Where's the best place to watch the football? And other unusual requests to British Embassy staff

Added 04/06/2013

Through their network of embassies and consular offices, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are there to offer support and assistant to British Nationals travelling throughout the world.

Last year consular staff handled more than 1 million enquiries and supported some 52,135 Brits who were in difficulty abroad.

Amongst the serious requests for help and assistance are a number of bizarre or unusual requests, which although good natured, can distract consular staff from providing help to those people who really need it.

Some of the more bizarre requests have included:

  • A man asked FCO staff in Rome to translate a phrase for a tattoo that he wanted
  • Consular staff in Beijing were asked to help a woman who had bought a pair of football boots that were ‘Made in China’ but were poor quality
  • A woman requested that consular staff in Tel Aviv order her husband to get fit and eat healthily so that they could have children
  • Consular staff in Kuala Lumpur were asked if the FCO could help pay to send their children to an International School
  • A man asked consular staff in Stockholm to check the credentials of a woman whom he had met online
  • A man asked the Consulate in Montreal for information to settle a £1,000 wager on the colour of the British passport
  • A number of consular staff across the world have been asked for the best place to watch the football

Mark Simmonds, Minister for Consular Affairs, said:

“FCO staff help many thousands of British nationals facing serious difficulties around the world every year. We also receive over a million enquiries each year, so it is important that people understand what we can and cannot do to support them when they are abroad. We are not in a position to help people make travel arrangements or social plans, but we do help those who face real problems abroad. “

The FCO can help with the following when you are abroad:

  • Issue you with replacement travel documents
  • Provide information about transferring money
  • Provide help if you are a victim of crime, are ill or in hospital
  • Give you a list of local lawyers, interpreters, doctors or funeral directors
  • Contact you if you are detained abroad
  • Contact friends and family back home for you if you wish

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