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Emergency Abroad – Who do you call?

When travelling overseas it can be disarming to find yourself in an emergency situation without the systems in place that we’re used to in England and Wales. You’re in a different country, a different culture, those around don’t speak the same language; in the event of an emergency, circumstances may seem heightened by panic.

Emergencies abroad can come in a variety of forms and sizes ranging from political upheaval to having a bank card stolen. At such a time we perhaps appreciate that in the familiar surroundings of home we know what to do and who to call in the event of an emergency, easing some of the stress of an unanticipated situation.

Preparation is key. A little bit of research before a holiday abroad or business trip overseas may offer peace of mind in avoiding any panic caused by an accident abroad.

So that you’re prepared, we’ve supplied a guide on the help and support that can be provided in emergency situations overseas.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

If you have been involved in an emergency abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provide information to next of kin and assistance in providing vital information such as contact with translators and how to transfer monetary funds. Although the FCO provide information they cannot cover costs as this is the responsibility of your travel insurance company.

There are British foreign embassies situated across the world and their duty is to represent the interests of their country and to help aid citizens of their country.

You can call the Consular Assistance team on:

0808 175 8000 (from UK)

+44 20 7008 1500 (from overseas)


Travel Insurance - We would advise that you take out insurance for trip and that you take a hard copy of your travel insurance policy and your insurer’s emergency number with you.

Lost or Stolen Passports – You should report a stolen passport to the police as soon as you can. The FCO can issue you with a temporary passport once you are recognised as a British national. Costs will incur however these can be claimed from your travel insurance. Your stolen passport will be terminated to avoid fraudulent use.

Medical Emergencies – Information will be provided regarding police and legal procedures and you should contact the 24-hour helpline provided by your insurer. If you are hospitalised the FCO will contact your family and can liaise with the insurance company on your behalf.

Deaths Abroad – All deaths must be registered in the country where the person died. Local police will often contact the UK police who will become involved and support the family. If the person who died was travelling with a tour company then the company will often be involved to contact the next of kin and liaise with insurers etc.

Crisis Overseas – During a crisis or civil unrest, leave the country at the earliest opportunity. The FCO can provide information on travel updates and liaise with travel operators.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers deal with all types of travel related accident claims on a No Win, No Fee basis.

For a free consultation call freephone 0808 175 8000 (+44 20 7657 1555 from overseas) or alternatively contact us online. Our UK contact centre is open 24 hours 365 days a year.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have more than 1,450 staff and 18 offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Derby, Merseyside, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.

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