Foreign Office assistance sees Brits coming home for Christmas

Foreign Office assistance sees Brits coming home for Christmas

Foreign & Commonwealth Office staff across the world saved Christmas for more than 1,000 people last year, and have already helped hundreds more this yuletide season.

New figures released by the FCO show that in the fortnight before Christmas 2015, staff at its embassies around the world came to the aid of 1,242 Brits stuck overseas after losing their passports or letting them expire.

The teams stepped in to issue emergency travel documents, enabling people to fly home for Christmas.

The work has continued in 2016 - more than 714 emergency travel documents have been issued already this December.

The FCO has issued the statistics as it reminds travellers how important it is to look after their passports and belongings when they are abroad.

Obtaining an emergency travel document costs time, money and disruption to your overseas trip.

Foreign office minister for consular policy, Tobias Ellwood, said: “Our staff operate in far flung places across the globe to help Brits in all manner of difficulties and it’s extremely rewarding when they can play the role of Christmas angels to help so many people get back to their families in time for Christmas.

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“But it’s important that people take responsibility when travelling and keep their passport safe, otherwise Christmas can become a stressful and costly experience.”

The FCO is currently running a campaign, Passport Hustle, which provides tips and advice on how British nationals can keep their passports safe overseas.

The figures have been published at the same time as the annual Helping British Nationals Abroad report.

The report shows that the FCO’s consular service staff assisted more than 23,000 Brits in 2015/16, with a range of issues, from arrests to injuries and deaths overseas.

The report provides an insight into how the global network of British embassies, high commissions and consulates can help and give advice to British nationals overseas.

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