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Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on American Citizens' Services

Bureau of Resource Management
November 15, 2010


Photo showing a man and an infant awaiting a departing flight at Haiti's international airport.

A man and an infant await a departing flight at Haiti’s international airport. State Magazine March 2010

The Department of State provides routine and emergency services to American citizens through two offices directly in touch with consular officers all over the world who are involved daily in assisting American citizens.

The Office of American Citizen Services and Crisis Management (CA/OCS/ACS) has five geographical divisions with case officers who assist in all matters involving protective services for Americans abroad, including arrests, deaths, financial or medical emergencies, and welfare and whereabouts inquiries. The office also issues Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country-Specific Information and provides guidance on nationality and citizenship determination, document issuance, judicial and notarial services, estates and property claims, third-country representation, and disaster assistance. For more information, go to

The Office of Children’s Issues (CA/OCS/CI) serves as the U.S. Central Authority for two multilateral treaties: the 1988 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction and the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.

Abductions: CA/OCS/CI assists in cases of international parental child abduction, a tragedy which abruptly and brutally breaks the relationship between a child and his or her left-behind parent. A signatory to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction since 1988, the United States works with 68 partner countries to obtain the return of children who are wrongfully held from their parents overseas and in the United States. International child abduction is a growing problem. The number of reported cases of children abducted from the United States to a foreign country in FY 2010 was 1,175 (involving 1,696 children). For more information, go to

Adoptions: CA/OCS/CI also plays an active role in the intercountry adoption process, assisting parents as they seek to provide a home to orphans abroad. For more information, go to

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