Emergency Financial Assistance

Obtaining Funds in an Emergency

Americans traveling abroad sometimes run out of funds either because of imprudence, robbery or other unforeseen circumstances. Destitute citizens may be entitled to financial assistance, but they must demonstrate that they have no other sources of income and are unable to receive financial assistance from friends or relatives.  Frequently, individuals may feel they are destitute when in fact they are simply low on cash. Remember that credit cards, debit cards and ATM cards may also be used to obtain cash or pay bills. Family or friends in the U.S. can send funds through the procedures described below. The role of the Embassy in such cases is to help the person contact others in the U.S. who will be able to send funds to the person in distress.

The Embassy is not able to loan cash to individuals except under certain conditions. Americans seeking financial assistance must exhaust all other options first. We will ask an American to first make collect telephone calls to relatives or friends in the United States requesting funds to be transferred to Majuro. Money transfers may be accomplished through the following means:

Funds may be transferred directly to the destitute person through Western Union.


Funds may be transferred to Majuro through the Department of State’s Overseas Citizens Services:

To assist U.S. citizens sometimes face emergencies while overseas. The Department of State has established a secure account so that friends and relatives can safely send money to help. The stranded U.S. citizen can then contact the Embassy to make an appointment to receive the money. A fee of $30 will be charged by the Department of State to process the money transfer.

Money can be transferred by Western Union or mail. You always need to include the U.S. citizen’s name and location (city and country) on the transfer. The Department can process these transfers during business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm (EST).  If a transfer is received after hours, it will be processed the next business day.

Western Union: This is usually the fastest way to send money. There are three ways to do it:

If you have a MasterCard or Visa credit card, you can call Western Union’s Quick Collect service at 1-800-634-3422:

  • The “code city” is “OVERSEASEMERGENCY, DC.”
  • The “pay to” name is “Department of State.”
  • Use your telephone number as the account number.
  • Ask the operator to add the name and location of the U.S. citizen you are sending money to in the “reference” field.

If you have a MasterCard or Visa credit card, you can visit Western Union’s website:

  • Click on “Make Payment.”
  • Choose a payment type.
  • Choose “Other Billers.”
  • Select code city “OVERSEAS CITIZEN SERVICES.”
  • Follow the instructions to register.

If you want to pay in cash, you can visit any Western Union location in person:

  • This is the cheapest way to send money.
  • Call 1-800-325-6000 to find the closest location.
  • Complete a blue payment form.
  • Include the name and location of the U.S. citizen you are sending money to on the form.
  • A $30 processing fee will be deducted by the Department of State during the transfer.
  • The final amount received overseas will be $30 less than what you send so you should include it in the total.
  • Western Union charges additional fees for its services.

U.S. Mail or Courier Service:  Overnight or courier mail may take up to 10 business days to reach us. Regular mail may take 3-4 weeks to reach us, due to security procedures.  We do not recommend this method for urgent situations or emergencies.

Personal checks are not accepted. Send a cashier’s check or money order, payable to “Department of State,” for the required amount plus the $30 processing fee, to:

Overseas Citizen Services, Department of State
SA-29, 4th Floor
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20520

  • Include the name and location of the U.S. citizen you are sending money to.
  • Include your name, address and telephone number.