Office in Ibiza
If you hold a British passport the British Consulate is your local office of ' Britain ' when you are abroad. Their aim is to do all that they can to help British people in difficulty abroad and, of course, to give advice on how to avoid trouble overseas even before you leave.
Because Ibiza and Formentera are part of the European Union many of the services that they provide for global travellers should not be required for a visit to the islands e.g. visas.
What they can do for you is:-
Issue emergency passports;
Contact relatives and friends and ask them to help you with money or tickets;
Tell you how to transfer money;
Help you to get in touch with local lawyers, interpreters and doctors;
Arrange for next of kin to be told of an accident or a death and advise on procedures. If you are with someone who dies - whatever the cause - get in touch with the Consulate at once. They will help;
Visit you if you have been arrested or put in prison, and arrange for messages to be sent to relatives or friends;
Put you in touch with organisations who help trace missing persons;
Give you a list of local lawyers.
Obviously there are limits to what they can do for you, so they offer the following advice on what you should do for yourself:-
Obtain a form E111 (or the new European Health Insurance Card) from the Post Office to extend your National Health Service cover throughout Europe .
Make sure that you are properly insured - leave your jewellery and valuables at home. If you do take them, make sure that they are safely locked away when not in use and expect petty criminals e.g. muggers in almost every country in the world. There are many people poorer than you and for whom your valuables could represent a year's income!
Avoid unlit streets at night, only carry as much cash as you need when you go out and remember that it is normally safer not to resist violent theft.
If you lose your money, passport or anything else abroad, first report it to the local police and insist on getting a statement about the loss. Then contact the Consulate if you still need their help.
The laws throughout Europe are pretty much the same from country to country. Drugs are illegal and can involve massive fines and long prison sentences in grim conditions.
Make sure that your driving license is current and valid for driving in Spain . Make sure that you know the rules of the road as there are differences in Spain e.g. you have to carry a fluorescent jacket, a spare set of light bulbs, two warning triangles and a torch in your car at all times. On the spot fines are very common here for many offences and exceptions are not made for foreigners.
Drinking and driving is not tolerated as there have been so many fatal alcohol related accidents on the islands in recent years. Expect 6 months in prison for a serious offence!
If you are charged with a serious offence, insist on the British Consulate being told. They will contact you as soon as possible. They can advise on local procedures, put you in touch with lawyers, and insist that you are treated as well as any Spanish national, but if you commit a crime you must expect to face the consequences.
More info www.ukinspain.com
Passport information line: 807 429 026 (0900 to 17.30)