register with consulate or embassy

WWAMs, have you registered with your embassy?

Adulting…eugh, it sucks doesn’t it? I think it’s fair to say I am pretty terrible at adulting. But there is one thing I recently did do, and that’s register with my embassy.

For most of us WWAMs the fact of the matter is that either us or our partner will be living in a different country than the one we were born in, and there is the option to let your respective consulate know “Hello, I am your citizen and I live in this country now. Here’s where to find me in case of an emergency or crisis.”

The thought never occurred to me until I read about it in a chat group right after the words “So, with North Korea’s latest tests”, and those weren’t even the alleged H-bomb ones of the past few days. It does seem that NK has been getting pretty busy, and while it’s hopefully not quite time to break into a panic yet, it is a good occasion to get your ducks in a row and register.

Why register?

Well, not just in case the Third World War breaks out right on our doorstep, but there are in fact many other reasons why you would want your embassy to know your address and contact details if you are living in a country other than the one you were born in. There might be natural disasters such as earth quakes or floods, or terrorist attacks – especially considering today’s date – or other dangerous circumstances, where your embassy can help and will want to locate you. However, they can only do that if they know you’re meant to be there in the first place. In addition, you can add your husband’s or wife’s information as well. You don’t even necessarily need to live in a foreign country long-term. In the case of the many of these websites, they also have the option for tourists to sign up and submit their travel plans.

How do I register?

Every country will do it slightly differently, but a lot of them offer to voluntarily input your information into an online mask. Just visit your embassy’s website and they hopefully have a link to click for you to follow and sign up. You’ll need to have some details, such as your passport validity, your address, your phone number and maybe even your Whatsapp (but sadly not WeChat), ready. They might also ask you about special knowledge you have such as first aid or certain language skills, so you could help in an emergency.

It is just a few minute process that will give you and your family at home a little peace of mind in these confusing times. And you can tick another box off your adulting to-do list. File that under being responsible.

PS: Be aware that not all countries offer this service, e.g. the UK seems to have canceled the registration process in 2013 because too few people used it. 

American nationals register here

Australian nationals register here

Canadian nationals register here

German nationals register here

Have any more links for your country? Add them in the comments!

 

Laura Nutchey-Feng

Laura Nutchey-Feng has been living in China for the past four years. Her love affair with the language and country started in 2006 and she met her future husband, a hunky Inner Mongolian, 5 years later. She blogs about her crazy wedding experience at Our Chinese Wedding.

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