Bureau of Consular Affairs

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  2. Glossary
  3. Bureau of Consular Affairs

The Bureau of Consular Affairs is the largest bureau of the U.S. Department of State, reporting to the Under Secretary of State for Management. The Bureau of Consular Affairs is in charge of issuing passports for American citizens, provides alerts and warnings concerning potentially dangerous conditions in foreign countries, and assists U.S. citizens abroad.

Bureau of Consular Affairs

Specifically, Consular Affairs:

  • Issues passports to U.S. citizens
  • Issues visas to eligible foreign citizens
  • Liaises between the Department of State and overseas Embassies and Consulates on matters involving visas and other services for citizens abroad
  • Assists voters who need to vote by absentee ballot when they’re out of the country
  • Helps citizens who are involved in international adoptions
  • Advises and supports victims of serious crimes
  • Arranges for notification of a deceased citizens’ next of kin
  • Distributes lists of local doctors and lawyers overseas
  • Replacement of lost travel documents
  • Conducts field inquiries of foreign visa applicants out of the Consular Fraud Prevention Office
  • Negotiates with foreign governments for the sharing of terrorist lookout information
  • Transfers fingerprints collected with visas to the DHS IDENT system, and transmits data on lost or stolen passports to Interpol

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