UK Travel, UK Money and UK Visas – Health Insurance World

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When going to the UK to travel or work, or abroad in general, it is important to familiarise yourself with the basics of how the country functions, especially when it pertains to money and travel plans.

UK Money

Credit Cards in the UK
Any credit card that bears the Visa, MasterCard or American Express 'badge' will be widely accepted in Britain. Visitors with other cards should ask in advance or see if that badge is on display where they wish to use it. Please note that retailers now have the option to charge more for goods and services bought by credit card; they are obliged to display a clear indication that differentiated pricing applies. You should note that when purchasing UK international medical insurance it is highly likely that a 5% surcharge will be added to the cost.

For impartial advice on taking out a comprehensive UK international medical insurance plan, please contact our global medical consultants.

UK Money
UK money is based on the decimal system; there are one hundred pence to each pound sterling (£). Notes are issued to the value of £50, £20, £10 and £5. Scottish £1 notes are still in circulation in Scotland. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have some different coins and notes from the mainland but the monetary system is the same. Coins are issued to the value of £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1p.

Bank opening hours in the UK
Generally, weekday opening hours are 0930 to 1630. Opening hours are decided by the individual banks and may differ considerably from branch to branch depending on the location. Many branches have 24-hour banking lobbies where a range of services can be obtained through machines. Visitors from overseas should check with their own bank whether they will be able to gain access to these facilities. 

(As a general rule, any cash machine that displays the Visa badge can be used by Plus cardholders and those displaying the MasterCard badge can be used by Cirrus cardholders.)

Some banks are open all day on Saturday and a few are now open on Sundays for limited hours. All banks are closed on public holidays. Some banks in Scotland close for an hour at lunchtime. If you need British currency when the banks are closed, you can obtain it at larger high-street travel agents, in the exchange offices in large department stores, at counter desks in larger hotels or at one of the many independent Bureaux de Change. Regulations require all Bureaux de Change to clearly display all exchange rates and full details of any fees and rates of commission.

What travel documents do I need?

UK Visas

What travel documents do I need?
On arrival in the United Kingdom, a person must show a valid national passport or other document satisfactorily establishing his/her identity and nationality. BN(O)/HKSAR passport holders who wish to spend less than six months in the UK as tourists or business visitors may do so without a visa. However, on their arrival, they will have to produce a valid BN(O)/HKSAR passport, hold onward or round trip tickets, evidence that they can support themselves throughout their stay and satisfy the Immigration Officer of their intent to stay for the stated period.

The UK public health service is of a high standard but foreigners traveling to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales should be aware that only emergency treatment is free of charge. You should take out a comprehensive health insurance world plan if you plan to visit the UK. Most health insurance world plans can often offer both inpatient and outpatient cover, but if you would like advice on what cover to include in your health insurance world policy please contact our consultants.