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What is an Embassy and How can it Help You on Vacation or as an Expat?

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We do not like to think about what could go wrong when we are travelling abroad. Unfortunately, there are times when an incident does occur, and need help is needed.

This is where your home country embassy could help you.

There are embassies for various different countries all over the world, usually in capital cities, but what do they do? Why are they there? And why do you need to contact one if you lose your passport?

In this article we break down how embassies can help you either when you are aboard, or as an expat living in the UAE.

 

What do embassies do?

An embassy represents their home country within a host country. They are there to help and protect their citizens visiting the host country, as well as promoting home culture, economy and science within that country.

 

When should you contact your embassy when you are abroad?

When you are outside of your home country you can contact your home embassy if any of the follow should happen or your need assistance. If there is no embassy in the country you are visiting, contact one outside that country for assistance.

  • If you are admitted to hospital – In this instance you must tell your family or friends and contact your travel insurance company on their emergency number. If you are unable to do this yourself, your embassy can help.
  • If you or a friend is arrested – If this situation occurs, you should contact your embassy for assistance in how to handle it. They can provide contacts for lawyers support also.
  • Your passport is lost or stolen – You must first report this incident with the local police, then contact your home embassy to help replace the passport or issue the correct documents for you to be able to travel home.
  • You are a victim of crime
  • Someone you are travelling with has passed away

 

What an embassy cannot do

Whilst embassies are there to help you in times of need, there are some things which they cannot do. These include

  • Getting you out of prison or interfere with the criminal system
  • Give you legal advice or carry out investigation for crimes or missing people. This must be handled by the local authorities within that country
  • Pay your bills or give you money – however there may be exceptional circumstances where you may be offered a loan.
  • Make your travel arrangements for you
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than what is given to the local people

 

How an Embassy Can Help You as an Expat

It isn’t just when you are vacationing abroad that you may need your local embassy. If you have moved abroad it is important that you register with the embassy of your home country, in your new country. This may seem a little strange, but it is recommended. It is not however a requirement.

There are a number of services that your home country embassy can help you with in your new country, such as assistance in case of emergency (such as a natural disaster or dangerous situations), help you with various administrative tasks (such as passport issuance, registering a birth, tax forms etc.) and provide local info (for travel warnings, voting information etc.)

 

To summarise, embassies are there to help their home residents in time of need. So, if you find yourself in a difficult situation abroad and need a familiar helping hand, get in touch with your home country embassy.

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