Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

The Department of State is committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for U.S. citizens imprisoned overseas. Consular officers stand ready to assist incarcerated citizens and their families within the limits of their authority in accordance with international, domestic and foreign law.

If you have been contacted on behalf of someone close to you, but whom you have not met in person, who has been arrested or detained, follow this link for more information.

Avoid getting arrested overseas:

  • Follow the laws and regulations of the country in which you are living, or visiting.
  • Review the Country Specific Information page for any country you are planning on visiting. Laws in foreign countries, are often different than those in the United States. For further information, contact that country’s nearest Embassy or Consulate within the United States.

If you are arrested overseas or know a U.S. citizen who is:

Consular assistance to U.S. citizens overseas:

Consular officers may:

  • Provide a list of local attorneys who speak English. To find an attorney in Turkey, please visit:
  • Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen, with the detainee’s written permission.
  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen regularly and provide reading materials.
  • Help ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care.
  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process.
  • Inform the detainee of local and U.S.-based resources to assist victims of crime.
  • Ask that prison officials permit visits to the detainee by others, such as friends or family.
  • Facilitate money transfers to the detainee from friends or family.

Consular officers may not:

  • Circumvent local laws.
  • Bail out or otherwise release U.S. citizens from overseas jails.
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court overseas
  • Testify in local courts regarding the detainee’s innocence or gulit.
  • Serve as an official interpreter or translator.
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees for U.S. citizens overseas.