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Embassies: Opening Hours

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Chair, Committee of Selection

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on out-of-hours consular assistance by UK consulates; and whether it has changed in the last 18 months.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides 24-hour support to British nationals in difficulty abroad through its consular staff abroad and in London. This support is described in our publication “Support for British nationals abroad: A guide”, which is available on the FCO website at:

The Travel and Living Abroad pages on the FCO website provide details of how to contact our staff 24 hours a day, specifically at: and:

The FCO's 24 hour telephone number is also carried on all consular leaflets and publications. Facebook users can link directly to the “find an Embassy” facility on the FCO website.

The FCO's global response centre (GRC) was launched on 1 April 2009. This changed the way we deliver consular assistance outside of normal office hours. British nationals contacting a British embassy, high commission or consulate out of office hours are redirected to the GRC and charged a local rate for their call. The GRC will handle the majority of inquiries directly. Those that require the urgent attention of a consular officer abroad will be passed to the relevant British embassy, high commission or consulate, so that a consular officer can attend. Such cases might include the death of a British national in custody; rape or sexual assault; kidnaps; and cases involving vulnerable groups such as children or elderly people; and issuing emergency travel documents (ETDs) in cases of genuine emergency such as the death or serious illness of a relative requiring urgent travel.

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