U.S. Passports

A U.S. passport is your ticket to international travel. The U.S. passport is a request to foreign governments to permit you to travel or temporarily reside in their territories and have access to lawful local aid and protection. The passport allows you access to U.S. consular services and assistance while abroad. Most importantly, it allows you to re-enter the United States upon your return home. The Department of State issues passports to traveling U.S. citizens. We protect the integrity of the U.S. passport as proof of U.S. citizenship at home and around the world. We also issue passports for U.S. citizens that apply at our embassies and consulates abroad. Learn More about Passports.

Overseas Citizens Services

The protection of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the Department of State’s highest priorities. The Bureau of Consular Affairs provides information designed to help U.S. citizens stay safe abroad, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates provide emergency and non-emergency services to overseas U.S. citizens around the world. We help U.S. citizens in the event of arrest, death, destitution, crisis, or medical emergency overseas. We respond to welfare and whereabouts inquiries, and deal with nationality and citizenship matters. Learn More about Overseas Citizens Services.

U.S. Visas

The Bureau of Consular Affairs is a vital partner in border security while recognizing the economic and social benefits foreign visitors, business persons, and students bring to the United States. Before traveling to the United States, many foreign nationals must obtain a visa from one of our embassies or consulates overseas. Following regulations established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act, consular adjudicators abroad are responsible for processing all nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. A U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad will be your primary resource for questions about U.S. visas, including the application process, the status of visa processing, and for inquiries relating to individual visa cases. Learn More about Visas.

Children’s Issues

The Bureau of Consular Affairs plays an active role on issues related to international parental child abduction and intercountry adoptions. We carry out the Department of State’s responsibilities as the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Adoption Convention & the Hague Abduction Convention. Our Office of Children’s Issues is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention in the United States, and leads efforts within the Department of State and with other U.S. government agencies to prevent international parental child abduction, assist children and families involved in these abduction cases, and promote the principles of the Hague Abduction Convention.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future