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Name: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Capital: London

Dialing Code: +44

 

  • Health

There are no compulsory vaccination requirements to enter the UK. However, it is advisable to have the tetanus vaccination up to date and to visit your local GP before travelling to find out any special health requirements that you may have.

  • Climate

The climate in the UK depends on the season, with warm summers (temperature ranging between 12 and 25 Degrees) and cool winters (with temperatures ranging between -4 and 9 Degrees), with plenty of precipitation during the year. Although it has a northern location, snow is not particularly usual in the country. Milder weather conditions can be expected on the south-eastern cities such as London, but it is important to bear in mind that weather conditions might change abruptly from one day to the other, regardless the season.

  • Electricity

220 Volts with a three pin connection.

  • Tipping

Some bills may include a service charge up to 15% of the total bill. If it is not included, you may leave 10% to 15% of gratuity in restaurants, cabs, barbers and other personal services.

  • Currency

1.00 British Pound = 3,548.44 Colombian Pesos

  • Credit Cards

Debit/Credit cards are generally accepted throughout the country. Travel cheques can be cashed at independent agencies, major banks and larger hotels.

  • Language

English is the official national language.

  • Customs

Punctuality is appreciated in all cities. For business meetings in Bogotá formal attire is recommended (suit and tie).  Business cards should be exchanged after introduction.

  • Re-confirmation of flights

Generally you will not need to re-confirm your return flight before departure. Nevertheless it is recommended to check with your airline if there are any confirmation requirements before leaving. When you are travelling to a large city as London, make sure you have all the information regarding the airport of arrival (or the terminal, if the flight is for Heathrow Airport), the main transport services available from that airport and the time that it would actually take you to arrive to your final destination in the city, so you can arrange previously the necessary details.

  • Time difference

The United Kingdom is on the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 0.00), however, from the third week of March until the third week of October, the Daylight Saving / Summer Time applies, adding one hour to the standard time (GMT + 1.00).

  • Telephone Codes

The dialling code for the United Kingdom is +44. These are the codes of some important cities:


020   London
0121 Birmingham
0131 Edinburgh
0141 Glasgow
0151 Liverpool
0161 Manchester

Therefore, dialling to a phone in London from Colombia would be:

007 or 005 or 009 – 44 – 020 XXXX XXXX

Where XXXX stands for the eight digits of your particular destination.

For mobiles, the codes are 075, 076 (pagers), 077, 078 and 079. You should dial directly after the National Dialling code, as follows:

007 or 005 or 009 – 44 – 079 XXXX XXXX

Where XXXX stands for the eight digits of your particular destination.

  • Commercial hours

Standard commercial hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:00-9:30 to 18:00 and 11:00 to 17:00 on Sundays. In urban areas there might be stores opened until 20:00 or even opened 24 hours a day (for certain small supermarkets and fast food services). On smaller cities and sub-urban areas, very few stores are opened on Sundays. Pubs and restaurants are usually opened until 23:00

  • Banking hours

Standard banking hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00-9:30 until 15:30 or 16:00 (some remain open until 17:30). Many bank branches stay open late once per week (until 17:30 or 18:00) as well as being open on Saturdays (9:00-9:30 until 12:30 or 15:30). Banks in England and Wales remain open over lunch, but many of their counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland close for one-hour at lunch.

  • Transportation


a. London
London has by far the most far-reaching public transport system. The ‘Tube’ (metro/underground railway system) can be used to get to most parts of the city. There are a range of travelcard options available, which can save money if you are travelling daily. The city’s bus network is even more extensive, and (unlike the tube) some routes have service throughout the night.

London’s infamous black ‘cabs’ (taxis) can be found in every part of the city and for the right price will take you pretty much anywhere you want.

Further information on London’s transport system, including a map of the tube and bus routes, can be found by clicking here www.tfl.gov.uk.

b. National

Getting from one place to another in Britain can take many hours. The national public transport system consists principally of trains, buses and planes.

The national rail network is fairly comprehensive (although routes become fairly sparse in more rural areas). You can choose to travel either first class or standard class, and there are many discounts available for certain groups (e.g. children, students and old-age-pensioners (OAPs)). To find out about nation-wide routes and fares click here: www.nationalrail.co.uk.

National bus routes are less popular for long-distance travel and mainly only travel between major cities and towns. The major bus companies include National Express (www.nationalexpress.co.uk) and Citylink (www.citylink.co.uk).

The UK now has the following commercial airports: Aberdeen, Belfast City, Belfast International, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Cambridge City, Cork International, Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Kent International Airport, Glasgow, Humberside, Inverness, Isle of Man, Kirkwell, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Sheffield City, Southampton. Information, including live flight arrival information, for the major airports can be found here: www.baa.com

  • Visa Information


The UK has very tough immigration laws, which are enforced. Before traveling, make sure you have all the required visas and documentation or you will be refused entry. It is important to bear in mind that the UK it is part of the European Union, but is not part of the Schengen Agreement, so a valid Schengen visa will not permit your entry to the country.

Visas are issued for a maximum stay of six months. If you require a visa and wish to remain in the UK longer than six months, you must leave the country and apply for a new visa. If you wish to leave and return to the UK within the duration of your visa, it will save you a lot of trouble if you apply for a multiple-entry visa. If you only have a single-entry visa you will have to apply for a new visa each time you leave the country.

Although straightforward visa applications can be processed within 24 hours, this is not always the case. It is recommended that you allow ample time for you application to be processed, if you are concerned about arriving in the UK for a specific date.

If you are denied a visa you will be notified in writing of the refusal and the reasons for it. In certain cases you will have the right to appeal the decision and as such will be given advice on how to do so. Instead of appealing you can simply apply again, but if the reasons for the initial refusal still apply, your application will probably be turned down again.


Please do refer to the requirements and necessary documents as posted by the British Embassy in your country. In Colombia you should apply at http://ukincolombia.fco.gov.uk/en/visas/, for the British Embassy in Bogota.


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