Consular Charter

Published 31 August 2022

The charter clarifies the consular services we provide including what you can expect from us, and what we ask from you in return.

We will be professional and polite. We will treat you with empathy and without judgement whatever your gender, race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religion or belief.

We will provide accessible, clear, relevant and up-to-date Travel Advice. We ask that you read this and take it into account when planning your travel, including taking out necessary travel insurance.

You are responsible for your own personal safety, and should read and follow local laws and any advice provided by local authorities. If you travel against our advice, it may limit the assistance we can provide to you.

You can contact us 24/7 by phone or online if you need our support. We aim to respond to all enquiries in a timely manner, keeping call waiting times to a minimum. However you contact us, we will listen to you, assess your needs promptly and explain clearly how we can and cannot help you. Our help depends on your individual circumstances and will follow our published policy in the Support for British Nationals Abroad.

We ask that you provide accurate, relevant and useful information about your situation and the help you need so we can provide the best possible support. We may advise you to approach other providers if you are asking for services that we do not provide.

If you need Consular assistance, we will use our teams in the UK and overseas to support you. Our initial support is available 24/7 wherever you are in the world. The focus of our assistance work is to do more for those we assess as vulnerable.

Our ability to help will depend on a number of factors. This includes whether you can communicate with us or receive phone calls or emails, your location and the response from the local authorities. If you have been arrested or detained, it may also depend on whether foreign governments inform us promptly and allow us access to you.

We are increasing the services we provide online to reduce the need for you to call or visit us. Some of our services may require you to visit our embassy, high commission or consulate in person. If this is needed, we will help you to make an appointment for the service you require. We will ensure that appointments with a member of staff are available within a reasonable time and that you are able to speak to us in private if you prefer.

If you are caught up in a crisis situation, such as a terrorist attack, civil disturbance or natural disaster, we will provide a rapid response from trained staff. In the worst situations, this may include British Government-led assisted departure. We will regularly update Travel Advice as the situation develops and ask that you follow it. If you do not do so this may limit the help we can provide you.

We ask that you treat our staff with respect. We are proud of our diverse team, many of whom are recruited for their local expertise. If your behaviour is physically or verbally abusive, or unacceptable in other ways, we may refuse to help you. The FCDO has zero tolerance of damage to property or abusive, racist, vexatious and threatening behaviour towards our staff.

In some situations, the assistance we can provide will be limited. We have a duty of care to our employees and we will not send our staff into a situation where we judge that their safety could be seriously at risk.

We charge a fee for some of our services, including emergency travel documents. We will make it clear if the service you are requesting needs to be paid for, how much this is and how you can pay. We do not make a profit from these charges; they go towards the costs of providing consular services.

We will process personal data in accordance with all applicable data protection laws, set out in the Our consular services privacy notice.

We comply with data protection law in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation UK GDPR, the Data Protection Act 2018 and our Personal Information Charter. If we have a legal obligation to share information about you (for example, with UK Policing authorities) we will ensure that we do this in accordance with Data Protection Legislation.

We welcome feedback and are committed to learning from it to continually improve our services. We ask that you use this contact form if you wish to make a complaint or pass on a compliment.