What options do EU citizens have, if they are in a non-EU country, where there is no embassy or consulate of their own country?

In such cases, EU citizens should note that they are entitled to request the consular protection of any other EU member state under the same conditions as the nationals of that country. It is to be noted that there are only four countries where all 28 EU countries are represented, which are the United States of America, Russia, China and India. Hence, it is essential that EU citizens are aware of their rights on consular protection.

Indeed, under the provisions of the Directive on Consular Protection (adopted on the 20th of April 2015), any EU citizen in a non-EU country where his/her own national state has no representation is entitled to protection by the consular authorities of any other EU state under the same conditions as the nationals of that country.

The protection offered by embassies/consulates of other EU countries includes among others the following:

  • assistance in cases of death;
  • assistance in cases of serious accident or illness;
  • assistance in cases of arrest or detention;
  • assistance to victims of violent crime;
  • the relief and repatriation of distressed citizens due to a crisis, for instance due to natural disasters, political unrest etc.

For instance, on the 5th of August 2016, on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Cyprus issued an announcement informing Cypriot citizens that there is not a Cypriot consulate in the city where the Games take place (the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Brazil is located in Brasilia, the capital of the country). However, it was further stated that Cypriots who might require consular assistance or protection could contact the Consulates of other EU member states that are present in Rio de Janeiro.