Americans traveling abroad sometimes run out of funds because of either imprudence, robbery or other unforeseen circumstances. Destitute citizens may be entitled to financial assistance, but they must demonstrate that they have no other sources of income and are unable to receive financial assistance from friends or relatives. In the limited circumstances under which the Embassy can entertain a loan application, the repayment guidelines are strict and the applicant’s valid U. S. passport will be limited by placing a PLES stamp (Passport Limitation Endorsement Stamp) on it thereby rendering the passport valid for a few days after they arrive in the United States. The Applicant cannot obtain a U.S. passport again until the loan is repaid.
If you express the need to be repatriated, please understand that this process takes a few days, and it is a loan program; the U.S. Government will expect you to pay it back over time, with interest and penalty charges. Your U.S. passport will also be limited and you will not be able receive a new U.S. passport until the loan is paid. You must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- Must be a U.S. citizen.
- Must be destitute and would experience hardship if not returned to the U.S.
- Must have no friends or family in the U.S. who are willing to assist financially.
Upon your request, and upon signing an authorization for release of information under the Privacy Act, the Consular Section will contact your family and friends to arrange for money to be wired to you. If no resources are found, you can apply for a repatriation loan so we can purchase a one-way ticket for direct return to the United States. In this case you will have to sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the loan to the U.S. Government within a certain time period.
For more information, please call the Consular Section at 0 202 363 6451 Monday to Thursday, 7.15 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Fridays, 7.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m. This process cannot be initiated when the Embassy is closed.
Frequently, individuals may feel they are destitute when in fact they are simply low on cash. Remember that credit cards, debit cards and ATM cards may also be used to obtain cash or pay bills. Family or friends in the U.S. can send funds through the procedures described here. The role of the Embassy in such cases is to help the person contact others in the U.S. who will be able to send funds to the person in distress.