Ensure you ‘know before you go’ is the advice of the Foreign Office. With over 900,000 British citizens visiting Africa or the Caribbean each year – many of these visiting friends and family – thousands of Black British nationals could be putting their safety at risk because they are not preparing for their trips, according to new research by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
The results of the study show that whilst African and Caribbean British nationals take precautions when they are travelling to holiday destinations such as Europe and the USA, it is often not the case when it comes to visiting friends and family in their country of origin. Many travel without insurance, without having had the right vaccinations or even without ensuring they have the correct re-entry documents.
Lord Triesman, Foreign Office Minister responsible for Consular Affairs, said: “It is important to realise that when travelling abroad, situations can arise that cannot be dealt with as easily as if you were at home. British nationals of Asian origin, visiting their country of origin, should ensure they are fully prepared.”
Check out the Foreign Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel for further information.
As part of the Know Before You Go Campaign, the Foreign Office is today issuing the following advice to British citizens visiting friends and family in Africa or the Caribbean:
1. Always take out travel insurance
·· Even if you feel at home in your destination accidents can still happen and medical expenses can be extortionate. For example it can cost up to £35,000 to get transported by air ambulance back to the UK from the Caribbean
It is unlikely you will have free access to good quality medical treatment, and costs can be extremely high if you become ill or injured
·· If you are a dual national, seek advice from your insurer on whether this affects your cover
2. Ensure all documentation is correct
·· Make sure the name on your passport is the same one you give when booking flights and arranging other travel documentation
·· If you have dual nationality, make sure you have a Certificate of Entitlement (to the Right of Abode) in the passport of your other nationality for you and your family
·· Make a photocopy of the relevant pages in your passports (back page of your British passport containing your photograph and details and the Certificate of Entitlement in your other passport) and keep them separately to your passports
3. Know the personal import laws
·· It is illegal to bring meat products & pickles, milk, dairy or other animal products (e.g. fish, eggs, honey), chestnuts, potatoes or potato seeds into the UK from any country outside the EU
The importing of any meat from wild animals (‘bushmeat’) is treated extremely seriously with possible penalties including fines or imprisonment
·· Check www.defra.gov.uk for more information
4. Go to your GP to check whether you or your family need vaccinations
·· Even if you have lived in a country in the past, you may no longer be immune to diseases local to that region
Ensure all required vaccinations are up-to-date - in some African states such as Zanzibar and Tanzania, entry is not permitted without a Yellow Fever certificate
·· Check the Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk for advice on current inoculations required for the country you are planning to visit
5. Know your nationality status
If you are a dual national in the country of your other nationality, Her Majesty's Government can provide you with consular assistance only in exceptional circumstances
6. Update yourself on the area you’re travelling to
·· The laws, customs, political situation or safe and unsafe areas of a region can change very quickly – even a natural occurrence like a hurricane could seriously affect your trip. Check the Foreign Office website on www.fco.gov.uk/travel and click on ‘Travel Advice By Country’
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