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Useful Information

 

Passports/Visas

There are a few simple rules for travelling to Scotland which will depend on where you are visiting from. Information is available on regulations concerning the length of your stay, how much money you can bring and what products you can take in and out of the country.

Visitors to Scotland and the UK must hold a valid passport before starting their journey and children may require their own passports.

All visitors who wish to enter the UK must meet the requirements of the UK immigration regulations.
EU citizens can stay in Scotland for as long as required

Visitors from other European countries, outwith the EU, can stay for up to three months.

Visitors from the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, can stay for up to six months, providing they have a return ticket and funds to cover the trip.

Visitors from any other country in the world will require a visa. 

Application forms and information on how to apply for a visa, as well as guidance for visitors coming to the UK, is available on the UK Border Agency website.

 

Customs and duty free


Before you travel to Scotland, it’s a good idea to make sure you are aware of the rules and restrictions on what you can bring into the country, and if tax applies.

Rules vary depending on where you travel from - information is available for travelling within the European Union and from outside the European Union, and there is a list of banned and restricted goods.

 

Bringing currency into the UK

If you are travelling to Scotland and the UK from within the EU you may bring as much money as you like, in any form. If you are entering from outside of the EU, you have to declare any amount over 10,000 euros to the customs officers.

Travellers' cheques can be changed at banks and bureaux de change, and there is usually no charge for cashing sterling travellers' cheques. 

 

Medical Treatment 

European Union citizens are entitled to free medical treatment at National Health Service (NHS) hospitals, which can be made quicker and easier on production of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC card). The card is not, however a replacement for insurance.

Australia, New Zealand and several non-EU European countries have reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the UK.

Citizens of other countries will be charged for most medical services with some exclusions including emergency treatment. 

You should obtain travel insurance with medical cover before your trip.

Doctors' surgeries are usually open during the working day from 9am to 5pm, and some have late surgeries in the evening. Outside of surgery hours, you can visit the nearest hospital which has an accident and emergency or minor injury department for complaints that require immediate attention.

Pharmacists can dispense only a limited range of drugs without a doctor's prescription. Most are open standard shop hours, though in large towns some may close as late as 10pm. Local newspapers often carry lists of late-opening pharmacies, or you can call the NHS inform Helpline on 0800 22 44 88 or visit the NHS 24 website. 

In emergencies, phone for an ambulance by calling 999.

 

Driving in Scotland

Driving licence

Visitors coming to Scotland from European Union (EU) countries with a valid licence can drive in Scotland. Visitors from countries outside of the EU can also drive in Scotland and throughout the UK for up to 12 months - provided their license is still valid in the country in which it was issued.

 

Vehicles

If you're bringing your own car into the UK, you should also carry your vehicle registration or ownership document at all times. You must also be adequately insured, so make sure to check your existing policy. 

If you are planning to drive your car in the UK for more than six months during a 12 month period, there are also rules about number plates containing symbols which are not used in the UK. Ensure that you bring all relevant documentation with you to Scotland and are aware of the rules surrounding importing and exporting a vehicle, both temporarily or long-term.

 

Insurance 

All drivers using roads in Scotland and the UK must have at least third-party insurance cover.

Vehicles brought to Scotland from the EU can be used on public roads without the need to register or pay duties in the host country. These provisions limit car use to no more than 6 months during a 12 month period and the vehicle must comply with the registration and licensing requirements of the country you are visiting from.

As a driver entering Scotland from a non EU member state, (apart from vehicles from Andorra, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), you must be able to produce evidence of having the necessary insurance cover, eg a Green Card.

Find out more information about motor insurance for visiting vehicles in the UK.

 

Driving on the left

In Scotland and throughout the UK, driving is always on the left-hand side of the road.

 

Speed limits

Speed limits are often signposted on main routes by a circular sign with a red border and a number. If the route isn’t signposted, the national speed limits apply. Maximum speed limits on UK roads are:

1. Motorways: 70mph (112kph) for cars, coaches and minibuses 60mph (96kph) for cars towing caravans or trailers and lorries.

2. Dual carriageways: 70mph (112kph) for cars, 60mph (96kph) for cars towing caravans, trailers, buses, coaches, lorries and minibuses.

3. Built-up areas: 30mph (48kph). It is quite common around residential areas and particularly near schools, for a clearly signposted 20mph (32 kmph) maximum speed limit.

4. Outside built-up areas: 60mph (96kph) for cars and 50mph (80kph) for buses, coaches, minibuses and cars towing caravans or trailers.

Please be aware that remote speed cameras are positioned on many roads.

 

Information courtesy of Vist Scotland