Commonwealth ICT Ministers Forum - More Information

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Visa Information

Passports are required by everyone entering the country. Passports must contain at least 2 blank pages and must be valid for no less than 30 days from the date of exit. Your passport or identity card will be checked when you arrive at a port or airport in the UK to make sure you’re allowed to enter the country it must be valid for the duration of your stay in the UK.

You may need a visa to come to the UK to visit, study or work, if you need a UK visa, please click on the link below. All delegates are fully responsible for their own visa arrangements. The CTO can assist by providing Visa letters, if you need a Visa letter please email the CTO, details are provided below. All delegates will have to visit their nearest British mission or consulate in your country of residence to present your application and supporting documents.

Visas can take a while to process; you are advised to submit your application and documents in time to enable processing to take the necessary time. All Visa costs are to be borne by the attendees.

**All visa arrangements and costs are to be borne by the attendees and/or their administration. CTO will be happy to assist with an Invitation Letter on request**

For more information please visit UK Visa and Immigration

Visa Application Website Click here to apply for a UK Visa.

Invitation letter will be issued upon request to assist delegates with visa process. Delegates who require this assistance should submit the following information to the host:

Full Name as written on Passport
Date and Place of Birth
Nationality
Date of Arrival
Date of Departure
Hotel Booking
A clear scanned copy of the data page of the passport
A valid email address

GENERAL INFORMATION

Country Profile

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, is a sovereign state in Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland.

The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the UK as well as monarch of some other independent Commonwealth countries. The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system. The parliament of the United Kingdom that meets in the Palace of Westminster has two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords.

The capital and the largest city of the UK is London.

Currency
The British Pound is the currency of United Kingdom. The currency code for Pounds is GBP and the currency symbol is £.
Coins: £1, £2, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p
Banknotes: £5, £10, £20 and £50
The exchange rate as of 12 April 2016 is 1 GBP = 1.42 USD
Credit cards: Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards are widely accepted in England, and are good for larger hotels, restaurants, shopping, flights, long-distance travel, car hire etc.
Public Transportation

Airports in London

The metropolitan area of London, England is served by six international airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City and Southend. Together, they make the busiest airport system in the world by passenger numbers and the second busiest by aircraft movements.

A. Heathrow (LHR) – Hounslow, Middlesex TW6 18T, United Kingdom

Located 32km (20 miles) to the west of Central London, London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is one of the busiest and most advanced airports in the world. With 190,000 passengers arriving and departing every day, Heathrow handles more international passengers than any other airport in the world. The airport is spread across five terminals, each with shops, restaurants, currency exchange facilities, information counters, accommodation desks and left luggage facilities.

B. Gatwick (LGW) – Horley, West Sussex, United Kingdom

Gatwick airport is located 45km (28 miles) south of London. It is the most efficient single-runway airport in the world, serving 200 destinations in 90 countries for 35 million customers a year. Gatwick Airport’s two terminals, North and South, both have a comprehensive selection of shops, bureaux de change, help desks and left-luggage facilities.

C. Stansted (STN) – Terminal Road North, Essex CM24 1RW, United Kingdom

London Stansted Airport is the UK’s third busiest airport and one of the fastest growing airports in Europe. The airport is located 64km (40 miles) to the north-east of London. It is home to many of the UK’s low-cost airlines, serving mostly European and Mediterranean destinations.

D. Luton (LTN) – 2 Percival Way,Bedfordshire LU2 9LY, United Kingdom

The airport is a major base for low-cost or “no-frills” air travel and is located just 56km (35 miles) north-west of Central London. Luton Airport is home to shops, bars, restaurants, a currency exchange and an onward travel centre where you can arrange car hire or book bus and coach tickets.

A. City (LCY) – London, Greater London, United Kingdom

London City Airport is one of the easiest and most accessible airports in London owing to its location just 9.5km (6 miles) east of Central London and 4.8km (3 miles) from Canary Wharf. Due to its size, arrivals and departures through London City Airport can be much quicker and easier than the larger London airports.

B. Southend (SEN) – Southend on Sea, Essex SS2 6YF, United Kingdom

London Southend Airport is located in the district of Rochford within Essex, less than 40 miles east of Central London and less than 38 miles from Stratford.

Local Transport

Trains to and from London airports – London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports each have dedicated express train services running regularly to central London stations.

The Heathrow Express runs regularly between London Paddington station and all five Heathrow terminals. Click here for timetables and here for prices. You can also get to the different terminals of Heathrow Airport by using the Piccadilly line on the tube system. Tube services leave Heathrow every few minutes from approximately 5h10 (5h50 on Sundays) to 23h45 (23h30 on Sundays).

The Gatwick Express runs every 15 minutes between London Victoria and the South Terminal train station. Click here for timetables and here for prices.

The Stansted Express takes 47 minutes to go between London Liverpool Street in the heart of the city and the airport. Click here for timetables and here for prices.

Public transports – Transport for London (TfL) is the local government organisation responsible for most aspects of London’s transport system. Traffic in London can be chaotic so using public transports is usually the quickest way of travel within the city centre. The public transport network is integrated so it’s easy to switch between most transports services using the same travel ticket.

London is divided into nine travel zones. Zones 1 and 2 are in central London and Zones 6-9 are on the outskirts of the city. Click here to see the maps. Travel is more expensive at peak travel times – Monday to Friday from 06:30 to 09:29 and 16:00 to 18:59. Travel is cheaper at off peak times – this is all other times including the weekend and public holidays.

To use the public transports in London you may opt for one of the following options:

1. Buy an Oyster card

Oyster is a smartcard which can hold pay as you go credit, Travelcard and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets. Use it to travel on bus, Tube, Tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London.

You can get and top up Oyster cards from:

• Stations & tram stops

• London Travel Information Centres

• Oyster Ticket Stops

2. Buy paper tickets

You can buy paper tickets from:

• Stations and tram stops

• London Travel Information Centres

Ways to pay for your tickets:

You can buy tickets with cash at:

• Oyster Ticket Stops

• Tube station ticket offices and most self-service ticket machines

• London Overground station ticket offices and self-service ticket machines

• London Travel Information Centres

Important: You can’t use cash to pay for your bus fare.

You can buy tickets with a credit or debit card at:

• Tube station ticket offices and most self-service ticket machines

• Overground station ticket offices and self-service ticket machines

• DLR station self-service ticket machines

• London Travel Information Centres

Taxis

Traditional black cabs can be hailed at the airport or booked in advance. All black cabs are wheelchair accessible and carry assistance dogs at no charge. Click here to check fares.

Addison Lee and Hailo are two of the London’s largest minicab companies. The easiest way to book is through the apps for smartphones.

There are also several chauffeur services available for car transfers to and from all of London’s airports, ranging from limousines and luxury vehicles to budget options.

Car hire

Parking in London can be difficult, particularly in Central London. If you plan to drive in London, plan ahead by researching car parks near your destination and, if necessary, pre-paying the London Congestion Charge..

If you opt to hire a car you can find offices of Hertz, Avis, Europcar, National, Alamo, Enterprise, Budget and Sixt at the airports.

Climate

The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round. The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −11 °C (12 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). Heavy snowfall can occur in winter and early spring on high ground, and occasionally settles to great depth away from the hills.

Language
English is the official language of the United Kingdom. Cornish, Irish, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Ulster-Scots and Welsh are recognised as regional languages.
Time zone
Greenwich Mean Time Zone (UTC+00:00)
Telecommunications
International dialling code: +44
Electricity
WA-7 Travel Plug Adapter for England, Ireland. Please click here for more information.

Further Information:

For further information, please contact:
Adriana Cardoso, Travel and Logistics Officer.
44 (0) 208 600 3811
44 (0) 208 600 3819