The Foreign Commonwealth Office(FCO) is switching off the LOCATE(general registration system) for British residents living/visiting abroad including here in Turkey. We publish a letter from the Director of Consular Services explaining why and what will replace it.

Important changes to consular registration

British Consular Services in Turkey would like to inform you that our LOCATE online consular registration system will be closed down on 14 May. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to providing British nationals with a modern and efficient consular service and this decision is part of a programme of work to transform our crisis response.

Until now the FCO has been encouraging British nationals to register their details with the FCO ‘just in case’ of an emergency. In February 2013 there were approximately 43,000 Locate registrants, representing 1% of British Nationals resident overseas and a fraction of British travellers. Despite technical upgrades and marketing efforts, the level of registration remains extremely low. As people do not sign up in large numbers LOCATE does not provide an accurate picture of numbers of British nationals in crisis-affected countries and is an ineffective crisis response tool. Following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, the FCO contacted all 3000 LOCATE registrants in the country. None required our assistance. Here in Turkey only 365 have registered out of an estimated 40.000 of British nationals in Turkey. Travellers and residents in Turkey will no longer be able to pre-register on a ‘just in case’ basis. I would like to reassure you that British nationals will continue to receive the same level of consular support while in Turkey and will still be able to log their details with the FCO if they are affected by a crisis and need help. Depending on the nature of a crisis, we may open a telephone hotline and a new +44 SMS service.

For the latest travel and security news British nationals should:

– Read our travel advice for Turkey and subscribe to receive updates via email. We will communicate all travel and security information via our travel advice, so this is the best way for British nationals to stay informed. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey

– Follow updated Turkey travel advice on Twitter (www.twitter.com/ukinturkey ) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/ukinturkey)

As we are prone to natural disasters(like earthquakes) here in Turkey British nationals are also encouraged to read some new FCO guidance on precautions to take if they are travelling to or resident in areas where a crisis may occur:

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-deal-with-a-crisis-overseas

We appreciate that technology may fail in some crises and in these cases we can revert to pushing out information via more traditional means, for example warden networks, local radio stations, using posters on community notice boards.

Timothy Fisher

Director of Consular Services (Turkey)

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