Arrests Abroad

If you are arrested while abroad for any reason, it is important that you know what the U.S. government CAN and CANNOT do for you.
The U.S. Consular Office CAN:

  • Visit you in jail after being notified of your arrest
  • Give you a list of local attorneys (the U.S. government cannot assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of these individuals or recommend a particular attorney)
  • Notify your family and/or friends and relay requests for money or other aid - but only with your authorization
  • Intercede with local authorities to make sure that your rights under local laws are fully observed and that you are treated humanely, according to internationally-accepted standards
  • Protest mistreatment or abuse to the appropriate authorities

The U.S. Consular Office CANNOT: 

  • Demand your immediate release or get you out of jail or the country
  • Represent you at trial or give legal counsel
  • Pay legal fees and/or fines with U.S. government funds

Additional information can be found on the US State Department’s website:

Page last modified November 4, 2016