Getting essential care whilst abroad
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Where needed, British embassies and high commissions may be able to provide support to help British people who are unable to return to the UK get essential care.
Emergency repatriation loans
When it is safe and possible to return to the UK, you will need to pay for your return travel. If you cannot afford to, and have no other funding options, you may be able to apply for an emergency loan.
If there are commercial flights to return to the UK, our commercial partner CTM is authorised to offer loans. Contact CTM for an emergency loan for a commercial flight.
If a special charter flight is available where you are, the online booking process includes the option to apply for an emergency loan. For booking information, see the ‘Return to the UK’ section of for the country’s travel advice page.
Emergency living costs loans
If you have exhausted all other options to cover essential living costs while you wait to return home, you could apply for an emergency loan to cover your living costs. You would need to repay the loan when you are back in the UK.
The emergency loan is to help with living costs until you’re able to return to the UK. It can cover up to 3 months of living costs and the amount you could borrow depends on whether you’re applying for yourself, or also for your partner or immediate family.
If your application is successful but you urgently require shelter or other support before your loan arrives, our local partner organisations may be able to assist you. Contact your nearest British embassy or high commission to find out more.
Job Retention Scheme
The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available while you are abroad. Check if you could be covered by the scheme.
You should also keep in touch with your employer. They may wish to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on your behalf.
You may be eligible for a grant through the government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme. The 2 Coronavirus Business Interruption loans will cover viable small businesses with loans of up to £5million, and large businesses with loans of up to £25million.
You should contact your bank or mortgage lender to see if you can get a mortgage holiday. You could still be eligible for this even if you abroad.
Pensions and benefit support
You can receive your State Pension abroad no matter how long you have been outside the UK.
Taxpayer-funded benefits are only payable to people who are in the UK. However, if you were receiving benefits when you went abroad, you may able to continue to receive them under temporary absence rules.
If you are concerned about your payments because you are waiting to return to the UK, contact the the Department for Work and Pensions, or your local authority for Housing Benefit.
See also further guidance for when you are waiting to return to the UK during coronavirus (COVID-19).