EU rules on consular protection

Although primary responsibility for providing consular protection to nationals in non-EU countries lies with their home government, every EU Member State is legally committed to help any EU citizen whose country has no embassy/consulate in that country under the same conditions as own nationals.

Basic principles

More information about EU citizenship is available on the European Commission's online information portal, Your Europe.


Detailed rules

  • Decision 95/553/EC – consular protection for EU citizens

  • Decision 96/409/CSFP – establishing an emergency travel document – for issue to EU citizens in countries where their country of origin has no permanent diplomatic or consular representation.


EU guidelines

European Union guidelines on the implementation of the consular Lead State concept

Aiming to further strengthen cooperation between different EU Member States' embassies/consulates, these guidelines set out specifically what the "lead state" should do, both before and during emergencies, to ensure EU citizens get the help they need.

The main tasks of the lead state are detailed in section 2.1 of the guidelines.