Complaints procedure

Complaints, compliments and feedback

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to providing a high quality consular service. To do this we welcome any comments you have about our service, to tell us when we get things wrong and when we get things right. We use this feedback to assess and improve our services.

If you want to make a complaint about a consular service you have received from the FCO or one of our embassies, high commissions or consulates abroad, we want to help you resolve it as quickly as possible.

If you would like to compliment us on our services, or if you have other comments about our services, we want to hear from you too.

Visas and passports

We are not able to respond to any queries or complaints about UK visas or British passports. You should contact UK Visas and Immigration if your complaint is about UK visas or contact HM Passport Office if your complaint is about British passports.

Making a complaint about a consular service

If you would like to send any feedback on Consular services including our Travel Advice and response to COVID-19 please use this contact form.

Our resources are currently focused on the global response to COVID-19 and helping those British people abroad in need of assistance. Complaints, including those related to COVID-19, are continually being reviewed and integrated into our operations. However we are not able to respond to individual complaints at this time. But we will acknowledge your feedback and let you know when you should expect to receive a response.

If you are making a complaint on behalf of another person, we are required to have written signed consent from that person allowing us to share their personal information with you before we can reply.

There are 2 stages to our complaints procedure:

Stage 1

Please send details of your complaint to our contact form. We will record and examine your complaint, and use the information you provide to help make sure that we offer the best possible help and support to our customers. The FCO or the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate will reply to you.

Stage 2

If you are not happy with our initial response, you can escalate your complaint to the Director of Consular Services by reply. The Director will see all complaints and will ask for an investigation to be carried out by a member of staff who is not directly connected to your case or to your complaint.

Next steps

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Director, then you can write directly to your Member of Parliament (MP), asking them to raise your complaint with the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman.

The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman

The Ombudsman will normally only consider cases that have previously followed our process and relate to “maladministration” (a service failure including poor administration or applying the rules incorrectly). The Ombudsman will normally only accept complaints referred to them by an MP. There are more details about this in the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman’s website.

Complimenting a consular service

Understanding what we have done well is just as important as understanding those things we may have done not so well. Your positive feedback helps us to ensure that we are able provide the best possible, most consistent and appropriate consular service to all our customers.

If you have received a consular service that was helpful, supportive or professional from one of our consulates overseas or from the consular office in London, please send details using our contact form.

Our feedback programme and research

We work with partner research agencies to collect feedback about our services. If you have been a consular customer and have sought consular assistance overseas and have provided your contact details as part of that service, you may be approached by us to ask you to take part in our feedback programme. We may do this via a number of channels; over the phone, via SMS text, email or face to face.

If you apply for a service online you will be offered an opportunity to provide consent at the time of application. You will be able to make an informed choice about whether or not you wish to share your personal data (name, email, telephone and service you received/reason why you contacted us) for the purposes of being contacted for feedback by our partner agency.

If you provide consent to share your data you will not automatically be selected for an interview; our partner agency randomly select customers to participate.

Your data will continue to remain protected at all times and processed in accordance with the applicable data protection legislation including the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act.

If you provide consent to share your data, you may later withdraw that consent at any stage, including after you have shared feedback. You can withdraw consent by emailing, consular.research@fco.gov.uk, stating “withdrawal of consent” in the subject line of the email and providing your full name, email address and the name of the service you received.

Please see our research page for more information including our research privacy notice.