This snapshot, taken on
29/11/2004
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What We Can Do To Help

The mission of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is to work for UK interests in a safe, just and prosperous world. As part of this work we aim to deliver high-quality consular services to British nationals abroad.

Most governments provide consular services to their citizens but they don’t all provide the same services, or to the same standard. Some governments issue passports through their consulates abroad, and some don’t. Some regularly visit their nationals held as prisoners regularly, and some hardly ever.

We offer consular assistance to people in difficulty or distress, sometimes due to a lost passport, but also because they have been arrested or detained, imprisoned or injured, due to a crime or physical or mental illness, or there has been a death. Some of these cases are complicated and can involve human rights issues such as child abduction, forced marriage or the death penalty. We also provide Country Travel Advice and respond to major overseas crises such as natural disasters or events like the bombing in Istanbul in November 2003.

Where there is no British representative in a country, British nationals may instead try to contact the nearest EU representative in that country.

 

The FCO by Numbers

The network of British consulates covers most of the globe and, in emergencies, the consulates are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are up there with the USA, Canada, Australia and major EU partners in the Premier League of the consular world.

  • Approximately 1,800 FCO staff at home and abroad work to deliver consular services.

  • This includes 150 staff in the Consular Directorate in London, with the remainder working in 259 embassies and consulates worldwide.

  • We also have 231 Honorary Consuls, who play a vital role in places where we do not have full British consulates.

 

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