A permanent diplomatic mission is known as Embassy and the head of the operation is known as ambassador. Depending on the place and the mission, the embassy has different functions. There are a lot of things embassies or consulates in Paris or any other French city can do for you and many more things they cannot do for you. This blog post was inspired by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office's guide on the support for British Nationals abroad.
In a former campaign (still by the UK' Foreign & Commonwealth Office) a study was mentioned revealing that the number of people who have knowledge of what embassies and consulates do has decreased to the lowest in three years among young people (aged 16-24), from 62% in 2011 to 55% in 2014. We found that this information interesting, we did a quick research and came up with the following 5 things embassies and consulates can’t do for any expatriate living in Paris (or elsewhere). We hope these will be helpful. Let’s discuss them:
1. Give you legal advice or translate your documents.
The embassy can offer you protection. They cannot give you legal advice. They are not your legal counselors and you have to hire someone to do that job for you. Translation of documents also is not the work of your embassy. It’s your job and you have to do it on your own. The embassy cannot be responsible for any misinterpretation.
2. The embassy cannot investigate crimes and get you out of prison.
The embassy definitely does not have the authority to investigate the crimes that you have committed or the crimes that are committed upon you. You are on your own on that too. And they also cannot get you out of prison because you have been sentenced for the crime you committed there and they don’t have the power to get you out of prison for that. It is simply impossible. The maximum they can do is keeping you alive and give you protection wherever you are.
3. They cannot help you in getting better treatment in hospital, or the prison than is given to the local French people.
Now, how will you feel if a person from some other country comes to your country and gets better benefits than you in hospitals or prisons? The same way, the embassy cannot help you get that. You will be treated equally and you definitely cannot jump the queue wherever it is, whether in hospitals, prisons, court or terminals. You will be treated like every other person around you.
4. Pay your bills or give you money.
If you think the embassy will pay your bills and help you by giving money, you are seriously mistaken. If that’s the case then everyone in their own country will just go abroad, settle and happily wait for the embassy to take care of them. The embassy cannot help you in financial matters. They can make sure that your stay is not affected by anyone provided you have the right documents, but they cannot take care of your stay itself.
5. The embassy has no chance whatsoever in helping you enter France without a valid passport or necessary visas.
You have to have all the required documents with you without any errors. The embassy will make sure that you have a valid passport and visa, but it cannot give you one. And they cannot help you extend your stay if your visa gets expired. The necessary visas should be taken from time to time by yourself and you have to make sure you renew it whenever it has to be done. All that the embassy can do is to keep you safe in the foreign soil. Everything else, you are on your own. Get more on the French Visa in our French eBook.