This section describes the range of support which we can normally offer if things go wrong. If you are caught up in a major catastrophe, a different level of support may be available.
If you have anything stolen
If your money, passport or anything else is stolen abroad, report it to the local police immediately and get a statement about the loss (you will need one to claim against your insurance).
You will need to cancel any credit cards or traveller’s cheques. You may also want to have money transferred to you either by your bank or by a relative using a reliable money transfer company. Our staff can give you information about this if you need it.
If your passport is lost or stolen abroad and you urgently need to travel, we can issue a replacement travel document once we are satisfied of your identity and that you are a British national. You will need to produce a police report, fill in an application form and pay a fee.
Depending on the country you are in and the circumstances, the emergency travel document may be: - an emergency passport, which is valid for a single journey with no journeys through third countries; - a temporary one-year passport (not available in all of our offices); or - a standard passport. To issue a passport, we need to make checks, which may take time and could mean you have to delay your travel arrangements.
If our staff have to issue an emergency travel document outside normal office hours, you will have to pay an extra fee. Before making any arrangements with our staff, consider whether you also need an exit visa from the local immigration authorities as some countries do not issue these visas outside normal office hours or at weekends.
If you run out of money abroad, we can give you information on how to transfer money and we can help you to contact relatives and friends who may be willing to transfer money to you or to buy you a ticket back to the UK. If we transfer money on your behalf, we will charge you for this.
In an emergency we can cash a sterling cheque worth up to £100, secured against a valid banker’s card, into local currency. There will be a charge for this service.
You have no automatic right to receive emergency financial help from us. In certain very exceptional circumstances, and when everything else has been tried, we may provide a loan from public funds to help you return to the UK. You will have to sign an agreement to repay the loan in full. In most cases, you will have to secure this loan by giving up your passport to our staff who can issue you with an emergency travel document valid for a single journey to the UK. We will not return your passport to you and the UK Passport Agency will not issue you with a replacement passport until you have paid off the loan in full, including the cost of issuing the emergency travel document.
If we have contacted family or friends for you, for example if you have been arrested, we cannot give them money to help with travel or accommodation if they visit you.
We can give general information about local police and legal procedures. We cannot give you legal advice, but we can point you in the right direction to get advice.
If you need medical treatment, we can help you to contact a local doctor.
If you want us to, we can contact your relatives and friends and let them know what has happened. We can offer you financial help only in line with our policy.
We cannot collect evidence or investigate crimes ourselves, and in many countries investigating authorities and the courts will refuse to answer enquiries from other people and organisations, including consuls. So, you should consider appointing a local lawyer who can look after your interests in court, and follow any trial for you. We can give you a list of local English-speaking lawyers and interpreters. We would not ordinarily go to a court case involving a British national and cannot influence the outcome of any trial.
Back in the UK, you may feel you would benefit from extra support to help you cope with the effects of the crime. Organisations such as Victim Support can help (www.victimsupport.org).