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What Are Consular Services?
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Consular Services or Consular Assistance is the aid provided by diplomatic agents of a country. The aforementioned aid is given to citizens of their respective countries who happen to be living in another country or who may be travelling.
Depending on the kind of service, which may vary from country to country, the service may operate around the clock, seven days in the week. The aid can involve anything from helping to replace lost documents to support in case of a medical emergency.
By and large, below are some of the consular services that are provided to citizens of respective countries:
• Help during a crisis-situation or emergency in case of civil unrest or in case of a natural or man-made disaster.
• Aid in case of an accident, illness or fatality
• Helping with overseas payments of social welfare benefits
• Replacement of travel documents like Passport
• Registering citizen birth abroad
As the natures of these services are often emergency-related, other personal issues may not be extended for citizens in another country. These may include:
• Aiding with a travel agency, banking or postal services
• Legal advice
• Helping to locate lost valuables or storing baggage
• Interpretation and translation services
How to apply for Consular Services?
In case of an emergency, the citizen in distress must approach and contact the respective embassy in the country that they are currently travelling in. The embassy services, in turn, will help with advice and aid in respect to the situation that citizens may find themselves embroiled in. In most cases, embassy services can also be contacted via email or telephone as well. Before travelling to another country, it is important to note down important phone numbers of their relevant embassies as well to aid in any crisis if the need arises.
Embassy services can also certify and attest documents that are submitted by citizens. Depending on the country that you are currently in, it is advisable to crosscheck to see which kinds of documents are valid in the same, and which need to be registered separately, for example national driving licence vs. international driving licence.
In many cases, several national embassies also outsource consular services to third-party VISA and Passport services firms like VFS Global and Cox & Kings Global Services. In cases like this, citizens can visit these firms online and enquire about the said outsourcing of consular services. These outsourced consular services, like official embassies, may help with attestation as well as other relevant queries and needs that different citizens may have. It is important to check, though, if your country’s embassy services do in fact outsource their consular services first.
Arvind Sharma is an employee of Cox and Kings Global Services. Arvind likes to contribute information on visa and visa related services. He explains in detail what are the consular and embassy services and how embassies outsource consular services to the private agencies.
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