When moving abroad, it is natural to feel anxious about the process and to have lots of unanswered questions. And once you start the process, or finally land in your new country of residence, the nerves can rack up by the thousands. If you’re planning to move abroad, it’s always a good idea to consider leveraging consulate help to make the process smoother and less stressful.
In addition to calling home, getting in touch with the consulate in your new country can be a balm and a great help.
Embassy or consulate- who to contact?
For people who aren’t familiar with these institutions, an embassy and consulate can seem like the same thing. But, there is a difference between them and both of them cannot be contacted for the kind of help you seek.
An embassy is responsible for government-to-government interactions. There is only one embassy office in the host country, mostly located in the capital city. The embassy does not directly serve the nationals of their home country who are traveling to or residing in the host country.
A consulate, on the other hand, aims to provide services to its traveling or residing nationals in the host country. They do not provide employment, travel, legal, or interpreting services. A country can have any number of consulates. They can be established in the capital as well as other important cities.
Some consulates also have a CLO- community liaison officer- who keeps in touch with the nationals living in the area.
Services provided by the consulate
- Renewing passports
- Replacing lost or stolen passports
- Notarizing documents
- Helping with tax returns
- Helping with absentee voting
- Certifying marriages
- Assisting with securing medical or legal assistance
- Birth registrations of nationals born abroad
- Making arrangements in the event of death
- Aiding and providing information about dealing with host country authorities
- Arranging for evacuation or other assistance in emergency situations
Services NOT provided by the consulate
- Performing or granting marriages
- Getting a national out of jail in the host country should they break the law
- Preparing your tax returns
- Arrange helicopters during an evacuation
- Money changing
- Intervening in commercial conflicts on behalf of nationals
- Lend money, pay fines, offer collateral
- Guarantee your entry in the country
Head over to Embassy World to look through a comprehensive database of embassies and consulates around the world.
Again, the moving process does not have to get your nerves all tangled up. Once in your new resident country, help is still at hand. Register online with the embassy or consulate well before you reach abroad.
This will make sure that you have a safe passage for yourself.