I drove through London last week. Mostly on the the A406. I only briefly saw an announcement about the congestion fee, when entering london on the M11. I didn't see any camera or any other signs on the road, that I actually entered the zone where I would need to pay a congestion fee. The question is, how do I see that I am entering a congestion fee area and is there a way to find out as a non resident (ie. no british license plates) if I have a bill running in the UK now?


According to http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/congestioncharging/ , you can call them at (UK) Tel: 0333 200 1000. I can't find a form matching your exact enquiry online. You can pay a penalty online (when you get the penalty form), or you can pay in advance, but I don't see a way to see 'Is there a penalty I owe I haven't found yet?'

Short answer, you need to have "driven by" one of these signs:

Congestion charge sign

Here is the actual map:

Congestion charge zone

  • The congestion fee isn't a penalty is it?
    – user141
    Mar 25 '13 at 20:32
  • 3
    Not in and of itself, but quoting from the website:'You can pay in advance or on the day of travel. If you don't pay by midnight on the charging day after you drove in the zone, you'll get a Penalty Charge Notice.' (and the fee goes up from ~10 pounds to 60-120, depending on when you pay)
    – Aaron
    Mar 25 '13 at 20:52
  • Thanks for the answers. I stayed on the North Circular Road, so no worries there. Are the signs you show easily missed, or in plain sight?
    – user141
    Mar 25 '13 at 21:23
  • 1
    They appear to be pretty visible, and there are large Cs on the lanes that go into the congestion area. I've never been to london, but I pulled it up on Google Street View: goo.gl/maps/u2GqQ
    – Aaron
    Mar 25 '13 at 21:29
  • They are quite large and visible (but it's easy to miss something in a busy city).
    – Relaxed
    Feb 6 '14 at 19:14

I had the problem this morning, so I called the number given above.

No, they cannot tell you whether you have to pay the fee or not. That's what I was told on the phone. Unless you had to pay and didn't pay, in which case they will issue you with a huge fine. At that point it's too late.

It seems that you can pay and then complain later to get a refund, which had an administrative fee of £10 some years ago when the fee itself was less than £10, so you won't get your money back. I couldn't find how you go about the complaining either.

If you expect that you get into the same situation again, I think you can set up automatic payments where they take the money off you if you entered the zone.