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19 Jun

When Trouble Strikes, What Can Consulate Services and The Embassy Do For You?

US EmbassyNo one likes to think about turmoil, natural disasters and accidents while traveling, but when the unexpected happens, it’s important to know about Consulate Services, where to get help, and what your Embassy can do for you.

If you’re traveling abroad, make sure you have the numbers for your native embassy or consulate office. These diplomatic offices help aid foreign relations and assist citizens who are abroad. Most of the time, you can expect to find embassies in capital cities and consulates in larger cities with sizable numbers of tourists. These offices are actually very helpful, especially in emergency situations. Here are some of the ways a consulate/embassy can assist you.

Emergency Assistance

If you are in need of medical assistance while abroad, a consulate can offer you a list of local medical professionals. In serious cases, they can play an active role in securing medical help, and are also available to inform family and friends of your emergency.

In the event you lose all of your money or means of acquiring your money, the consulate can put you in touch with family, friends, or your bank. Some are also able to provide small loans in select, genuine cases, but you are fully expected to pay it back.

While abroad, you are subject to the laws of the country you’re in. That means consulate workers cannot get you out of jail, for example. They can, however, visit you, help you in securing legal representation, and contact family and friends with your consent. They can also monitor your situation, working to ensure you’re not the victim of discrimination or abuse.

Sometimes emergencies happen back home when you’re away and, for whatever reason, it’s difficult for people back home to get in touch with you. If this happens, the consulate will help locate and contact you.  If you are traveling in a volatile area, it’s a good idea to provide the local consulate with a copy of your travel itinerary and contact information for their files.

Political or Natural
When events of extreme unrest – like war, civil conflict, and natural disasters – seem likely to compromise your safety, you can turn to the consulate for updates about recent events and, if possible, arrangements for evacuation.

Other Concerns

Death Abroad
When a citizen of one county passes away in another, the consulate helps handle arrangements pertaining to the final location of the body and, in some cases, the deceased’s personal estate. The family is expected to pay the costs associated with handling these arrangements.

Consulates provide assistance with absentee ballots. In some cases, polling stations are established on the premises for citizens abroad who wish to vote.

You can get several types of visas here. Some are for definite periods of time, like a tourist visa, which are needed for certain countries.  Others are for indefinite arrangements, like immigrant visas.

If your passport is lost, stolen, or badly damaged abroad, go to your nearest consulate or embassy to get a replacement. You can expect to pay fees, which can be somewhat expensive if you need to expedite the process. However, despite the costs incurred, many offices will fortunately be able to secure you a new passport quickly.

Consulates and embassies fulfill many important functions for citizens abroad. Next time you travel, be sure to have contact information for a nearby office. That way, if an emergency happens, you’ll have somewhere reliable to turn, but do not expect the Consulate office to be your travel agent, they are there to provide support services for true emergencies only.

About The Author:  This guest post was contributed by Lauren Atkinson, for experiences. Laura is a freelance instructor for driving experience & car driving days. She also enjoys writing about other leisure activities and upcoming events.

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