Lost and stolen passports: consulates VS embassies
You're in the middle of a visit to one of France's big cities when you realize all of a sudden that you've lost your passport: What now?
Contrary to what we might think, the role of embassies is not really to help with its nationals abroad (except in certain cases) but actually, this role mainly falls into the consulates responsibilities. Embassies have a diplomatic and political mission to represent whilst consulates have a clear administrative role.
The consulate is a representation of a country’s administration in a foreign state. Its actions concern not only its own citizens and strong>nationals, but also residents or those transiting the country.
The main missions of a consulate are:
- the establishment of official documents and their renewal;
- managing the civil state;
- informing its citizens;
- assistance and financial aid for nationals according to and depending on their situation;
- support for citizens who are arrested or in gaol.
This is your consulate which must give you priority for all of your requests and actions.
Officially, embassies can’t do anything to help individuals abroad except in certain particular cases (political interaction for example), or however, it would be likely to take over files including:
- assistance in the event of death;
- assistance in the event of illness or serious accident;
- assistance in the case of an arrest of detention;
- assistance for victims of violence;
- assistance and repatriation (especially in the case of armed conflict).