Emergency Financial Assistance

U.S. consular officers, in certain situations, can assist Americans abroad who are temporarily destitute due to unforeseen circumstances. Americans who find themselves in need of emergency financial assistance should contact American Citizen Services at U.S. Embassy Budapest or the State Department’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 (Monday – Friday 8 am – 10 pm Easter Time; Saturday 10 am – 3 pm Eastern Time) or 202-647-5225 (after hours). Consular officers can help destitute Americans contact family, friends, a bank, or an employer to arrange for the transfer of funds.  In some cases, these funds can be wired through the Department of State.  For information on how a consular officer can help under these circumstances, see here.

Fund transfers from the U.S. to Hungary are typically straightforward. Most people can arrange for family or friends to send them money through commercial channels with the help of a collect phone call.  Funds sent through services such as Western Union are the fastest and easiest.  There are many Western Union offices in Hungary, including at many post offices.  Although there is a mechanism for transferring funds through the Department of State, it is slower and more complex than through commercial channels in Hungary.

Emergency Contact

In case of emergency, call American Citizen Services:

From within Hungary, dial (061) 475-4164 (Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm) or (061) 475-4400 (after hours)

From the United States, call 011-36-1-475-4464 (during business hours) or 011-36-1-475-4400 (after hours).

Americans who find themselves destitute in Hungary may obtain money from relatives and friends in the U.S. in a variety of ways. One is through the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) office. The fee for this service is $30, but it is not necessarily the fastest way to receive money and may only be used in an emergency. A quicker and only slightly more expensive way to obtain money is to have it sent directly to the recipient through a Western Union Worldwide Money Transfer (see “Other Options for Sending Money” section below).

U.S. Department of State

If the options above are not viable, the U.S. Department of State may be able to help transfer funds to a destitute U.S citizen overseas through our office in Washington, D.C. to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.  The destitute U.S. citizen who is abroad should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to inquire about eligibility requirements and additional details. The U.S. Department of State charges a $30 processing fee once per fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) to set up an account and transfer funds overseas. When sending money for the first time, please be sure to add the State Department’s $30 fee to the amount you intend to send the recipient.

The quickest way to send money to the U.S. Department of State is by Western Union.  In addition, you may send funds using express courier service or U.S. mail, which can take from several days to several weeks to arrive at the Department.

When sending funds, you must include:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • telephone number
  • Recipient’s full name and location (city and country)

We transfer funds daily during normal business hours (Monday – Friday 8AM – 5PM Eastern Time) and process funds arriving after-hours during the next business day.

Western Union

All transactions must be processed through Western Union’s Quick Collect Service. Be aware that some U.S. states place restrictions on the use of the Quick Collect Service by phone or the Internet. Some states also restrict the amount of funds any one person can transfer within a given period of time. 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 their fee structure. Their fee is separate from and in addition to the $30 processing fee that the U.S. Department of State charges to set up an account.

There are three ways to send money to the U.S. Department of State by Western Union:

  1. Call Western Union’s Quick Collect Customer Service at 1-800-238-5772.
    Please provide the following information to the agent:

    • The “code city” for the U.S. Department of State is, – “OVERSEASEMERGENCY DC.”
    • The “pay to” name is – “U.S. Department of State, Overseas Citizens Services (OCS).”
    • The “account number” requested should be the name of the country where the funds are intended and the recipient’s last name. i.e. China-Douglas, France-Johnson, etc.
    • Provide the agent with the full name and location (city and country) of the U.S. citizen for whom the funds are intended.
  2. Internet: If you have a MasterCard or Visa credit card, visit Western Union’s website or call Western Union’s Quick Collect Customer Service at 1-800-238-5772 for processing assistance.
    Click here for step-by-step instructions on processing an internet transaction.
  3. In Person Cash Payments: If you want to process a Quick Collect transaction using cash, you can visit any Western Union location in person.
    • Call 1-800-325-6000 to find the Western Union location nearest you.
    • Request a Quick Collect form and complete fields #1 and #2 only. Once both fields are completed sign the form.

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-17 (10th Floor)
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

  • Include the full name and location (city and country) of the U.S. citizen recipient.
  • Include your full name, address, and telephone number.

Other Options for Sending Money

Western Union – Friends or relatives can send money directly to you. All it takes is a phone call; they do not need to visit a Western Union office. Western Union accepts Visa and MasterCard. The U.S. toll-free number is 800-325-6000 or 800-325-4176. Your money will arrive in Budapest within an hour. There are several locations where you can pick up your funds; call 266-6411, a number that is available 24 hours a day. https://www.westernunion.com/hu/en/home.html