Foreign travel advice

USA

Summary

Large wildfires have broken out in the State of California. There are active fires in the counties of Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Yuba . Earlier fires in the Californian counties of Calaveras and Humboldt have now been contained by fire departments. Evacuation orders are in place in several areas and emergency shelters have been opened. Some infrastructure has been damaged, including phone communications and internet access. Wildfires can spread swiftly so you should remain cautious. Follow the instructions of the local authorities, including any evacuation. Further information, including on emergency shelters is available at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, while some areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were hit by Hurricane Nate in October 2017. If you’re in an affected area, you should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities. The post-storm environment in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands remains particularly fragile, with continuing power outages and unstable buildings.

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November and can affect US coastal regions. 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 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. US court orders on 17 and 18 October have now suspended these measures for Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. 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

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.