12:30pm and 2:30pm to 4:30pm

Contact us

Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland, Cardiff
2 Caspian Point
Caspian Way
Cardiff CF10 4DQ
Wales

Tel: +44 29 2045 5558

Monday to Friday 09.30 – 13.00 and 14.30 – 17.00

Contact us

Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland
16 Randolph Crescent
Edinburgh EH3 7TT
Scotland

Tel: +44 131 226 7711
Fax: + 44 131 226 7704

Monday to Friday 09.30 – 13.00 and 14.30 – 17.00

Contact us

Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland for the North of England, Manchester
Lowry House
17 Marble Street
14th Fl.
Manchester M2 3AW
England

Tel: +44 161 638 9240

Monday to Friday 09.30-16.30

Contact us