Emergency Financial Assistance

8AM – 8PM weekdays; 9AM – 3PM Saturday
202-647-5225

The following are instructions for sending money to a U.S. citizen in an emergency financial situation abroad. When you use this service, a Department of State trust account is established in the recipient’s name in order to forward funds overseas. There is a $30 processing fee. We do not accept personal checks. Your money order or cashier’s check must be made payable to the Department of State. Upon receipt, we send a telegram to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad authorizing next workday disbursement. The recipient must contact the Embassy or Consulate to arrange receipt. The forwarding of funds will be delayed if you fail to provide the recipient’s name and overseas location. Funds are normally disbursed in the foreign country’s currency and not in U.S. dollars.

Sending Funds by Western Union

This is the fastest, most convenient and least expensive option to transfer funds to someone in Finland. The closest Western Union agent in Helsinki is located at Stockmann’s Department Store on Mannerheimintie. For more detailed information, please visit Western Union’s web site, http://www.westernunion.com.

If you have a major credit card, you may telephone Western Union at 1-800-325-6000 or 4176. You may transfer money directly, or–for countries in which Western Union does not have offices–with the assistance of the U.S. Department of State. If the latter, please tell your local Western Union agent that you wish to purchase a money order for the desired amount plus $30 (our fee) and made payable to the Department of State. A message with your name, address, and telephone number, as well as the name and overseas location of the recipient, must accompany the money order. Western Union charges a fee based on the amount sent. The money order and message are sent to:

Overseas Citizens Services (OCS)
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

Funds are normally received electronically in OCS within several hours. We have a Western Union checkwriter in our office and an officer is available to receive funds during the hours listed at the top of the page. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate which is to disburse the funds will be notified and authorized to pay out the funds. However, it is important to understand that the funds are disbursed only during normal office hours, not during weekends or local holidays when the Embassy or Consulate is closed.

Further Assistance

U.S. consuls can assist Americans abroad who are temporarily destitute due to unforeseen circumstances. Americans who find themselves in these circumstances should contact the Consulate General or the State Department’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 (during business hours) or 202-647-5225 (after hours) or send us an email directly at HelsinkiACS@state.gov Consular officers can help destitute Americans contact family, bank, or employer to arrange for transfer of funds. In some cases, these funds can be wired through the Department of State. Information on how a consular officer can help under these circumstances.

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