Our Work at Home and Overseas

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
November 21, 2017



At home, the passport process is often the primary contact most U.S. citizens have with the Department of State. There are 29 domestic passport agencies and centers, and approximately 8,100 passport acceptance facilities worldwide, of which 7,600 are domestic. The Department designates many post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other state, county, township, and municipal government offices to accept passport applications on its behalf.

Overseas, in each Embassy, the Chief of Mission (usually an Ambassador) is responsible for executing U.S. foreign policy aims, as well as coordinating and managing all U.S. Government functions in the host country. The President appoints each Chief of Mission, who is then confirmed by the Senate. The Chief of Mission reports directly to the President through the Secretary of State. The U.S. Mission is also the primary U.S. Government point of contact for Americans overseas and foreign nationals of the host country. The Mission serves the needs of Americans traveling, working, and studying abroad, and supports Presidential and Congressional delegations visiting the country.

Every diplomatic mission in the world operates under a security program designed and maintained by the Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). In the United States, DS investigates passport and visa fraud, conducts personnel security investigations, and protects the Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and visiting officials. An “In Focus” view of our global visa fraud investigations is shown below.

Additionally, the Department utilizes a wide variety of technology tools to further enhance its effectiveness and magnify its efficiency. Today, most offices increasingly rely on digital video conferences, virtual presence posts, and websites to support their missions. The Department also leverages social networking Web tools to engage in dialogue with a broader audience. See the inside back cover for Department websites of interest.

In Focus.

Number of Visa Crime Investigations Opened Globally

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is the security and law enforcement arm of the Department. Visa crimes are international offenses that may start overseas, but can threaten public safety inside the United States if offenders are not interdicted with aggressive and coordinated law enforcement action. DS agents and analysts observe, detect, identify, and neutralize networks that exploit international travel vulnerabilities. In 2017, 1,134 cases were closed and DS made 37 arrests.

Bar chart summarizing the number of Visa crime investigations opened globally for fiscal years 2012 to 2017. Values are as follows:

FY 2012: 1,197.
FY 2013: 1,207.
FY 2014: 1,150.
FY 2015: 1,235.
FY 2016: 1,265.
FY 2017: 933.

Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Bart and Cabrera operated an unregistered business called “Labor Listo,” which they used to recruit employers like Svihel, who ran Svihel Vegetable Farm, to hire seasonal workers from the Dominican Republic on temporary work visas. The visa programs require employers to pay for workers’ housing and travel expenses to and from their home country, and forbid employers from collecting recruitment fees or wage kickbacks. Bart, Cabrera, and Svihel violated all of these rules. More information on the case can be found here.

Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security.