British Consulates

If you get into trouble abroad, you can head for the British Consul for help. They will aim to see you out of your fix - but there are some things outside their remit.

british flags

They can help you get out of travelling pickles

What a British Consulate can do:

  • Issue emergency passports;
  • Contact relatives and friends and ask them to help you with money or tickets;
  • Tell you how to transfer money;
  • In an emergency, cash you a sterling cheque worth up to £100 if supported by a valid banker’s card;
  • As a last resort – in exceptional circumstances, and as long as you meet certain strict rules – give you a loan to get you back to the UK, but only if there is no-one else who can help you;
  • Help you get in touch with local lawyers, interpreters and doctors;
  • Arrange for next of kin to be told of an accident or a death and advise on procedures;
  • Visit you if you have been arrested or put in prison, and arrange for messages to be sent to relatives and friends;
  • Put you in touch with organisations that help trace missing persons;
  • Speak to the local authorities on your behalf.

Beware: UK law means they have to charge for some services. Consulates display the current fees and the standards of service you can expect.

What a British Consulate can’t do:

  • Intervene in court cases;
  • Get you out of prison;
  • Give legal advice or start court proceedings for you;
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local nationals;
  • Investigate a crime;
  • Pay your hotel, legal, medical or any other bills;
  • Pay your travel costs, except in special circumstances;
  • Do work normally done by travel agents, airlines, banks or motoring organisations;
  • Get you somewhere to live, a job or work permit;
  • Demand you be treated as British if you are a dual national in the country of your second nationality.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides contact details for all the UK’s embassies, high commissions and consulates overseas.

Information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Photo of flags by Shutterstock

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015