EU citizens in need of emergency assistance whilst travelling outside the EU may now seek assistance from the embassy or consulate of any other EU member state.
EU Directive 2015/37 became effective as of 1 May 2018 and dictates that when an EU citizen is travelling or living in a country outside of the EU and the country does not contain an embassy or consulate from the country that they are a citizen of, such a citizen will be considered “unrepresented” and they are entitled to seek help from the embassy or consulate of any other EU member state.
Unrepresented EU citizens are entitled to receive the same level of consular protection as nationals of that country. The assistance sought may include:
- Arrest or detention;
- Being a victim of crime;
- A serious accident or serious illness;
- Relief and repatriation in case of an emergency; and
- A need for emergency travel documents as provided for in Decision.
Unrepresented EU citizens must prove their EU citizenship (e.g. passport, national identity card or similar document) in order to receive assistance.