Sending Money to Destitute U.S. Citizens Overseas

If you need to get money to a destitute U.S. citizen outside the United States, you have a number of available options. See available options below:


Banks, Credit Card Companies, and Money Transfer Companies

  • Contact the individual’s bank and arrange to add funds to the person’s account.
  • Contact the individual’s credit card company to ask for a temporary credit limit increase.
  • Arrange for immediate replacement of a lost/stolen credit card.  Express delivery may take 2-3 business days.
  • Identify a commercial money transfer company that operates in/near the city where the individual is located. There are money transfer cost comparison tools online to help you identify your best option. 
    NOTE: The individual must typically present identification to collect funds; this channel may not be an option if identification is lost or stolen.

U.S. Department of State

If the options above are not viable, the U.S. Department of State may be able to help transfer funds to a destitute U.S citizen overseas through our office in Washington, D.C. to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.  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. 

The quickest way to send money to the U.S. Department of State is by Western Union.  In addition, you may send funds using express courier service or U.S. mail, which can take from several days to several weeks to arrive at the Department.

When sending funds, you must include:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • telephone number
  • Recipient’s full name and location (city and country)

We transfer funds daily during normal business hours (Monday – Friday 8AM – 5PM Eastern Time) and process funds arriving after-hours during the next business day.


Western Union

All transactions must be processed through Western Union’s Quick Collect Service. Be aware that some U.S. states place restrictions on the use of the Quick Collect Service by phone or the Internet. Some states also restrict the amount of funds any one person can transfer within a given period of time. Western Union can inform you which states have such restrictions.

NOTE:  Western Union will charge you a money transfer fee based on the dollar amount you are sending. Ask about their fee structure. Their fee is separate from and in addition to the $30 processing fee that the U.S. Department of State charges to set up an account.

There are three ways to send money to the U.S. Department of State by Western Union:

  1. Call Western Union's Quick Collect Customer Service at 1-800-238-5772.

    Please provide the following information to the agent:

    • The "code city" for the U.S. Department of State is, - "OVERSEASEMERGENCY DC."
    • The "pay to" name is - "U.S. Department of State, Overseas Citizens Services (OCS)."
    • The “account number” requested should be the name of the country where the funds are intended and the recipient’s last name. i.e. China-Douglas, France-Johnson, etc.
    • Provide the agent with the full name and location (city and country) of the U.S. citizen for whom the funds are intended. 

  2. Internet: If you have a MasterCard or Visa credit card, visit Western Union’s website or call Western Union’s Quick Collect Customer Service at 1-800-238-5772 for processing assistance.

    Click here for step-by-step instructions on processing an internet transaction.

  3. In Person Cash Payments: If you want to process a Quick Collect transaction using cash, you can visit any Western Union location in person.
    • Call 1-800-325-6000 to find the Western Union location nearest you.
    • Request a Quick Collect form and complete fields #1 and #2 only. Once both fields are completed sign the form.

Express Courier Service or U.S. Postal Service mail

NOTE:  Express courier service delivery may take 3-4 days to reach our office.  U.S. Postal Service mail may take 3-4 weeks because of the Department of State’s internal mail-screening security procedures.  

We do not recommend these methods for emergencies or other urgent situations.

We accept cashier’s checks or money orders only.

Make the check or money order payable to "Department of State, Overseas Citizens Services (OCS)" for the required amount plus the $30 processing fee.

Send the check or money order, along with any instructions, to:

U.S. Department of State
Overseas Citizens Services, SA-17 (10th Floor)
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

  • Include the full name and location (city and country) of the U.S. citizen recipient.
  • Include your full name, address, and telephone number.
Last Updated: February 14, 2024