The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), commonly known as the Foreign Office, is a government department that advises on things such as foreign travel.
FCDO travel advice exists to help people living in Great Britain to make decisions about travelling abroad. They share the latest, most reliable information on safety and security, entry requirements and, more recently, COVID-19 travel warnings.
How does FCDO travel advice affect your holiday booking?
Travel companies, including airlines, often make decisions based upon FCDO travel advice. So, if the FCDO advise against ‘all but essential travel’ or ‘all travel’ to your destination, it’s likely that your holiday will be rearranged or refunded.
What does ‘essential travel’ mean?
Essential travel doesn’t include holidays, no matter how essential we think they may be.
While there is no clear definition for ‘essential travel’, the government’s Declaration form for international travel gives a list of the legally permitted reasons for travel. These include:
- Essential travel for business
- Medical or compassionate grounds
- Weddings, funerals and related events
For more details, including what evidence is required to support your trip, visit the government’s website.
Is travel insurance valid if you travel against FCDO travel advice?
Some travel insurance providers will not cover you if you travel to a destination the FCDO has deemed unsafe. Many travel insurers refer to FCDO travel advice within their policy wordings, so it’s important to check the limits of your policy before you travel.
But, if you feel it is safe for you to travel, our European FCDO Travel Advice Extension add-on can cover your trip to Europe even if the FCDO advises against ‘all but essential travel’.
Cover includes £1,000 towards extra accommodation or travel expenses if the FCDO advise travellers to return home, and cover for COVID-19. But you will not be covered for any other reason that caused the FCDO to change their travel advice.
Important: Government enforced travel bans are different to FCDO travel advice. Government bans should not be ignored and travel insurance will not cover you for any travel during a travel ban.
What is the latest FCDO advice?
Travel advice can change quickly and varies from country to country, so it’s important to check the FCDO country travel advice pages before you plan to travel abroad.
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