The American Embassy in your host country is a valuable resource but it is important to understand there are limitations to how much the Embassy can assist you and your student.
The U.S. Embassy/Consulate CAN do for your student
- Contact your student in the event of a national or personal emergency. It is strongly recommended that your student register themselves. It’s quick and easy- go to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program https://step.state.gov/step/. By registering with the U.S. Department of State, the in-country consulate staff will know how to contact the student if a national or personal emergency occurs.
- Re-issue passports to replace lost or stolen ones (don’t forget to bring a copy of the old passport plus four passport size photos!)
- If your student is not where they are supposed to be and you have reason to believe they should have been there, a call to the Overseas Citizen Services in Washington, D.C. can be made. It provides a 24-hour line at 888.407.4747 by which you or your relative can get in touch with the U.S. Embassy in the appropriate country. They also maintain information in times of crisis which regularly updated reports from each embassy/consulate.
- In the event of an arrest, a consulate officer will be able to operate within the framework of the law of the host country, visit U.S. citizens in jail, provide a list of local attorneys, notify family and friends and rely requests for money and other aid, intercede with local authorities to make sure rights under local law are fully observed, the U.S. citizen is being treated humanely according to internationally accepted standards and protest mistreatments or abuse to appropriate authorities.
- The Overseas Citizen Services can get in touch with relatives of Americans who become ill or injured while overseas. They may pursue various courses of action to ensure the traveler’s safety. Frist, the traveler’s own funds will be used for his/her return and/or treatment. If the traveler does not have the funds, the Citizens Emergency Center may approach the traveler’s family for funds. In emergencies, the Center can provide small government loans for returning American travelers who are in distress until private funds arrive. The Center can also send telegrams in the event of a death overseas, notifying the family and informing them they need to send money for the repatriation of the body.
The U.S. Embassy CANNOT do for your student
- Demand immediate release or get anyone out of jail
- Represent U.S. citizens at trail or give legal counsel
- Pay legal fees and/or fines with U.S. government funds
For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.