May 1, 2013
If you need to get money to a destitute U.S. citizen outside the United States, you have a number of available options.
Banks, Credit Card Companies, and Money Transfer Companies
Department of State: As a last resort, the Department of State may be able to help transfer funds through our office in Washington, D.C. to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The U.S. citizen who is abroad should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to inquire about eligibility requirements and additional details. The Department of State charges a $30 processing fee to set up an account and transfer funds overseas. If your account remains open and in use from one fiscal year to the next one (fiscal years begin October 1), we will assess a new $30 fee.
The best and quickest way to send money to the Department of State is by Western Union. The other two options are by express courier service or U.S. mail and can take from several days to several weeks. When sending funds, you must include your name, address, and telephone number, and the destitute individual’s full name and location (city and country) on the check. We transfer funds daily during normal business hours and process funds arriving after-hours during the next business day.
Western Union: Be aware that some U.S. states place restrictions on the use of Quick Collect by phone or the Internet. Western Union can inform you which states have such restrictions. NOTE: Western Union will charge you a money transfer fee based on the dollar amount you are sending. Ask about the fee structure. This fee is separate from the $30 processing fee that Department of State charges to set up an account and transfer funds.
There are three ways to send money to the Department of State by Western Union:
(1) Call Western Union's Quick Collect service at 1-800-238-5772 if you have a MasterCard or Visa credit card you can use. Western Union has a limit on the amount of money you can transmit by credit card within a seven-day period. You may need to use a second credit card to send money exceeding the initial limit within a particular seven-day period.
(2) Internet: If you have a MasterCard or Visa credit card, visit Western Union’s website.
(3) Cash: If you want to pay for a Quick Collect transaction using cash, you can visit any Western Union location in person.
This is usually the least expensive Western Union option.
Express Courier Service or U.S. Postal Service mail. NOTE: Express courier service delivery may take 3-4 days to reach our office. U.S. Postal Service mail may take 3-4 weeks because of the Department of State’s internal mail-screening security procedures. We do not recommend these methods for emergencies or other urgent situations.
We accept cashier’s checks or money orders only.
Make the check or money order payable to "Department of State, Overseas Citizens Services (OCS)" for the required amount plus the $30 processing fee.
Send the check or money order, along with any instructions, to:
U.S. Department of State
Overseas Citizens Services, SA-29 (4th Floor)
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Bank Wire Transfer: Not currently available.