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.
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).
Sending Money to the State Department’s Overseas Citizens Services (OCS)
- Office hours: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., EST on weekdays; and 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST on Saturdays
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. Personal checks are not accepted. Your money order or cashier’s check must be made payable to the Department of State. Upon receipt, OCS sends a telegram to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad authorizing disbursement on the next working day. 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.
- Western Union – If you have a major credit card, you may telephone Western Union at 1-800-325-6000 or 4176. Otherwise, tell your local Western Union agent that you wish to purchase a money order for the desired amount plus $30 (OCS 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. OCS has a Western Union checkwriter in the OCS office and an officer is available to receive funds during the hours listed above. 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.
- Bankwire – It may take 1 to 3 days to process a bankwire transaction. If you choose this option, tell your bank that you want to wire the desired amount plus $42 to Bank of America, Department of State Branch, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520 at 202-624-4750 via ABA Number: 114000653; Account Number: 7476363838; Account Name: PUPID State Department; Special Instructions: OCS/Trust for benefit of (recipient’s name), Embassy/Consulate (city, country); and include your name and telephone number. The wire instructions must include the recipient’s full name and overseas location. Bank of America notifies OCS when funds are received. The $42 fee includes OCS’ $30 fee and Bank of America’s $12 wire fee.
- Overnight Mail – Obtain cashiers check or money order for the desired amount plus $30 (OCS fee), made payable to the Department of State. Attach a letter with your name, address, and telephone number, as well as the name and location of the overseas recipient. Mail to: Overseas Citizens Services, CA/OCS, Room 4811, Department of State, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520. Delivery of overnight mail to CA/OCS may take 2 to 3 days.
- Regular Mail – Regular mail can take 3 to 4 weeks to reach CA/OCS due to on-going irradiation procedures. We strongly discourage this method for emergency use.
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.