Once the capital of the British Empire, the United Kingdom is still a fantastic place to visit. Interested in history? U.K. is home to some of the best museums in the world including The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Gallery and Churchill’s War Rooms. Prefer to experience Britain's culinary traditions? Stop into almost any hotel or cafe in the afternoon and sit down for tea, scones and sandwiches to experience a British tradition—teatime!

Is travel insurance mandatory for the United Kingdom?

Wondering about United Kingdom travel insurance requirements? Travel insurance for the U.K. isn't mandatory in order to enter the country, but it's highly recommended. You should consider purchasing adequate medical coverage for the U.K. to cover any and all medical expenses that could arise during your trip.

With a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to find the best travel insurance for the U.K. To find the plan that's best for you, first assess the condition of your health then take a look at your travel plans. From there, you can compare plans side by side with our compare tool. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, senior travelers and those looking for more complete coverage, a comprehensive plan is the best option. If you are looking for basic coverage at an affordable price, a limited plan may be the way to go.

COVID-19 in the United Kingdom

As of September 16, the U.K. has been classified at Level 4, meaning a very high level of COVID-19. It's suggested that travelers avoid all non-essential to the U.K. at this time.

All travelers entering the U.K., including British citizens, must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

If you're planning on visiting the country, consider Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance so that you may recoup some of your costs if you need to cancel, postpone or cut short your original travel plans for any reason, including COVID-19-related concerns.

When traveling, here are some precautions to take:

Before you travel:

  • Get tested with a viral test 1 to 3 days before your trip
  • If you were exposed to COVID-19, are sick, or test positive for the disease, do not travel
  • Follow all entry requirements for the U.K. and be sure you have all required documentation

During travel:
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing protocols
  • Wash your hands often
  • Be vigilant. If you experience any symptoms take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around her

After you travel:
  • Get tested 3 to 5 days after you return to your home country
  • Stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days
  • If you don't get tested, it's best to self-quarantine for at least 10 days

Traveling from the United States:
  • If you have a return flight to the U.S., you must get a viral test in the U.K. no more than 3 days before your flight, and the test results have to be negative
  • Keep your test results on hand in case you're asked for them
  • Follow all United States guidelines and airline protocols

Health & Safety Tips

The U.K. is fairly safe overall, but it's always a good idea to be cautious, especially in large cities.

Pickpocketing is the most common crime. If you are taking public transportation, be sure to keep your purse, backpack or bag closed and in your hands at all times. If you are wearing a backpack, take it off and hold it in front of you to avoid bumping other passengers and not being aware if someone attempts to open your bag. Phones, wallets and cameras are particularly at risk of being stolen.

Necessary Vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for the United Kingdom: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

Visas and Documentation

If you are traveling to the United Kingdom for a stay of six months of fewer, you may not need a visa. You will not need a visa if you hold a passport from Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Canada or a European Union country. If you do need a visa for the U.K. you will need it to enter any of the countries that comprise the United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Also, please note that there are not border checkpoints between the countries of Ireland and Northern Ireland. If you are flying directly onto that island, please note that you may have to get a separate visa and go through customs again when traveling to the rest of the United Kingdom or the European Union.

You can use the United Kingdom's visa checking tool to see if you need a visa and, if so, which visa you will need.

With the United Kingdom potentially exiting the European Union, visa requirements and conditions may change in the future. Be sure to double-check with your local government's recommendations before purchasing a visa online.