Emergency Financial Assistance

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

Western Union:  Western Union operates in China in partnership with the China Courier Service Corp. The money transfer information is sent through the company’s international computer network and the recipient can collect the funds a few minutes after the transaction is complete.  Funds can be picked up in person, or delivered by courier to the recipient at the address provided by the sender. Photo identification is required to collect the funds.  As of now, only U.S. dollars or Chinese Renminbi Yuan can by transferred through this service. Western Union charges a 0.5% service fee. They have hundreds of locations in China, please see their website for specific locations.

OCS Trust: The U.S. Department of State can assist relatives in the U.S. who wish to send money in an emergency, although this option is slower.  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.

What if no one can send me money?
In certain cases, the U.S. Embassy may be able to help a destitute American return home. However, applicants must meet strict criteria in order to qualify for a loan, and will not be permitted to leave the U.S. again until they repay the full amount of their loan. Assistance will not be provided to pay existing debts.

Note: The Embassy and Consulates cannot cash checks.  For detailed information on sending money to destitute U.S. citizens overseas, please click here.