UK drops repatriation charges for under-18s in trouble abroad

British 16- and 17-year-olds who get into difficulty abroad will no longer have to reimburse the government the costs of their journey home, it has been announced.

The Foreign Office previously required people aged 16 and over who found themselves in a vulnerable position to pay for their own repatriation, or issued loans to those who didn’t have the funds, confiscating their passports until they were repaid.

The department announced it would be reviewing this policy after the Guardian detailed the case of a 17-year-old British girl who arrived at the UK embassy in Islamabad in 2014, seeking help to escape a forced marriage.

The girl, who cannot be named for safety reasons, was required to sign a loan agreement and surrender her passport before she was flown back to the UK. She was then issued a bill for £814, the cost of her repatriation from Pakistan, and told she would not have her passport returned until she repaid the money.

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