Arrest and prison abroad
If, while travelling as a British national, you are arrested or detained overseas, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) or the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate can give advice on local laws and procedures, contact friends and family and help find a lawyer.
If you're arrested
If you're arrested or detained, you should contact the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate as soon as possible - the police might also do this on your behalf.
The British embassy, high commission or consulate will aim to contact you as soon as possible after being told about your arrest or detention.
It will then aim to provide help according to the individual circumstances and local conditions.
The British consulate will also arrange for friends and family to be told:
- that you've been arrested
- details of the arrest
- contact details for you
The FCDO can only give out this information if you have given your permission.
The help the FCDO and British consulate can offer if you've been arrested or are a prisoner includes:
- providing general information about the country, prison conditions and the local legal system (including if legal aid is available)
- providing a list of local lawyers and interpreters
- telling the police or prison doctor about any medical or dental problems with your permission
- helping with complaints about the police or prison (for example, ill treatment, personal safety, discrimination) with your permission
- sending money to you from your family
- sending messages between you and your family
- putting you in touch with the charity Prisoners Abroad
- helping you apply for a transfer to UK where possible
- visiting you when needed
What the FCDO and British consulate can’t do
The FCDO and British consulate won’t be able to:
- get you out of prison or detention
- help you get special treatment
- offer legal advice, start legal proceedings or investigate a crime
- pay for any costs as a result of being arrested
- forward packages sent by friends or family to you
- prevent authorities from deporting you after release
- get involved if you are a dual national and are arrested in a country for which you hold a valid passport, unless there’s a special humanitarian reason to do so
Travelling on an Irish passport
If you're travelling on an Irish passport, you can find useful information at the following links.