Emergency Financial Assistance for U.S. Citizens Abroad


What financial help can I get abroad?

  • Contacting Home: If you need financial assistance while abroad, start first by asking family, friends, or your employer if they can help. The American Citizen Services team at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can help you reach them, if necessary.
  • Lost Credit Cards: Report lost or stolen cards to your credit card company. Ask them to send a replacement card via express delivery, if available. Your credit card company may also be able to verify your account to your hotel, airline, doctor, or hospital. This may mean you can check out of your hotel and get new airline tickets or other emergency services. If you need a replacement credit card, you may need to present proof of identity such as a passport in order to get it. Ask about the benefits your credit card company provides you overseas before you travel abroad. This includes raising credit limits in case of emergency.
  • Wiring Money Directly: Your loved ones of employer can use a commercial money transfer service, such as Western Union or MoneyGram, to wire money overseas. You will need to present proof of identity such as a passport to collect the money. See our information about replacement of lost or stolen U.S. passports abroad. Also, be wary of International Financial Scams!
  • Banks: Your loved ones or employer may also be able to deposit funds into your existing bank account. This allows you to use an ATM card to access funds quickly.
  • Overseas Bank Transfers: Your loved ones can also transfer money directly from a U.S. bank to a foreign bank where you can get funds. Some foreign banks require that a U.S. citizen establish a foreign bank account to use this option. These transfers can take several days.
    • You can call the nearest embassy or consulate or the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (888) 407-4747. From abroad, call +1 202-501-4444. We may be able to help U.S. citizens abroad who need money, through two options:
    • Sending Money through the U.S. Department of State: Family or friends may send funds via the U.S. Department of State to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. See Sending Money Overseas to a U.S. Citizen. The U.S. Department of State charges a $30.00 fee to create an account and transfer funds. If the account is open for more than a year, they charge the fee each year.
    • Repatriation Loans: In some cases, the U.S. government may be able to issue a loan to a destitute U.S. citizen seeking to return to the United States. This loan may cover transportation expenses, short-term food, lodging, and fees. It also covers medical expenses, if needed, to stabilize the U.S. citizen for return to the United States. Your passport will be limited at the time the loan is issued and you will not be eligible for a new full-validity passport until you repay the loan. These loans are very case-specific. The Embassy or Consulate can explain their requirements and limits when you apply.

What help is available for U.S. citizens with medical emergencies abroad?

Consult the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate’s website for a list of hospitals and doctors. Your hotel concierge may also be a good resource. The availability and quality of medical services can vary greatly. Read the Health Information section in our country information pages.

Eligible U.S. citizens who are not returning to the United States may get an EMDA II loan. They can use it for emergency medical, dietary, and other aid. Your U.S. passport will be limited when the loan is issued. You will not get a new passport until the loan is fully paid. These loans are very case-specific. The Embassy or Consulate can explain their requirements or limits when you apply for the loan.

Destitute U.S. citizens in need of help overseas should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Or they can contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at (888) 407-4747 (or from overseas +1 202-501-4444). They can get more information about other options and eligibility requirements.


The information above is provided for general information only and may not be applicable in a particular case. You should ask private legal counsel about interpreting specific U.S. or foreign laws.

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Last Updated: February 29, 2024