Summary

There are a number of wildfires in several west coast states, including California and Oregon, with states of emergency being declared in some counties. Areas in and around Shasta, Lake, and Mendocino Counties in Northern California, and Orange County in Southern California have been particularly affected. Wildfires can spread swiftly, so if you’re in the area you should remain vigilant, monitor local media reports, and follow the instructions issued by local authorities, including obeying any evacuation orders. Further information can be found at CalFire and the Oregon Wildfires & Forest Fires websites.

If you’ve been affected by the wildfire and need consular assistance, you can call the British Consulate in San Francisco on +1 415 617 1300; if you’re in the UK and worried about a British national visiting the Yosemite region, you can call the FCO on 020 7008 1500. Forest and brush fires (wild fires) 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 reports and follow the advice of local law enforcement officials. 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.

There is a presence of toxic “red tide” algae blooms in south west Florida. Local authorities have declared a state of emergency. The counties of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas are affected. You should follow the instructions issued by local authorities.

There has been volcanic eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island and some local residents have been evacuated. 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.

The US Department of Homeland Security has announced that it is to begin implementing separate enhanced security screening procedures for all commercial flights to the US. If you need more information about how this may affect your particular flight, contact your airline or travel company.

You’ll need prior authorisation to enter the United States using a British passport, either through a visa, a Permanent Resident Card, or the Visa Waiver Programme. Restrictions apply depending on the type of passport you hold, your nationality, criminal history, and countries you may have recently visited. Visa and other entry conditions can change at short notice. It’s your responsibility to know and understand the rules of entry before you travel. See Entry Requirements

On 24 September 2017, the US announced new immigration measures for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as some Venezuelan government officials and their families. For the latest information check the websites of the US State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. If you’re travelling on a British passport with the correct travel documents, you aren’t affected by these measures.

However, you must apply for a visa to enter the US if you’ve travelled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on or after 1 March 2011 (with some exceptions) or are also a national of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria. See Entry Requirements

Around 3.8 million British nationals visit the United States every year. Most visits are trouble free. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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 remain vigilant at all times. See Terrorism

UK health authorities have classified the United States as having a risk of Zika virus transmission in Florida, Texas (Cameron County and Hidalgo County only), Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. See Health

You should be alert to the dangers of car and street crime. See Safety and Security

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November and can affect US coastal regions. See Natural disasters

Snow storms during winter can cause delays and cancellations throughout airports in the USA. See Natural disasters

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.