Foreign travel advice

USA

Summary

Several US states and territories, including Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, have been affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. If you’re in an affected area, it’s important that you continue to follow the advice of the local authorities and abide by any curfew warnings or evacuation orders still in place. The post-storm situation remains dangerous, with extreme flooding, power outages and limited communications. Large parts of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Florida remain without power. Access to fuel in affected areas may be difficult. You should also be aware that more accidents tend to occur post-storm than during it. The storm is not the only hazard; many electric lines will be down, tap water may not be drinkable and some buildings may not be structurally sound.

If you’re due to travel from an airport in an affected area, you should check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to the airport. Further information may also be available on the airport’s website or social media accounts, including for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

A number of Caribbean islands have also been affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. If you’re considering travelling to the Caribbean, you should check the travel advice for the relevant island(s) before you start your journey.

If you’re planning to travel to or within any affected areas, you should be aware that the post-storm situation may limit our ability to provide physical assistance. You should consider your travel plans very carefully and check local advice. Keep in touch with your airline or tour operator as appropriate. You should monitor the websites of FEMA, Florida Disaster, Georgia Emergency Management, South Carolina Emergency Management and North Carolina Emergency Management, as well as the websites of local authorities in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. See Natural Disasters

In March 2017, the US government implemented additional security measures relating to carriage of electronic items on flights departing to the US from a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region.

On 28 June 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that it would also begin implementing separate enhanced security screening procedures for all commercial flights to the US.

If you need more information about how either of these measures 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 26 June 2017, a US Supreme Court ruling partly reintroduced temporary immigration measures for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. For the latest information check the websites of the US State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. British passport holders 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 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) - for travel to Puerto Rico - for travel to US Virgin Islands.

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

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.