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Introduction To Consular Services

By Expert Author: Arvind Sharma

When you plan an international trip, you need to use consular services. These services assist you to get all the necessary documentation for any kind of travel planned. Since different kind of international trips require different kinds of documentation, consular services cater to all kinds of requirements.

Since the field is so vast, it makes sense to define it in terms of potential activities – Do’s and Don’ts - that are typically needed for international travel. Embassy support is essential during any international travel. More often than not, it may not always be required. However, in case of any event, they can:

• Provide you with replacement travel documents
• Offer travel-related information, advice and consular assistance
• Notify next-to-kin or family emergency contact in case of death, arrest, accident or any form of medical emergency hospitalization.
• Arrange visitation rights with an arrested national
• Support fair and humane treatment of the arrested citizen as per local legal system
• Liaise with the local judicial, police and prison system to provide the information and obtain a official lawyer for the arrested national
• Provide non-financial assistance in case of repatriation, medical emergency or professional attention
• Provide all possible support in the event of civil unrest or natural disaster
• Register a citizen’s birth abroad

There are limitations to embassy services, though. You know, you can’t do everything that you do so easily in your own country. International travellers are bound by quite a few limitations. Here are some services that an Embassy or consulate cannot provide to its citizens:

• Travel booking, postal or banking services
• The foreign exchange services
• The local legal advice or assistance such as posting bails, negotiating special treatment or early release from prison, intervening in local civic or commercial disputes, etc.
• The employment services – arrangement of the local accommodation, translator services, forward mail address or other professional or personal services
• Criminal investigation
• Financial support in terms of loans, stand as guarantor, cashing cheques, paying medical or hospital bills, etc.

These are very generic and standard details. In other words, the support any Embassy or consulate can extend depends on a lot of specific factors such as the foreign policy of the nation, the foreign relations with the particular country and the local support available. It may seem irrelevant to many international travellers. But, you must take them into account as medical, financial, legal or other emergencies are not planned occasions.

About the Author

Arvind Sharma is an employee of Cox and Kings Global Services. Along with wanting to ensure that travellers have extensive information on consular and embassy services, he also prefers to research on the outsourcing of these consular services.

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