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Settling abroad: registering with the embassy or consulate
Telling your home county where you are might not be the first thing you will think of doing when settling abroad… Nevertheless, expat citizens of many countries often are advised to register with the embassy or consulate. Though this procedure generally is mandatory, it is preferable to complete it, as consular registration usually offers several benefits. Learn about this free service for expats.
Why register with the embassy or consulate?
Depending on the country you are from, registering with the embassy might allow you to access a number of services for expats such as:
- assistance in the event of an emergency (natural disasters, dangerous situations in your country of residence…) or an accident abroad,
- information from the nearest embassy or consulate (travel alerts and warnings, voting deadlines…),
- easier completion of various administrative formalities (passport issuance, registration of birth abroad, study grant requests, registration to vote abroad, completion of tax forms…).
Registration mostly is voluntary, except for Swiss expats who must always register with their local Swiss representation abroad.
How to register with the embassy or consulate
Most embassies and consulates offer either several registration possibilities (by post, e-mail or fax) or have developed an online registration system. You will need to complete a form and sometimes provide several supporting documents to prove your identity, nationality and place of residence. Many countries will allow expats to register online quickly and easily. For instance:
- Canada - Registration of Canadians Abroad
- USA - Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Australia - Travel Registration
- Ireland - Citizen’s Registration
- Netherlands - Kompass online crisis contact system
- South Africa - Registration of South Africans Abroad (ROSA)
- Singapore - eRegister
Once you have registered with your embassy or consulate, you will need to update your data if:
- your contact details change,
- your civil status changes,
- you are going back to your home country.
To find out more about:
Find the nearest embassy or consulate in your country on the World embassy page.