Be sure to register with the U.S. embassy or consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Registration makes your presence and whereabouts known, in case a consular officer needs to contact you in an emergency. During a disaster overseas, American consular officers can assist in evacuation if necessary. But they cannot assist you if they do not know where you are.
The UNL Education Abroad Office registers students on UNL-administered programs. Find out if your program is registering your trip through the State Department's travel registration website. If it is not, or if you are traveling on your own, you can still register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration website.
In case of arrest: Keep in mind at all times that you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. It is your responsibility to be aware of local laws. You are not protected by U.S. laws. The authority of consular officials to intercede on your behalf is very limited. If you're arrested and/or detained abroad, an official can visit you, inform you of your rights, and provide a list of reliable local attorneys. At your request and expense, they can notify your family or friends, arrange purchases of food or clothing, schedule appointments with doctors and dentists, and obtain visitation permission for family and friends.
In the case of a drug-related arrest: You may find it much harder to find a decent lawyer and you may face very severe penalties and/or deportation. Drug possession—including marijuana possession—is punishable by death in some countries.
In case of illness or accident: Embassy or consulate personnel can make sure you're in an approved hospital, check on fairness in billing procedures, and explain your payment options. They can also provide lists of English speaking doctors.
If you're stranded or broke: Notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Officially prohibited from furnishing cash or loaning money, officials can suggest possible sources of financial assistance. Depending upon the ability of your family to get you out of trouble and the current status of State Department funds, you may receive a transportation loan.
In case of emergency
- Return to your host family, dormitory, or apartment and remain there until given further notice.
- Contact your program director or consulate for instruction. Avoid going to the US Embassy or Consulate. You can get the information you need by phone or internet.
- Contact your family to let them know that you are safe.