Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

One of the highest priorities of the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens incarcerated abroad. We are committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for U.S. citizens. We stand ready to assist incarcerated American citizens and their families within the limits of our authority in accordance with international, domestic, and foreign law.

Should you be arrested or detained by the local authorities, you have the right to contact the Embassy and speak with a Consular Officer.

Consular Assistance to U.S. Prisoners

 We Can:

  • Provide a list of local attorneys who speak English
  • Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen (with their written permission)
  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen and provide reading materials and vitamin supplements, if appropriate
  • Ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care
  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process
  • Upon request, ensure that prison officials permit visits with a member of the clergy of the religion of the detainee’s choice
  • Establish an OCS Trust, if necessary, so friends and family can transfer funds to imprisoned U.S. citizens
  • providing loans to qualified destitute prisoners through the Emergency Medical/Dietary Assistance (EMDA) program

We Cannot:

  • Get U.S. citizens out of jail
  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees