Other Consular Services
Welfare and Whereabouts:
If your family member is missing or you are concerned about the welfare of a family member, the Consular Section can assist you. Keep in mind that if your relative is located, you will be notified of this ONLY if he/she has signed an authorization or given verbal permission to a Consular Officer to waive the Privacy Act provisions.
When you contact the American Citizens Services office (ACS) about these types of cases, please have at hand the name of the person you are looking for, his/her US passport number, date and place of birth, travel plans and the date when he/she entered this Consular district.
If you are arrested, you should ask the authorities to notify a US Consul in the American Citizens Services office (ACS). Local government authorities are obliged by treaty to notify the appropriate American Consular Officials of the arrest and detention of a US citizen who requests that such notification be made. Consuls cannot secure your release from jail because when you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its local laws. Consular Officers can work to protect your legitimate interests and ensure that you are not discriminated against because you are an American citizen. They can provide you with a list of local attorneys, visit you, inform you generally about local laws, and contact your family and friends. Consular officers can transfer money and clothing to the prison authorities from your family and friends. They can try to obtain relief if you are held under inhumane or unhealthful conditions.
Illness While In Barbados:
Since many US insurance policies do not cover expenses incurred overseas, travelers may wish to purchase special insurance covering medical care overseas before leaving the US. Doctors and hospitals require payment upon completion of services rendered. The Office of American Services provides a limited list of doctors, but takes no responsibility for the professional competence of those doctors listed.
Help for American Victims of Crime in Barbados (PDF-80KB)
Deaths of Americans:
When an American dies abroad, a consular officer notifies the American's family and informs them about options and costs for disposition of remains. Costs for preparing and returning the body to the US can be high and must be paid by the family. At times, local laws and procedures can make returning a body to the US a complex process. A Consular Officer prepares a Report of Death based on the local death certificate. This report is then forwarded to the next of kin for use in estate and insurance matters. If you are in the US at the time of notification of a US national's death, we suggest that you contact the Citizens Emergency Center at the Department of State in Washington, DC for assistance, telephone 202-647-5225.
Assistance In an Evacuation/Disaster:
If you are caught in a natural disaster or civil disturbance, you should inform your relatives as soon as possible that you are safe, or contact a US Consular Officer who will pass that message to your family through the Department of State. Be resourceful. US officials will do everything they can to contact and advise you, but they must give priority to Americans who have been hurt or are in immediate danger. In a disaster, Consular Officers face the same constraints you do--lack of electricity, fuel, phone lines, and transportation.
Americans who become destitute overseas may obtain money from relatives and friends in the US in a variety of ways. One is through the US Department of State's Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) office. The Consular fee for this service is $30, but it is not necessarily the fastest way to receive money and may only be used in an emergency. A relatively faster and only slightly more expensive way to obtain money is to have it sent directly to the recipient through a Western Union Worldwide Money Transfer.
Sending Money Through Overseas Citizens Services (OCS):
The Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) office hours are:
8:15 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time, weekdays; and 9:00 am-3:00 pm Eastern Time on Saturdays.
OCS' telephone number is 202-647-5225.
Instructions for sending money to a US citizen requiring emergency funds abroad:
For a $30 processing fee, the Department of State establishes a trust account in the recipient's name to forward the funds overseas. Personal checks are not accepted. When OCS receives your money order or cashier's check payable to the Department of State, OCS sends a telegram to the appropriate US Embassy or Consulate authorizing disbursement of funds to the recipient the following workday. The recipient must contact the Embassy or Consulate to arrange for the receipt of the funds. Please note that the forwarding of funds will be delayed if you fail to provide the recipient's overseas location. Funds are normally disbursed in the country's local currency, not in US dollars.
Other Options For Sending Money:
WESTERN UNION -- Friends or relatives can send money directly to you. All it takes is a phone call; they do not need to visit a Western Union office. Western union accepts Visa and MasterCard. The US toll-free number is 800-325-6000 or 800-325-4276. Your money will arrive in Bridgetown in a matter of hours. There are several locations where you can pick up your funds; call 246-436-6055 for more information.
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