2

I am planning to travel from the UK to France for a short holiday. I currently hold a Tier 4 student visa to stay in the UK; I am not a UK citizen.

If I get into trouble in France, e.g. pickpocketed, is it an option to go to UK embassy or consulate for help? Or I can only go to the embassy of my own nationality?

  • 5
    You have to go to the embassy of your own nationality, since even with a UK Tier 4 Student Visa, you enter the UK and other countries on your own countries passport. You would have to attend a UK embassy to sort out your visa on any replacement passport, but they wont help you otherwise. – Moo Apr 13 '17 at 12:27
  • 5
    The British Embassy is reluctant to help its own citizens, let alone anyone else's. – Calchas Apr 13 '17 at 12:40
  • 3
    @Calchas many people think embassies are required to provide waaaaay more than they actually are. – Moo Apr 13 '17 at 13:11
  • @Moo +1 your comment is an answer; add it and I'll upvote. – Giorgio Apr 13 '17 at 15:35
6

A British Embassy is only obliged to lend assistance to British citizens, subjects or nationals - or in other words, people with a British passport - and other EU nationals when there is no embassy or consulate for that national in that country (citation here - thankyou to DUman for pointing this out).

You have to go to the embassy of your own nationality, as even with a UK visa, you enter the UK and other countries on your own countries passport. Your visa comes with certain restrictions or entitlements while you are in the UK (for example, "no recourse to public funds", or "indefinite leave to remain") but it infers no obligation on any UK official or office to the visa holder while outside the UK.

You may have to attend a UK embassy or consulate in order to sort out your visa on any replacement passport, but they aren't obligated to help you otherwise.

  • 1
    As a note, embassies of EU countries are also obliged to assist members of other EU nations in countries where the other nation has no representation. For instance, Estonia has no diplomatic mission in Mexico, so the British embassy in Mexico is also obliged to assist Estonians. – DUman Apr 13 '17 at 20:14
  • @DUman do you have a link for that? Would be interested to read. – Moo Apr 14 '17 at 8:33
  • 1
    @Moo John Simpson has a nice story in one of his books about a Dutch consul helping him out after some paramilitaries destroyed his passport in Angola. The consul wrote him a short letter that said "The Dutch government requests and requires that this man, a citizen of the United Kingdom, a fellow member of the European Economic Community, be offered all protection and assistance he might request". No photograph, just the Dutch consul's stamp. To his astonishment, he was able to travel on the letter through numerous African and European countries for a month afterwards. How times have changed! – Calchas Apr 14 '17 at 9:56
  • 1
    @Calchas I was looking for evidence to support the comment - like this: ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/consular-protection/index_en.htm – Moo Apr 14 '17 at 9:58
  • 1
    @DUman I think its just very common for people to misunderstand their rights, regardless of where it derives from, hence my comment on the question about people over-estimating just how much assistance an embassy is require to provide - many people I have spoken to think that their embassy can get them out of jail, provide full legal assistance, or provide flights home if they run out of money etc etc. – Moo Apr 14 '17 at 12:31

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.