Where the f*** is my PASSPORT???
Hands up if you’ve ever been about to leave your hotel/motel/hostel/friend-of-a-friends house for the airport, and realised your passport is nowhere to be found? Well, this would be a fabulous example of when you’ll need an Australian (or wherever you’re passport’s from) embassy. So, what can a consulate do for you, and where on earth are they?
Now, up until writing this article, and doing the subsequent research for it, I thought embassies and consulates were the same thing. But um, apparently, they’re not… Awkward for me. So which one do you want if you’re in a jam, and in a foreign country? The answer is: (drumroll please) either!! Question number two, what the heck is a consulate? Well, if an embassy deals with diplomats and foreign affairs, a consulate deals with, well, you. And by you I mean, visas, tourists, and small diplomatic matters. That said, they’re essentially mini embassies, and are usually found in the bigger tourist-y cities, but not the capitals. For example, you’ll find consulates in Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich, but in Berlin you’ll find an embassy.
Question three: what kind of problems can an embassy or consulate help you with?
- A lost passport
- If you’re in an accident: they will contact your next of kin
- Uh oh, broken the law? A consulate can help you find legal representation
- Money-changing services
- Useful info about hotels
- Granting visas
I think the most terrifying thing that can happen when you’re overseas is losing your passport, or winding up in jail. Either is no fun whatsoever, and the latter can be a big, big problem. The former however, can be very costly, as while waiting for the lovely people at the consulate to sort the mess out, you’ll have to find a place to stay, and stall your flights. So, to avoid a costly, unpleasant mess, keep your passport on your person at all times, and don’t do anything naughty (and by naughty, I mean illegal)!