Embassy and Consular Services

Learn tips and tricks when using a US embassy or consular services to get the most out of your trip.

What can they do for you?

There are two sections of consular services from which Americans traveling abroad may need assistance—the Passport Office and the Citizen Services Office.

The Passport Office handles the issuing of new passports. The Citizen Services Office handles about everything else. Rather than solving problems, they attempt to provide travelers with enough information to help themselves.

They maintain lists of English-speaking lawyers and doctors. They may know one specializing in your problem or illness.

U.S. officials are usually notified within 48 hours if you are arrested. They will visit, explain the justice system, check on conditions, and help contact your family.

Consulates can quickly transfer emergency funds through the Citizen Services Trust Fund. However, they do not in general pay expenses or lend money.

NOTE: The consulate or embassy is not a bank—it can’t cash checks or make loans; it is not a travel agency—it can’t make hotel reservations or flight arrangements, or recommend sights.

What to do if your passport is lost

About 27,000 U.S. passports are lost or stolen abroad every year. Report the loss immediately to local authorities.

Contact the closest U.S. embassy or consulate. There is always a duty officer on call who can usually get you a replacement or obtain permission for you to return to the States.

Travelers have to replace their passport before returning to the United States. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. Contact information for U.S. embassies and consulates is also available in our Country Specific Information pages. Ask to speak to the Consular Section to report the passport lost or stolen. The normal passport fees are collected from applicants for replacement passports.

Free Travel Rights ebook – Learn more about using the embassy and consular services

Read more about using the embassy and consular services when traveling in Travelers United’s new eBook, Travel Rights.