From 1 June 2018 legal basis for consular assistance. What does this entail?

If something happens during your stay in Spain, you can seek assistance from the Belgian consulate. After all, consular assistance for Belgians abroad has been around for years.

In the past, however, consular assistance was not regulated or defined by law. However, from 1 June 2018, there is a legal basis for circumstances in which consular assistance can be provided.

In what situations can I appeal to the consultation?

The new law lays down a number of specific situations in which you can expect help or assistance:

- death;
- serious accident;
- victim of a serious crime;
- an unsettling disappearance;
- arrest or detention;
- extreme emergency;
- consular crisis;
- International child abduction where the child and/or parent is Belgian.

You can then contact the consultancy for help.

Note: before you can appeal to the consulate, you need to prove that all other assistance options have been exhausted by third parties. Think for example of assistance from an employer, your health insurance fund, tour operators or relatives. Assistance is therefore considered a last resort.

Only for Belgians and certain EU citizens

Consular assistance is available only to Belgians and unrepresented EU citizens. The latter are EU citizens whose home country does not have a consulate in the region.

Are there any restrictions?

The law also points out your responsibilities. Thus, there will be situations where you are not entitled to consular assistance. For example, if you take excessive risks without applicable insurance, you will not always be entitled to consular assistance.

The law also makes reference to problem countries. For example, if you are travelling to a country whose FPS Foreign Affairs has issued a negative travel advice, or to a country in which an armed conflict is raging, in principle you cannot apply for consular assistance. Fortunately, this is not the case for Spain as yet.

In which cities can I find a Belgian consultancy?

Belgium has several consulates in Spain. You will find the Belgian consulate general in Madrid. The other consulates are located in Alicante, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and in Santa Cruz.

Find more information on Belgian consular services in Spain.

Share this post?


Legal notice: Blog posts enjoy copyright protection and may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

English (UK)