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Emergency Consular Assistance in Tenerife

The British and Irish Consulates were previously eager for their respective citizens to register their residence in Tenerife. This not only assisted them with statistical information as to the number of citizens they have to cater for, but it allowed them to provide quicker and easier advice and assistance should a citizen suddenly require consular help.

However, take-up for the LOCATE scheme was so low that it was withdrawn in May 2013.

Today, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office instead directs expats to follow its news and services via Twitter and Facebook.

EMERGENCIES / LOST PASSPORT

What happens if you are in Tenerife and are robbed or otherwise lose all of your money or documents?

If your passport is lost or stolen, an Emergency Travel Document can be applied for here:

https://www.gov.uk/emergency-travel-document

Both the British and Irish Consulates will only lend cash in very exceptional circumstances. At best, they are likely to lend £100 and possibly enough for one-way airfare back to your home country. Being highly trusting folk, they will take your passport (assuming you haven’t already lost it!) and issue you with an single-use Emergency Travel Document. Your passport will then be returned to you after you repay the loan amount in full.

In most instances, the Consulates will be more inclined to help you contact relatives and ask them to transfer money to you, e.g. via Moneygram or Western Union. The Irish Consulate can actually arrange such transfer of funds for an administration fee.

The UK and Irish Consulates will assist in the event that a citizen is the victim of crime. However, such assistance typically consists only of advice, or assistance in communicating with relatives etc. They can recommend English speaking lawyers and interpreters, assist with the transfer of funds and if necessary, can help to arrange your repatriation. However, they cannot pay your legal fees, investigate a crime, give legal advice or become involved in any legal proceedings.

Hospitalisation

If you are hospitalised whilst in Tenerife, the British Consul will try to contact you within 24 hours of being informed of your admission to hospital. Priority is given to victims of violent crime. They can help to contact relatives and friends and can help to liaise with your medical or travel insurance company. In some instances they may be able to assist with translations.

Arrest or Imprisonment

If you are arrested or detained, you should ask to see your Consul, who will try to get in touch within 24 hours. They can help communicate with family and friends, arrange for transfer of funds or help to purchase permitted items to make you more comfortable. They cannot provide legal advice but they can recommend qualified local lawyers who can assist you. In addition to providing moral support and practical advice, they can ensure that your legal rights as a prisoner or detainee are respected and they can take action where such rights are not granted.

UK Nationals whose legal proceedings have been terminated and who have 6 months or more jail term to complete can potentially apply to be transferred to a UK based prison. The Consul can advise on the options and can guide you as to how to make the application. However, if you do transfer to the UK, any legal appeals, applications or challenges in respect of your sentence will be extremely difficult and should therefore be exhausted in Spain before applying for a transfer to the UK.

Death in Tenerife

Once informed of a death of one of their citizens, the relevant Consulate will take steps to establish that relatives or friends are aware of the death and to try and establish the deceased’s wishes in terms of funeral arrangements. They can liaise between relatives, the authorities and the undertakers or cremators, as applicable. They can recommend local funeral directors and undertakers. They can also provide information regarding repatriation of the body, where required.

Every death in Tenerife must be registered with the local authorities. The Consulate can assist with obtaining death certificates and medical or police reports. One advantage with registering the death via the Consulate is the possibility of obtaining a British or Irish Death Certificate, which can potentially simplify matters when later applying for probate.