1

Today, I attended my national British consulate office in Bucharest, Romania. I am here for 5 weeks on vacation. About 10 days ago, I had my passport and all of my money stolen from me. After visiting there last week, I returned as advised to with every inkling of paper work required, and the police report. I am due to return home in 2 weeks.

The consulate talked over me at the same time as I was talking to them. They continued to ask multiple questions, but upon an attempt to answer them if I got that far, they continued to talk over my replies. Subsequently, and I can not really figure what I did wrong, the consulate said to me that "they have the right to refuse" to serve me, and that "if I continued in the" way I had done there today, they could impose this. The difficulty was caused over no less than money. Of course, and they would know about such matters. I did not have enough to pay them as I'd been robbed. I left the consulate to go to the ATM and had to return with the same amount of money available. I have not yet been able to collect emergency travel documents.

My question is about a consular office refusing to serve at all. If they had stuck to that and they're the only one in Romania, which is in the EU. My home country is United Kingdom. I have previously visited USA for up to 90 days 3 times close to each other in the last few years. If I was in a country like USA or non-EU and the Consulate offices refuse to serve me in this situation, in the whole of their country, what should I do? Remain illegally, or tell police that I could soon be illegally there, or do what? One cannot stay in a non-EU country without the correct passport, paperwork or access to getting emergency documents. Would I be completely stuck, or have to travel to another country? Can they refuse to serve me at all, and ongoingly, as how could they? I would be abroad endlessly then forever and stuck?

  • 1
    To clarify, you have a British passport, and the British consulate office in Romania was the one threatening to refuse to serve you? – Mark Mayo Sep 9 '15 at 0:13
  • I usually have a British passport, but for now it's been stolen. So I don't have one right now. I require emergency travel documents to get home, and so far they refused. In Bucharest yes. My question is about if it happens in a non-EU country. – Christopher Wright Sep 9 '15 at 0:18
  • 1
    Can't you speak to the chargé d'affaires or someone like that? Usually consulates have specific officers to deal with citizens in emergency situations. – Burhan Khalid Sep 9 '15 at 4:59
  • 1
    Mark thanks for your help and best replies. What you said could probably be used somewhat in these situations. – Christopher Wright Sep 9 '15 at 12:09
  • 2
    @ChristopherWright I can see you are upset with the service you received but my advice is to put your personal feelings about this behind you. Somehow the staff have taken some offence, so I suggest approaching the embassy staff with extreme politeness. Sometimes that happens in life and you just have to suck it up. If the staff feel you are being rude (and they only need to feel it) then they will not help you, and you cannot do anything about that. – Calchas Sep 10 '15 at 17:33
4

I am not a British citizen and therefore have no experience with British consulates specifically but I do know a bit about bureaucracy and living abroad so I might be able to offer some advice. Generally speaking, you are indeed dependent on your consulate, there is no way around that.

In fact, if you would stay illegally for a long time and the authorities of the country you are in would want to remove you (that's not happening in this case, I am just mentioning this to illustrate how the system works), they would contact the British consulate to confirm your citizenship and obtain a laissez-passer.

So the consulate apparently pushed you out and you understandably feel angry about that but there is no point belabouring this further, asking whether they have the “right” to do that or what else you could do if they don't help you.

From what you wrote, I gather that you have not been issued a formal refusal or negative decision you would have to appeal or anything like that. The next step is therefore simply trying again. Maybe you will talk to someone else but even if you don't, make sure you keep calm, no matter what, even if you feel the consulate is less helpful than it should. Be polite, don't be argumentative, listen to what they tell you and look for solutions. EDIT: To repeat the same thing more bluntly and as some others commented, you need to suck it up and stop with all the talk along the lines of “it's their problem”, “the government should do this” or “they shouldn't have done that”.

Regarding money, consulates generally cannot waive fees or provide you with funds but they should be able to help you get some from the UK. One solution when everything else fails (e.g. you have no bank cards anymore, nobody can pay for you) is to get a relative (or perhaps your bank's or credit card's assistance service) to send you money via Western Union. They strongly warn against that of course but it's possible to allow the recipient to get the money without ID, with a password. And it's expensive too. But it works.

| improve this answer | |
  • I wasn't pushed out, but they expressed hatred to me and verbally abused me. belabouring - they are there to conduct government affairs, and they threatened to refuse to.I am entitled to rights, service, manners among other aspects.They are belabouring the point of being there not me.Tomorrow, the 5th visit.I pointed to if they could do that, because they're obstructing 'legal procedures' in a way. They've caused issues and the task isn't done. That's the point.Plus they blame me for their rudeness. It isn't permissible that they'd move me to break the law by staying illegally potentially. – Christopher Wright Sep 10 '15 at 17:09
  • 1
    @ChristopherWright It seems to me that belabouring the past is exactly what you are doing once again. But that's not my country, not my consulate and I am sitting comfortably at my desk, so I could just tell you that you are right and the British diplomatic service is very bad. Personally, I do not really care but that would not help you in any way. – Relaxed Sep 11 '15 at 16:31
  • 2
    What you need to decide now is whether you want to focus on who was right or wrong the last times or on how to get what you need going forward. As long as you don't have a passport, does it matter whether they are rude or blame you for something? That's what I was trying to convey. (Also, you now mention 5 visits, which suggests you left many details out in the question, which in turn makes it difficult to evaluate the situation.) – Relaxed Sep 11 '15 at 16:31
  • I'll let you figure out the results then. cannot do right for wrong.What I need going forward is not provided by me, whilst others are salaried, and to do work. What I don't need is abuse. of course it matters whether they are rude or blame me for something. Be the guests like all else. We cannot converse by talking over the other. That's what I'm trying to convey. It matters doing so and refusing to meet needs, no? Some details have had to be left out like atoms yes. There isn't enough room not to. Im not clear how it's been difficult to evaluate, if you read what I typed for word. – Christopher Wright Sep 11 '15 at 23:39
  • 1
    @ChristopherWright: To achieve a positive result when you need help, the most important thing to do is make the person want to help you. That's what "Relaxed" advised you to do. Before your next visit, smile, expect the friendly people at the consulate to help you, and give them every reason to want to help you. Works for me every time. People help me, and they are happy to help me. What absolutely doesn't help your case is trying to force them. Insist on your rights, and tell them that you are the taxpayer paying their salaries and they are unprofessional, and you'll never get your papers. – gnasher729 Sep 15 '15 at 0:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.