My son, from the UK, is in Cambodia and has overstayed his visa by months. He has no money to pay exit fees.

How can I get him home to the UK?

  • 7
    Do you have the money to pay the fees and the willingness to give it to him?
    – phoog
    Feb 2 '17 at 17:51
  • 47
    Make very very sure it's your son and it's not a scammer asking for money.
    – chx
    Feb 2 '17 at 18:24
  • 1
    @pnuts -- son. Any "Hi, I'm your friend far away, send me money" message always sets off my Spidey-sense.
    – Malvolio
    Feb 2 '17 at 19:03
  • 10
    @pnuts You'd be surprised how effective these scams can be. Emails, alleged intermediaries calling on the son's behalf, stories about phones not working overseas, etc... There is, of course, a good chance that there's no scam––plenty of people overstay their visas and run out of money––, but an actual conversation (or better yet, video chat) to verify exactly what is going on is essential before proceeding. Feb 2 '17 at 19:42
  • 3
    @pnuts, a friend of mine got zapped almost exactly this way, grandson not son, but the legal trouble was in nearby LA not Scambodia.
    – Malvolio
    Feb 2 '17 at 20:06

First, requests like this are very often scams by people impersonating relatives, so make absolutely sure it's actually your son contacting you. If he has access to email, that means he also has access to a mobile/computer that can do a quick Skype call so you can verify it's him. (Yes, Cambodia has tons of Internet cafes and good mobile coverage.)

If it is him, find out how much money he needs. The cost of overstaying your visa in Cambodia is $10/day: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cambodia/entry-requirements (thanks @pnuts!)

He may also need a flight back home. You can buy this on his behalf, or get him to buy one locally. Beware that one-way international tickets can be very expensive, it pays to shop around and look at return flights (and throw away the return).

Then, if there isn't an easy obvious way to send him the money like a transfer into his regular UK bank account which he then accesses from an ATM, find the nearest Western Union outlet and wire him the money. They'll give you a code that you can pass to him, which will let him withdraw the money at the other end. Note that WU fees are kinda high and there are many other ways to do this, but for a one-off transfer this is likely the easiest option.

Don't bother contacting the local UK embassy unless he's been arrested and thrown in jail, in which case things get more complicated. (And be extremely leery if "he" wants money to bribe his way out: odds are it's a scam, or that he's being scammed.)

  • 2
    @pnuts -- it's at least conceivable that the UK government wishes to appear to be helpful more than it wishes to actually help. Certainly that has been my experience with other governments.
    – Malvolio
    Feb 2 '17 at 21:05
  • 7
    @pnuts Because there's nothing the embassy can do in this situation. If the OP contacts them and say "my son needs money to get out of Cambodia", they will say "then wire him some, have a nice day". Feb 2 '17 at 23:46
  • 4
    Surely the son has a UK bank account he can access from an ATM? I would think it easier and cheaper to make a deposit or transfer to that, rather than fussing with Western Union.
    – choster
    Feb 3 '17 at 0:01
  • 5
    @pnuts -- Hahaha, if I called the consulate any time one of my daughters got in trouble overseas -- a fist-fight with a Moscow skinhead, accusations of smuggling endangered species into Marseilles, caught trying to convince Bedouin children to hijack unattended camel in Dahab -- the State Department would have to create a new Cabinet office: Assistant Deputy Secretary for Bailing Out Malvolio's Kids.
    – Malvolio
    Feb 3 '17 at 1:32
  • 2
    Re: Not bothering to contact the embassy, I never had to use that service but the French foreign service actually writes in many places that they will (a) help you contact your relatives in France and (b) facilitate a money transfer. They are also very specific that they cannot pay anything or lend money themselves or otherwise get you out of the country. I cannot vouch for it but if they are really able to do what they say they do, it's better than nothing. It could also help ascertain this is not a scam.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 4 '18 at 10:42

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