Emergency Financial Assistance

Americans who become destitute overseas may obtain money from relatives and friends in the US in a variety of ways. One is through the US 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.

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 US 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 US dollars.

Other Options

Western Union — Friends or relatives can send money directly to you. All it takes is a phone call; they do not need to visit a Western Union office.  Western union accepts Visa and MasterCard. The US toll-free number is 800-325-6000 or 800-325-4276. Your money will arrive in Bridgetown in a matter of hours. There are several locations where you can pick up your funds; call 246-436-6055 for more information.