This review draws attention to the need for consolidated inquiry into large-scale consular emergency management. Occurring outside national borders, these low-probability but high-impact events affect a large number of national citizens. They challenge governments' crisis management systems, and direct public and government attention to a sector that has been largely overlooked in public administration literature – consular affairs. This review brings together the relevant literature on consular assistance and looks further afield to find analysis of emergency responses in case studies of three major consular emergencies. Three underlying themes emerge, central to a more nuanced understanding of the government response to large-scale emergencies affecting citizens abroad.