Whether you’re a regular business traveller or an occasional tourist who travels abroad for leisure or to visit friends and relatives, the law is the law. And seeing as customs, and hence laws, differ from country to country, you should always remain on the right side of the long arm. To ensure that your safety and legal rights are protected when travelling abroad, there will invariably come a time when you need legal assistance. Below, then, are five common scenarios where tourists may need the expert assistance of lawyers.
Scenario #1. Before Travelling
When travelling to a foreign country, you are obliged to follow their laws and cultural customs. Even though your respective embassy can protect you after inadvertently breaking some or other local law while in a foreign country, their ability to intervene is often limited. Conduct or actions that may be considered legal in your country could be illegal in another country. For this reason, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with some basics about customs and laws in your destination country before embarking on your journey. Due to the complex nature of the law, you may need to seek advice from an experienced attorney depending on where you’re going.
Scenario #2. Dealing with Immigration
From time to time, tourists encounter several hurdles, including some that affect their ability to travel, or the duration they can stay in their destination country and what they can do while there. In most cases, these revolve around Visas, work permits, and citizenship. If you’re struggling with these aspects, your best bet would be to speak to an immigration attorney for advice and help in solving the specific problem.
Common immigration issues that may warrant seeking an attorney’s assistance may include but are not limited to the following:
- When you need a waiver of discretionary relief such as asylum
- Trouble obtaining citizenship or USCIS green card
- You’re facing deportation/removal proceedings
- Denied immigration applications
- You wish to return to a country after deportation
- You urgently need an employment permit
- You’re seeking an investment-based visa
- You need legal help preparing crucial documents or filling forms that you find a bit confusing/time-consuming.
These just being a few examples, there are many other scenarios where you may find the need to consult an immigration lawyer.
Scenario #3. Being a Victim of Crime
It is not uncommon to travel somewhere and end up in a situation where you’re mugged or mistreated by locals. Alternately, you could find yourself being arrested and convicted for a crime that you didn’t even commit in the first place. Attorney Michael Litman, an experienced Westchester criminal defense lawyer says that in this situation, you’ll need the best legal representation you can get to have the charges reduced or even dropped. Your experienced criminal lawyer will also help explain the law to you, the crime you’re being charged with, and the potential outcome of the case. They can also help link you up with your embassy, notify your family, and advise on the options to get you out of the mess.
Scenario #4. Being Involved in an Accident
When travelling and exploring abroad, it is not uncommon to find yourself going on road trips in a purchased or rented car. And let’s face it; the potential of being involved in road accidents is a very real risk. Even when you’ve tried your best to remain as sober as you can, a reckless driver could come out of nowhere and crash into your vehicle! However, car accident claim insurance may not be as easy as it may be in your country. You may not know who to approach, where to report the incident to, or how to go about the entire process. You may not even be sure which kind of claim you should pursue. In this case, a personal injury or accident attorney will come in handy for legal advice and necessary assistance.
Scenario #5. Having a Travel Insurance Claim Denied
If you’re a seasoned traveller, there’s a high likelihood that you carry travel insurance. If not, travel insurance is basically the kind of insurance coverage that gives you emergency care when your trip turns into a mess. It can help replace lost luggage, cover for cancelled trips, take care of medical bills incurred abroad, and so forth. However, what is covered and how much is covered will largely depend on the policy you pick when buying travel insurance. Also, you will need to make a claim to your travel insurer for them to cover the aforementioned emergencies. But this doesn’t mean that your insurer will always approve your claim. This is because basically, insurance policies have certain clauses that are often used to determine whether or not your claim is valid.
In other words, the insurer has the right to approve or decline your claim based on ground evidence as well as the outlines of the policy. A good example, one Bill Dunn got his travel insurance claim denied after he lost his job and had to cancel a trip he had booked to his nephew’s wedding in another country. He cancelled the trip 6-weeks before departure, upon realizing that he couldn’t afford it anymore, given that he was now jobless. The insurer considered his claim invalid on grounds that he had only been employed for 15 months (6 months through an employment agency and 11 months full-time). With this picture in mind, travel insurance can be complex and when making an appeal for a denied claim, you may need the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
Travelling gives you a chance to see new things, meet new people, make new friends, and gain experiences that you can’t get in a lifetime in your local area or home country. However, there are quite a number of legal issues that surround travelling, some of which most tourists tend to overlook. With the above scenarios in mind, we hope that that you are now better informed on how legal assistance may be necessary for you as a tourist.