Bureau of Consular Affairs


Bureau of Consular Affairs

The Bureau of Consular Affairs is a bureau of the United States Department of State within that department's management office. The mission of the Bureau is to administer laws, formulate regulations and implement policies relating to the broad range of consular services and immigration. As of 2008, the bureau is headed by the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Janice L. Jacobs.

Passports

Issuance of U.S. Passports to American citizens is the responsibility of the Bureau. According to Congressional testimony in April 2006, approximately 68 million Americans have valid US passports and the US issues more passports than any other nation. [cite press release
title = Testimony of Frank E. Moss, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services Bureau of Consular Affairs to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs
publisher = US Dept of State
date = April 27, 2006
url = http://travel.state.gov/law/legal/testimony/testimony_2922.html
accessdate = 2006-08-28

]

For fiscal year 2006, 12 million passport applications were processed by the bureau's staff of 8,000.cite web
url=http://www.slate.com/id/2172208/
title=The Passport Is In the Mail: One man's journey into the greatest bureaucracy ever assembled
first=Bruce
last=Reed
publisher=Slate
date=2007-08-14
] New passport requirements which went into effect in January 2007, when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, have increased estimated demand to 17 million in 2007, adding months of delay to processing applications.

Passports may be issued domestically in the US as well as by US Embassies or Consulates abroad to the US Citizens. In 2006, the Bureau of Consular Affairs will begin the wide-spread issuance of Electronic Passports or "e-passports." [ cite press release
title = Media Note from the Office of the Spokesman, US Dept. of State, Washington, DC
publisher = US Dept of State
date = August 14, 2006
url = http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/70433.htm
accessdate = 2006-08-28

]

Citizen support

The Consular Affairs Office of Overseas Citizens Services advises and supports U.S. citizens and U.S. embassies and consulates around the world in such matters as:

*Deaths
*Arrests
*Robberies
*Citizenship and nationality
*Federal benefits
*Notarization of documents
*International parental child abduction
*International adoptions

To assist the traveling public, the bureau issues country specific information, travel warnings, and travel alerts concerning conditions in countries where Americans may be planning to visit or reside.

Visas and immigration

Following regulations established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), consular officers overseas, under the guidance of the Bureau's Office of Visa Services, are responsible for issuing all non-immigrant and immigrant visas. (Over 7.75 million non-immigrant visa and approximately 744,000 immigrant visa cases were processed in fiscal year 2006.)

The Bureau of Consular Affairs also administers the provisions of the INA as they relate to the Department of State in coordination with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement within the Department of Homeland Security. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services is Stephen A. "Tony" Edson.

References

External links

* [http://travel.state.gov/ Travel.state.gov: Bureau of Consular Affairs website]


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