GOING ABROAD? Know before you go

Whether it’s to the Olympics in Brazil, the UEFA European championships in France, gap year travel, visiting relatives, an annual holiday or you’re considering going to live abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offer advice before you go and can offer support to British Nationals if they get into difficulties when they are abroad.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo

provides general advice for everyone, which includes:

  • Foreign travel checklist
  • advice specific to the country you are travelling to, such as laws,customs and entry requirements
  • Making sure you have appropriate travel insurance (and your free European health Insurance card if travelling in Europe).
  • Checking health requirements including vaccinations
  • A video on how to keep your password safe
  • A checklist and video on driving abroad

There’s also advice which is tailored for specific groups of travellers, such as:

  • those with disabilities
  • those with mental health problems
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travellers
  • those on adventure holidays or volunteering
  • those on winter sports holidays
  • those travelling by sea or river
  • those travelling during Ramadan
  • those visiting friends and family abroad
  • those travelling to the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil (‘Stay ahead of the games’), and
  • those travelling to Euro 2016 European Championships in France (‘Be on the Ball’)


There is also a guide and checklist about living in your chosen country, and a guide and video on buying property abroad.

If you get into difficulty abroad the FCO will do what they can to help, but there are things they can’t do, so learn about support for British Nationals abroad.

What the FCO can do to help

  • Issue you with an emergency travel document
  • Provide information about transferring money
  • Provide help if you have suffered rape or serious sexual or physical assault, are a victim of crime, are ill or in hospital
  • Give you a list of local lawyers, interpreters, doctors or funeral directors
  • Contact you if you are detained abroad
  • Contact friends or family back home for you if you wish
  • Provide help in cases of forced marriage
  • Assist people affected by parental child abduction

The FCO cannot:

  • Help you enter a country if you do not have a valid passport or necessary visas
  • Give you legal advice or translate documents
  • Investigate crimes or get you out of prison
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people, but they will raise concerns if treatment falls below internationally recognised standards
  • Pay any bills or give you money
  • Make travel arrangements for you

Before you go, check the advice and find out the contact details for the embassy/consulate/high commission in the countries you will be visiting by entering British Embassy (and the country you are visiting) into your search engine. If you are in the UK and you are concerned about a British National who is abroad, you should ring the Foreign Office in London on 020 7008 1500


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