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Strange Laws and customs abroad

British ConsulateGoing abroad normally works out well however problem do occur where people do not always understand the local customs or laws. This might seem strange however the FCO has made an info-graphic of some of these customs to keep Brits abroad out of trouble.

Before going abroad it is always best to check with your travel agent on anything that you might need to know before you leave home. South Africa out of the blue brought in a new law which choked its tourism as they change some of the laws. The first was that in China you would need to apply for the visa yourself and not the travel agent. Since most Chinese tend to travel is groups this put a massive dent into tourism to South Africa. When that was not enough they brought in new laws again out of the blue that needed special requirements for travelling with a child to or from the country.

In 2014 new laws increased the fines for swearing in Australia in public to $500. Many might not know that it is illegal to swear in public in many parts of Australia. With this came also the e-cigarettes issues in the UAE as they are now banned from being brought into the United Arab Emirates.

Turkey also changed their rules in January 2015 mandating that tourists must have a passport valid for at least 60 days from expiry date of their visitor visa when travelling to Turkey. In 2013 two British nationals took a swim in the Emperor’s moat at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Getting arrested in Japan while they investigate can put you in prison for 23 days. Just because you can do silly things in the UK does not mean that it is a good idea to do it abroad.

Other local customs which are deemed offensive would be entering churches or mosques with arms or legs uncovered in Italy or Turkey. This would not bee a good idea so always cover-up when going to place to religious values. The same goes for leaving the beach still in swimwear in Mallorca and Barcelona which is also viewed as offensive. Yes it might be party towns but the locals dont appreciate some of the antics.

You might not know but Jehovah’s Witness meetings (private and public) are illegal in Singapore and it is illegal to have a Jehovah’s Witness Bible and publications. You can also get a heavy fine for rude T-Shirts as well as spot fines for smoking within 5 meters of a bus stop or covered walkways. It is also illegal to import chewing bubble gum and homosexual acts is illegal in Singapore. (SeeExpat Living Singapore).

If you are leaving Hong Kong with more than the normal amount of powdered baby formula, the fines are heavy for this as well. Oh and if you bring a satellite phone into India without prior permission from the Indian authorities then you will be arrested. The same goes for powerful cameras or binoculars.

Always research your destination before you leave the United Kingdom.

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