Summary

There are large wildfires in Butte County in North California and near Malibu, Los Angeles County in South California. Evacuation orders are in effect. There are other smaller wildfires currently active throughout California. 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 evacuation orders. Information on active wildfires is available on the National Wildfire Coordinating Group website.

High winds can cause fires to spread very rapidly. Areas of high risk are canyons, hills and forests. Exercise caution in areas which have been recently affected by wildfires 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.

Hurricanes in September and October have caused widespread damage to infrastructure and disruption to transport networks in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Georgia. You should be aware that, historically, more accidents occur following a hurricane than during it. The storm and flooding are not the only hazards; many electricity lines will be down and some buildings may not be structurally sound. During the recovery period, you should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities.

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November and can affect US coastal regions. If you’re planning travel during this period, you should stay in close contact with your airline/tour operator and accommodation provider for the latest updates on services. We are in the height of hurricane season. Hurricane preparedness and having a plan is key. See Natural disasters

There is currently a presence of toxic “red tide” algae blooms on the south west gulf coast and the east coast of Florida. Local authorities have declared a state of emergency. The counties of Brevard, Indian River, St Lucia, Martin, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas are all affected. You should follow the instructions issued by local authorities.

There is continuious volcanic activity on Hawaii’s Big Island. 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 if you’re 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.