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Travel & living abroad

About our travel advice

Our travel advice is a service that aims to give British travellers the information they need to make their own informed decisions about travelling to a particular country.

Any decision to travel to, stay in or leave a country is for you to take on your own responsibility, on the basis of the best available information from our travel advice and from other sources.

We base our advice on information we get from:

  • our embassies, consulates and high commissions
  • the intelligence services
  • local knowledge

Our travel advice is based on objective assessments of the risks to British nationals - your safety is our main concern.

We don’t take lightly decisions to advise against all travel or all but essential travel:

In cases of non-terrorist threats such as coups, civil unrest or natural disasters we will advise against travel only when we consider the risks to British nationals to be unacceptably high.

In the case of terrorism we will only advise against travel if the threat is sufficiently specific, large-scale or endemic to affect British nationals severely. See Terrorism abroad for more information.

We know that our travel advice can have a knock-on effect on travel, trade and political considerations, but we do not let this influence the advice we give.

How often do we update our travel advice?

We review our travel advice monthly and update it following any incident that might affect Britons travelling or living in the area.

It is revised and re-issued at least every three months and can be updated several times a day in a developing crisis.

Travel companies and airlines use our advice

Travel companies and airlines often take our advice into account but the decision to cancel or reschedule a flight, holiday, tour or excursion is ultimately theirs alone.

The question of refunds is a matter that must be resolved between the customer and the relevant airline, tour operator or travel agent.

Travel insurance policies may refer to our travel advice

Travel insurance companies sometimes refer to our travel advice in their policies. For example, your policy may not provide cover if you travel to a country where we advise against all or all but essential travel.

Some travel insurance policies may offer cover if you cancel a journey because of a change in our travel advice. 

You should make sure your travel insurance policy includes the cover you require. See our Travel Insurance page.

What do we mean when we say there are ‘no travel restrictions’ in our travel advice for a particular country?

When we say this we mean that we are not advising against all, or all but essential travel to the whole, or to part(s) of the country. It does not mean that there are no risks associated with travel, but that the threshold at which we would advise against all or all but essential travel has not been reached. You should follow the security precautions set out in the travel advice.

What do we mean by ‘essential travel’?

Sometimes we say that only essential travel is advised. Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision – you may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to.

Where we advise against all but essential travel you should consider whether your need to travel is essential. We understand that circumstances differ from person to person - only you can make an informed decision based on the risks.

What do we mean by ‘consider leaving’?

We sometimes want to alert travellers to potential future difficulties, such as a deteriorating security situation or possible future disruption to exit options, at a time when the conditions have not yet been established where definitive advice to leave is merited.

At this stage you should consider how important your need to remain is, and then take a decision on whether or not to stay. Ultimately decisions to travel to, stay in or leave a country are for individuals to take on their own responsibility, on the basis of the best available information from FCO and other sources.

What do we mean when we say there has been a change in the ‘level’ of travel advice?

The level of travel advice for a specific country has changed when we have either applied or removed advice against all or all but essential travel to a part or the whole of the country. The paragraph in italics at the top of each country travel advice page explains the current level of travel advice for the country.

Our non-country specific travel advice

Our Travel checklist is full of useful advice for staying safe and out of trouble abroad.

We also have specific advice for different types of traveller including women, backpackers and Hajj pilgrims in our Your trip section.

Feeds to third parties

FCO Travel Advice is available through feeds to third parties for use on websites or Smartphone applications. Please be aware that these are not FCO products, and that these applications may use an edited and/or cached version of our Travel Advice. The most up-to-date and definitive version of FCO Travel Advice will always be available on the FCO website on these pages.