Saint Sofia Cathedral, Kiev
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Saint Sofia Cathedral, Kiev

© / Viachaslau Makouski

Ukraine Travel Guide

Key Facts

603,700 sq km (233,090 sq miles).


42,418,235 (2017).

Population density

73.6 per sq km.





Head of state

President Wolodymyr Selenskyj since 2019.

Head of government

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal since 2020.


220 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are used.

Vast and mysterious to many, Ukraine is barely known to outsiders despite being one of the largest countries in Europe. Long-associated with its colossal neighbour Russia, it’s a country that stands out in its own right for its varied landscapes and surprising cultural diversity.

To the majority of those visiting for the first time, the reputation of Ukraine’s hardy inhabitants can seem formidable. But while, much like in neighbouring Russia, cracking a smile at a stranger in the street is deemed a sure sign of madness, locals tend to be a thoroughly welcoming lot once you’ve broken the ice. Before long they’ll be showing you round the sights and inviting you to their home for a steaming borscht – the country’s iconic beetroot soup.

Ukraine’s natural side is also seen as tough – and it’s true that in winter snow covers most of the land as temperatures plummet. During the rest of the year, though, it’s surprisingly clement. What’s more, with its largely unspoilt, verdant interior, Ukraine is ideal for hikers and cyclists.

The Carpathian Mountains that spill over the border with Poland, Hungary and Romania dominate the west of the country while flat plains carpeted with sunflowers and cereals make up much of the central and eastern region. To the south are the almost Mediterranean-like Black Sea coast and the Crimean Peninsula, which remains a huge draw for holidaymakers every summer. And even when snow falls through the winter, the landscape is beautiful, while there are many old churches and Soviet-era buildings to dive into for shelter.

Ukraine's capital, Kiev, founded in the eighth century, displays a heady mix of architecture befitting of a city that was once capital of Kievan Rus, the precursor of the modern Russian state. A wealth of baroque and Renaissance architecture can also be found in Lviv, one of Europe's oldest cities, while Odessa is probably best known for the Potemkin Stairway that featured in Sergei Eisenstein’s epic film The Battleship Potemkin.

Recently, Ukraine has been in the news for the wrong reasons due to Russian separatism on the border. Despite this, most of the country is completely safe for visitors.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the western regions of:

  • Zakarpattia
  • Ivano-Frankivsk
  • Ternopil
  • Chernivtsi
  • Lviv
  • Volyn
  • Rivne
  • Zhytomyr

FCDO advises against all travel to

  • within 50km of the borders of Volyn, Rivne and Zhytomyr with Belarus, due to the ongoing presence of Russian and Belarusian military and security personnel on the Belarusian side of the border
  • the rest of Ukraine

Russian invasion of Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is ongoing, with missile and drone attacks across the country. Russian missile and drone strikes have caused significant damage to civilian infrastructure, including residential areas, energy and industrial facilities, injuring and killing civilians.  Ukraine’s airspace remains closed.

There is an ongoing risk of harm to British nationals from Russian attacks across all of Ukraine, including from missiles and drones that hit unintended targets or from falling debris. Whilst these are more frequent where FCDO advises against all travel, they could also happen in the western regions, where FCDO advice is against all but essential travel.

In the event of attacks, follow the advice of the local authorities, including responding to air raid sirens.

The situation in Ukraine can change quickly. Local rules and measures may change at short notice or with no notification. FCDO cannot confirm that all information here reflects the latest situation in Ukraine.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Explosions continue to be reported near the area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant indicating ongoing military activity. There have been no reports of any radiation release.

If you are in Ukraine

We continue to advise British nationals in regions where FCDO advises against all travel, to leave these areas, if they judge it safe to do so.

Martial law is in place. Follow the instructions of the Ukrainian authorities and check any measures in place in your location, as they will vary by region.

If you are in Ukraine, you should:

  • stay alert to air raid warnings and follow advice of the Ukrainian authorities
  • pay close attention to your personal security
  • monitor the media for information about security risks in your area
  • avoid demonstrations and public gatherings
  • take extra care while moving around
  • know what curfews are in place

There are a number of air raid alert apps available, including “Air Alert” and “Карта Тривог”.

Monitor travel advice regularly. Sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. See FCDO advice on how to deal with a crisis overseas.

Leaving Ukraine

Expect increased documentation checks, transport restrictions and increased security measures. Other measures could include additional border controls, restrictions on public events, curfews, restrictions on telephones, internet and broadcasting, and evacuations of certain areas.

If you are a dual British-Ukrainian national or you have the right to reside in the UK, and want to leave Ukraine, contact the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine on for advice.

Ukrainian national and dual-national males aged 18 to 60 are prohibited from leaving the country.

The authorities in the countries bordering Ukraine set and enforce their entry rules. Before you travel, check the foreign travel advice for any countries you plan to travel through. If you need consular assistance, contact the British Embassy in that country (contact details can be found in the relevant foreign travel advice page).

Assisted departure or evacuation

The British Embassy in Kyiv is unable to provide in-person consular assistance.

FCDO cannot facilitate your departure from Ukraine or evacuation. If you are in Ukraine against FCDO advice, or require support to leave Ukraine, take advice from a private security company and take appropriate security measures.

FCDO cannot endorse or recommend any private security companies. Research whether a service provider will be suitable for your requirements and meets code of conduct and safety standards. The Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) has several companies listed on their website. These companies have accredited certification for international standards.

FCDO has not completed due diligence checks on these companies. FCDO does not accept any liability arising to any person for any loss or damage suffered through using these service providers or this information. FCDO is not able to provide financial assistance for employing private security or medical evacuation companies.

Visas for the UK

If you are a family member of a British national normally living in Ukraine and intend to apply for a visa under the Ukrainian Family Scheme, read the guidance on visas for family members of British nationals normally living in Ukraine. Call +44 (0)808 164 8810 (select option 1) for assistance before applying.

Under this scheme, which is free, those joining family in the UK can stay in the UK for up to 3 years. They will be able to study, work and access public funds.

Foreign fighters

If you travel to Ukraine to fight, or to assist others engaged in the war, your activities may amount to offences under UK legislation.  You could be prosecuted on your return to the UK.

British nationals fighting in Ukraine have been killed or captured. British nationals undertaking humanitarian work have also been detained by Russian authorities. The risk to life, or of mistreatment, is high.

Our ability to provide consular support in these circumstances is very limited.

Supporting Ukraine

There are many ways to support Ukraine from the UK. For further information, see Ukraine: what you can do to help.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK.

The authorities in Ukraine set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK. The Ukrainian State Border Guard Service has the final decision on whether a person is eligible to enter Ukraine.

Permanent residents

If you are a permanent resident of Ukraine, you do not need to show proof of insurance.

Passport validity requirements

If you’re travelling without a visa, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. If you’re applying for a visa, your passport may need to have an additional period of validity. Check with the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK for further details.

Additional requirements at the border

At the border you will need to:

  • complete an immigration card
  • scan your fingerprints as part of biometric data collection at border crossing points if requested by the immigration officer
  • have evidence of sufficient funds. You can show:
    • cash
    • bank cards with bank statements
    • accommodation bookings
    • tourist vouchers
    • a letter of financial support from your sponsor
    • return or onward travel tickets

You can find more information on:
- Ukrainian Embassy in the UK
- State Border Guard Service of Ukraine

Visa requirements

British Citizen passport holders can enter Ukraine without a visa for visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Ukraine has confirmed that this policy will continue to apply to British citizens until 30 January 2025.

If you’re planning to stay in Ukraine for longer than 90 days in a 180 day period, you need to get a visa. For more advice contact the Ukrainian Embassy in London or Consulate General in Edinburgh.

Expired residence cards

If you have a temporary or permanent residence card that’s expired, you are still allowed to return to Ukraine. The expired document will remain valid while martial law remains in place and for 30 days afterwards. For more information see the Visit Ukraine website or contact the State Migration Service of Ukraine.

Visa overstays

If you need to extend your stay in Ukraine, check with the State Migration Service. If you overstay the 90 day allowance, you will be fined and may not be able to return to Ukraine for 90 days after leaving the country.

Non-government controlled areas

If you intend to go to any of the areas not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, you must apply to the State Migration Service.

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Ukraine guide.


The ongoing invasion has severely affected the availability of accommodation. You should book and confirm accommodation in advance. Find further information at Visit Ukraine.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of Ukraine (in Ukrainian), including antiques and items of historical interest. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. If in doubt seek prior permission from the customs authorities.

Bringing your car to Ukraine

Non-residents are allowed to bring a vehicle for personal use into Ukraine for up to one year. There’s no need to complete a customs declaration form. The vehicle can only be used in Ukraine by the person that brought it into the country. The vehicle cannot be used for commercial purposes, dismantled, sold or rented to other people. If you want to do any of these things, you’ll need to register the vehicle in Ukraine and pay the appropriate customs tax.

You must take the vehicle out of Ukraine within the required timeframe, or place it into the customs regime of the State.

If your vehicle breaks down and cannot be fixed, you should inform the State Customs Service and provide them with evidence that it cannot be repaired. You may then dispose of the vehicle through the official channels of the State Customs Service.

If you bring a private vehicle into Ukraine with the intention of travelling through the country, you may be asked to complete a customs declaration form and pay a deposit.

For further information on bringing your car to Ukraine, contact the State Customs Service of Ukraine.

Crossing international borders

It is illegal to enter internationally recognised Ukrainian territory through a border point that is not currently controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. If you do, you risk arrest or a fine, and a travel ban.

International border crossings that are not currently under the control of the Ukrainian authorities include:

  • all land border crossings into Donetsk oblast
  • many of the land border crossings into Luhansk oblast
  • all air and sea ports in Crimea and the Kerch Bridge road and rail crossing into Crimea

Information on border crossing procedure, entry and exit regulations, and checkpoints are provided at the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine website.

Leaving Ukraine at international borders

Travelling from Ukraine to Poland

If you plan to travel to Poland, check the travel advice page for Poland which includes information on entry requirements.

The Ukrainian government website lists the main border crossings into Poland.

Travelling from Ukraine to Hungary

If you plan to travel to Hungary, check our travel advice page for Hungary which includes information on entry requirements.

The Hungarian police website gives more information on crossing the Ukraine-Hungary border.

Travelling from Ukraine to Slovakia

If you plan to travel to Slovakia, check our travel advice for Slovakia which includes information on entry requirements.

For information about cross-border rail connections, see the Slovak national rail website. For information on crossing the border see Slovak government advice.

Travelling from Ukraine to Romania

If you plan to travel to Romania, check our travel advice for Romania which includes information on entry requirements.

Travelling from Ukraine to Moldova

If you plan to travel to Moldova, check our travel advice for Moldova which includes information on entry requirements.

FCDO advises against all travel to Transnistria.

Border with Belarus

Ukraine’s border with Belarus is currently closed.

FCDO advises against all travel to Belarus. See FCDO Travel Advice for Belarus.

Border with Russia

Ukraine’s border with Russia is currently closed.

FCDO advises against all travel to Russia. See FCDO Travel Advice for Russia.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and regional risks advice.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Ukraine

Terrorist attacks in Ukraine cannot be ruled out.

Political situation

A state of emergency, put in place by the Government of Ukraine in February 2022, remains in effect.

Kakhovka Dam

Flooding in the Kherson region following the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in June 2023 caused widespread damage to infrastructure. There are serious risks to life and health from contaminated water, unexploded ordnance and debris.


Before the invasion, serious crime against foreigners was relatively rare, but incidents did occur, with some cases being racially motivated.

If you are a victim of crime, report it to the police by calling 102. FCDO has a list of local translators in Ukraine. We cannot confirm whether these translators are still offering services during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Protecting your belongings

Be alert to the possibility of street crime and petty theft. Foreigners may appear to be lucrative targets.

Theft of and from vehicles is common. Do not leave documents or money in your vehicle.

Drink and food spiking

Do not leave drinks or food unattended as they could be spiked. Beware of accepting drinks from casual acquaintances.


Cloning of credit and debit cards is common. Be aware of who is around you when using ATMs and do not let your card out of your sight during transactions.

Cyber attacks

In December 2023, there was a high-impact cyber attack on Ukrainian networks. Ukraine’s largest mobile network operator, Kyivstar, suffered a cyber attack which left users without a mobile signal or the ability to use the internet. It also disrupted air raid apps, some banks, ATMs, and point-of-sale terminals. The Ukrainian bank Monobank was also targeted, disrupting access to the bank’s website.

Laws and cultural differences

Ukrainian officials generally only speak Ukrainian and Russian.

Personal ID

Carry your passport at all times to use as identification and to demonstrate your legal status in Ukraine if asked by the police. Police should identify themselves and show identification. If you’re detained because you have not been able to present your passport, ask for an official report.

Access to money

ATMs are available and credit cards are widely used in cities. However, as a result of the current invasion of Ukraine by Russia, ATMs might not be refilled with cash and some bank cards might not be accepted. During powercuts, ATMs and card terminals may not work.

Make sure you have sufficient cash in local currency. US dollars and euros are the easiest currencies to exchange in Ukraine. You may be able to exchange sterling, but in fewer places. Scottish and Northern Irish notes are not accepted. Only use official exchange booths and make sure you’re given a receipt. You’ll need to present your passport to exchange currency worth 150,000 Ukrainian hryvnia or more. You’ll need the receipt to exchange money back on departure.

There is a risk that cyber attacks could disrupt mobile, internet and banking services.

Alcohol and smoking

It is illegal to smoke or drink alcohol in public places, including on public transport, at bus stops, underground crossings, cultural, sports and governmental establishments, playgrounds and parks.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Penalties for being caught in possession of drugs are severe.

Using cameras in secure areas

Do not take photographs near government or military establishments.

LGBT+ travellers

Although same-sex relationships are not illegal, public attitudes are less tolerant than in the UK and showing affection in public may receive negative attention. There’s no provision under Ukrainian legislation guaranteeing freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.


Due to the security challenges across all of Ukraine, we currently advise against commissioning new surrogacy arrangements.

Commissioning a surrogacy will not automatically mean that the child holds British citizenship. If you want to bring your child born through surrogacy from Ukraine to the UK, you must apply for a full British passport.

The FCDO cannot facilitate your departure from Ukraine.

If you are considering changing your surrogacy arrangements, or making a new arrangement with a Ukrainian woman in another country, you should read about surrogacy arrangements in foreign countries.

A surrogacy arrangement in a country near Ukraine must comply with the law of that country, not Ukrainian law. In some other countries, surrogacy arrangements may, in certain circumstances, be illegal.

We strongly advise you to seek specialist independent UK and in-country legal advice. We cannot confirm which Ukrainian lawyers are offering services.

Transport information and risks

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, expect disruption to travel and transport networks. Only travel if you judge it is safe to do so. We cannot confirm which services below are operating. Where possible, check before travelling.


Unregulated taxi drivers can overcharge. Use official taxis, which have the name and telephone number of the taxi company on the side of the door and on the top of the taxi.

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Ukraine, see information on driving abroad and read the RAC guide.

Driving standards

Roads are of variable quality and routes may be affected by the ongoing invasion. Avoid night-time travel wherever possible.

Local driving standards are poor. Street lights are weak and speed limits, traffic lights and road signs are often ignored. Drivers frequently do not indicate before manoeuvring. There are a high number of traffic accidents, including fatalities. Speeding, drink driving and infrequent use of helmets, seat belts and child restraints in vehicles are the main contributing factors.

If you have a road accident, you must wait for the police to assess the accident. Call the police on 102. Local officials generally only speak Ukrainian and Russian.

Driving regulations

You must wear a seat belt.

It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.

It is illegal to drive with any alcohol content in your blood.

Police can stop vehicles and give fines for minor offences such as illegal parking or jumping a red light. They may carry a credit card terminal to collect payment on the spot, or fines can be paid online or at a bank within 15 days. See payment options (in Ukrainian). The police officer should give their name and rank, explain why you have been stopped and make an administrative offence report. The police may film interactions with members of the public.

Licences and permits

You must have a 1968 international driving permit (IDP) as well as your UK driving licence to drive in Ukraine. The 1949 IDP is not accepted anymore. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

You need to carry a green card to drive in Ukraine. A green card is proof that you have vehicle insurance when driving abroad.

You must carry original vehicle registration papers, ownership documents and insurance papers at all times. You must show them when crossing borders and if you are stopped by the police. This also applies to rental vehicles. If you do not have these papers when stopped by the police they have the right to impound your vehicle and charge you for this.

Car hire

If you intend to rent a vehicle for your travel in Ukraine, check with the car hire company and insurance company about their policy on renting cars in Ukraine and any other country you will pass through, especially non-EU countries. Ensure they provide you with a rental agreement permitting you to cross the Ukrainian border.

Leaving Ukraine by car

You can leave Ukraine by car through most border crossing points, but Ukraine’s border crossings with Russia and Belarus are closed to regular traffic.

There could be long queues at the border crossing points with EU member states and Moldova. Have a good supply of food, water, warm clothing, medication and fuel.

Check waiting times at border crossings from:

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) will check the following documents:

  • registration documents for the car
  • International Insurance Certificate for the vehicle (Green Card), which you can buy from Ukrainian or International Insurance companies.

Read more information from the Ukrainian Government on border crossing or call the SBGSU hotline on 1598 from a Ukrainian mobile.

If you leave the country in a vehicle registered in the UK, which you temporarily imported to Ukraine, you will have to provide your import customs declaration when leaving. Depending on your circumstances, the Customs Service of Ukraine may require additional documents. Check information (in Ukrainian) or call Customs Service of Ukraine hotline on+380 (0)44 247 27 06.

If you are non-resident in Ukraine, you are allowed to bring a vehicle into Ukraine for personal use for a maximum of 1 year (see our advice in the entry requirements section) before registering it. If your car does not meet this requirement you will not be able to exit Ukraine.

For further information on leaving Ukraine by car, contact the State Customs Service of Ukraine.

Rail travel

If you travel by train, make sure your belongings are secure. Do not agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveller or allow it to be stored in your compartment.

Air travel

Ukraine’s air space is closed.

This section has safety advice for regions of Ukraine. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

Western regions

The FCDO advises against all travel to within 50km of the borders with Belarus of:

  • Volyn
  • Rivne
  • Zhytomyr

This is due to the ongoing presence of Russian and Belarusian military and security personnel on the Belarusian side of the border.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • Zakarpattia
  • Ivano-Frankivsk
  • Ternopil
  • Chernivtsi
  • Lviv
  • Volyn
  • Rivne
  • Zhytomyr

In the event of attacks, follow the advice of the local authorities, including responding to air raid sirens.

FCDO advises against all travel to the rest of Ukraine.

Crimea and eastern Ukraine

FCDO advises against all travel to Ukrainian territories which are temporarily under Russian control. FCDO is not able to provide consular services to anyone in these regions.

To enter or exit Crimea

In theory foreign nationals need to provide their passport and a special permit issued by the territorial body of the State Migration Service of Ukraine. However, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, it is not currently possible for foreign nationals to enter or exit Crimea.

The Crimean sea ports of Kerch, Sevastopol, Feodosia, Yalta and Yevpatoria have been designated by the Ukrainian authorities as closed to international shipping.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 103 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.


Due to the ongoing invasion, it can be a challenge to access pharmacies and medication. Some supply chains are interrupted, and some medical products are hard to come by. Information on which pharmacies are operational is provided by local authorities and pharmacy networks.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Health operates a hotline at +380 (0)800 60 20 19 to coordinate access to insulin and other critical medicines for those who need it. The service is continuing to operate and tries to maintain hourly updates about availability of medicines nationwide.

Pharmacies may close without notice. Maintain a stock of essential medication. Pharmacies in smaller towns may not have the same variety of medications available in the bigger cities. Pharmacies are usually easily identifiable by the presence of a green cross or the word ‘apteka’ (аптека). Some stronger medications require a prescription from a doctor, written in Ukrainian.

Healthcare facilities in Ukraine

FCDO has a list of healthcare providers in Ukraine. Due to the ongoing invasion, we cannot confirm that all these providers are operating.

State medical facilities in Ukraine are generally poor. Private clinics and hospitals offer a better standard of care, though these do not always meet western standards and practices. If you require emergency medical treatment, it is likely that you will be taken to a state hospital unless you can show that you have comprehensive medical insurance cover.

English is not widely spoken and you may face communication difficulties if you do not speak Ukrainian.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Ukraine

Ambulance: 103

Fire: 101

Police: 102

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Ukraine and you need emergency help from the UK government, call our 24-hour helpline and select the option for ‘consular services for British nationals’:

  • For a domestic call from Ukraine, call +380 (0)44 490 3660
  • For an international call to the UK call +44 (0)20 7008 5000

The British Embassy in Kyiv is unable to provide in-person consular assistance.

Full consular services are available at British embassies in neighbouring countries.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.