Emergency Financial Assistance

Americans who become destitute overseas may obtain money from relatives and friends in the United States in a variety of ways. One is through the U.S. 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, or other wire transfer services such as MoneyGram.

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. The telephone number is 202-647-5225.

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 U.S. 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 U.S. dollars.