Travel SOS: Overseas embassies

Susan is planning an extensive trip across Europe, but a friend has warned her that some of the countries she plans on visiting don’t have Australian embassies. Should she be worried?

Q. Susan
After dreaming of it for many years, my husband and I are planning an extensive holiday through Europe, visiting 18 countries. When we showed a friend our itinerary, she thought that some of the places we were visiting, did not have Australian embassies, namely Bulgaria and Romania. Is this something we should be worried about?

Hi Susan. Your friend is right, Australia does not maintain consulate offices in every country and neither Romania nor Bulgaria contain Australian missions. If Australia does not maintain consular offices in a particular country, then it may be the case that such services will instead be provided by a Canadian embassy.

The agreement with Canada extends to 19 countries, but does not include Romania or Bulgaria, although there are Canadian embassies in both of those countries.

If there is an international crisis or emergency in a country you are visiting and there is no Australian embassy or consulate, the Government’s Smart Traveller website recommends making contact with the UK, Canadian or US embassy.

Consular assistance in also available around the clock by calling +61 2 6261 3305 or texting +61 421 269 080 from anywhere around the world. Any person you speak to will then be able to put you in contact with the nearest consular contact (most likely the Australian embassy in Serbia for Bulgaria and Romania) and they will advise you on what to do next.

In 2016-17, Australia’s embassies, consulates, high commissions, honorary consuls and the Canadian missions with whom Australia shares some consular services provided assistance to 12,454 Australians overseas. That’s slightly more than one case for every 1000 Australian international travellers or 0.1 per cent.

With consular assistance available over the phone or via text, we don’t think you have a great deal to worry about on your European vacation. Enjoy!

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