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Overview:

The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) is in charge of issuing passports for American citizens intending to reside, conduct business, study, or travel abroad. It also provides alerts and warnings concerning potentially dangerous conditions in foreign countries, and assists U.S. citizens abroad on a variety of issues, including helping those who want to vote by absentee ballot when they’re out of the country, those who are involved in international adoptions, or those who fall victim to crime, accident or illness. In addition, the Bureau of Consular Affairs provides services to citizens of other countries seeking visas to visit or reside legally in the United States, and conducts research to determine who qualifies for a visa, and which applicants may be attempting to get into the country to engage in harmful activities. A bureau of the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Consular Affairs also serves as a liaison between the Department and overseas Embassies and Consulates on visa matters. 

 
In March 2008 the Bureau of Consular Affairs was the focus of media scrutiny when it was revealed that the passport files of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama had been breached.
 
more
History:

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, in which the basic United States laws governing immigration and naturalization are contained, created the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs within the Department of State, INA gave responsibility for the administration and enforcement of immigration law to the Secretary of State, as it relates to the duties and functions of diplomatic and consular officers, with the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs becoming the branch of the Department of State to manage the issuance of passports to citizens, and visas to immigrants seeking permanent residence, and non-immigrants seeking authorization for a temporary stay in the U.S. From March 1 to December 30, 1954, the Bureau was called Inspection, Security, and Consular Affairs. It returned to the name Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs until 1979, when it was renamed the Bureau of Consular Affairs. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, many of the programs and business procedures of the Bureau were re-tailored to address potential new threats; 570 new consular positions were created, and a Border Security Program was developed with a stated mission of denying valid entry into the United States of individuals who might pose a threat to the country; facilitating the entry of legitimate foreign visitors and students; protecting American citizens abroad; and researching and developing automated systems.

 

more
What it Does:

The Bureau of Consular Affairs supports around 8,000 people working in over 200 foreign embassies and consulates overseas, as well as in Washington, D.C., and at seventeen domestic Passport Agencies and two regional visa processing centers.
 
Among the Bureau of Consular Affairs responsibilities:
  • Issuing passports to U.S. citizens
  • Issuing visas to eligible foreign citizens
  • Serving as a liaison between the Department of State and overseas Embassies and Consulates on visa matters and other services to U.S. citizens abroad.
  • Offering, out of its Overseas Citizens Services unit, consular assistance to Americans traveling, living, studying, or conducting business abroad, covering a wide variety of situations, including: advice and support in the case of an accident, severe illness, or death; advice and support to victims of a serious crime; arrangement for notification of a victim’s next of kin; liaison with local police officials in the case of abductions or missing people; distribution of lists of local doctors and lawyers; replacement of lost travel documents; aid in arranging contact with incarcerated nationals; registration of births to U.S. citizens abroad; and guidance with adoption of foreign-born children.
  • Development of a remote data collection process to increase the amount of data available to the consular officer prior to a visa applicant’s personal interview, and to permit enhanced domestic prescreening preparation.
  • Conducting field inquiries of foreign visa applicants out of the Consular Fraud Prevention Office, including visiting Civil Registries, as well as telephoning employers or schools, and employing electronic search capabilities to check an applicant’s story against available data, or maps and satellite photos to verify information contained in visa applications.
  • Taking the lead within the Department of State on continuation of negotiations with foreign governments for the international sharing of terrorist lookout information, through the Consular Lookout Support System (CLASS).
  • Continuing to operate its two-way sharing of the CLASS database with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS), which is used at ports of entry, and which presently includes approximately 29 million names.
  • Transferring fingerprints collected with visas to the DHS IDENT (PDF) system, and data on lost or stolen passports to Interpol.
 
From the Website of Bureau of Consular Affairs
 
Passports
 
Other Information
 
Visa Information for Foreign Citizens
more
Controversies:

Passport Files of Presidential Candidates Improperly Accessed
In March 2008, embarrassed State Department officials admitted that three employees working for private contractors and one department employee had breached the passport files of Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and John McCain. The information could be used to access social security numbers and credit reports, as long with other private information. Sixty percent of people who process passports are contractors. The State Department has yet to reveal the motivations of the contract employees, who worked for Stanley Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, and The Analysis Corp. (TAC) of McLean, Virginia.

 

more
See all 20 comments

Comments

Abumohammad I Zaman 1 week ago
I put in an application on Sept. 8, 2014. It's been over 8 weeks! I even paid 74.85 to get it expedited, which I think shouldn't have had to pay since it has been over 8 weeks. Where is my passport? I am getting ready to go to for pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. I am worried that I won't be able to join my family there on time because of this unwarranted delay in processing my passport. I have gone through this application/renewal process before but this unwarranted display is not appreciated by a U.S. Citizen like myself. Please send me my passport ASAP so that I can take care of the required visa and airfare. Please help. --- Abumohammad I Zaman
Jones Paye 4 months ago
Happy Independent day to All American
Keith MARSH 9 months ago
I am a U.S. State Dept. Employee that works closely with the CA Bureau. I applied for the renewal of my personal passport in Jan 2014. My check for $110.00 was cashed 2 wks after receipt of my application. I received a ltr. 1st wk of Feb 2014 telling me to resubmit due to non-clerity of the form. Called to check today (2 wks later), and was told you never received my resubmission. I am due to go on vacation the end of March 2014. Had I believed the horror stories of this bureau I would have hand carried my passport personally. This bureau needs a LOT of help in the area of customer support and satisfaction!!
Katherine J Foote 1 year ago
I cannot find my valid passport. We are leaving for Canada from the U.S. on Saturday, September 7. Can I use my Delaware Enhanced Drivers License for entering and leaving Canada?
Maria Jose Redondo 1 year ago
Case reference number: H20131017 Spaniard trying to get a visa to travel to US from Madrid (my husband already working in the US). At the interview an officer handed me a paper which says to wait at least 60 days to contact them to see what happen with my visa(if I don't receive any answer from them) I did and I didn't get any response. It is been 64 days waiting for an answer. This situation is embarrasing and innaceptable. The sad think is you have nobody to ask, no place to go to get information and you can not complain. This situacion is insane. Nobody tell you how long is going to take the process 60 days or more (how many days are 'more' for them)? 1 year, 2 years? Are they going to issue the visa or give me any kind of explanation before I die? This should be illegal and this institution lied to me because I got not response in the emails I sent.
RF 3 years ago
what is a valid phone to reach a live person at the us dept of state, bureau of consular affairs?
Soledad Yoda 4 years ago
Im have doble nacionality american and other now I am a Consul in usa I would like to know if i can have both
Scott Hauptman 4 years ago
Question - Is an AK State Resident (US Citizen) who travels the Alaska/Canadian Highway required to have a VISA to re-enter the US?
catherine clara mason 4 years ago
I just received an email from USDept of State re non-receipt of my renewal passport application locator #240356635 telling me to contact Bureau of Consular Affairs at askca@state.gov, Question reference #101003-000479. This site does not seem to exist,now what? Can someone in the Dept please have the courtesy to contact me by telephone #928 284 9349? I MUST get this resolved as have an ailing Mother in Canada. Please help.This has been ongoing since Jul 17/2010. Thank you
Sandra L. Pratchen 4 years ago
Hello and Good Day to You: In reference to this incident, my Moroccan friend applied for a Visitor Visa to the United States, and went to the Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco this morning for his interview with them. His name is Younesse Faress, his visa application confirmation number is AA000WQSB9 and the confirmation ID number for his Interview Appointment with the consulate is Dzn39npWbs. The person who interviewed him for his Visitor Visa denied his application to come...

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Founded: 1952
Annual Budget: $3.6 million
Employees: 8,000
Official Website: http://travel.state.gov/
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Jacobs, Janice
Previous Assistant Secretary

 President George W. Bush sent his nomination for Janice L. Jacobs to become Assistant Secretary of State to the Senate on April 2, 2008. Jacobs received a BA in French and Education from Southern Illinois University in 1968. Then from 1968 to 1969 she worked as an assembly line worker for Magnavox in Champaign, Illinois, and in the Admissions Office at the University of Illinois. From 1969 to 1970 she taught French and Spanish at Edison Jr. High in Champaign. At this point, her husband joined the Foreign Service, and she accompanied him on tours to Ecuador, Egypt, and Mexico, working in a variety of jobs, including at the World Bank, NAFSA (an association of international educators), and as a substitute teacher at various international schools overseas. In 1978 Jacobs was hired by the Department of State as an Eligible Family Member, and worked in the consular sections at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and Merida, Mexico. She formally joined the Foreign Service in March 1980, and from 1980 through 1981 she was assigned to Lagos, Nigeria. From the summer of 1982 to summer 1983 her assignment took her to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and from 1983 to 1985 she served in Paris. Then she took a year of paid leave to join her new husband in Miami, and attended Florida International University.

 
From 1987 to 1990, Jacobs was Chief of the Coordination Divisions in the Visa Office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and from 1990 to 1991 she served in the State Department Operations Center as a Senior Watch Officer. From 1991 to 1994, Jacobs served as the Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros, Mexico. From 1994 to 1995 she attended the National War College at Ft. McNair in Washington D.C., where she received a Master’s in National Security Strategy. From 1995 to 1998, Jacobs was Deputy Director of the Office of Cuban Affairs, and from 1998 to 2000 she served as the Director of the Office of Field Support and Liaison at the Visa Office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs. From 2000 to 2002 Jacobs was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and from 2002 to 2005, she returned to the Bureau of Consular Affairs as Deputy Assistant Director for Visa Services. From 2006 through July 2007, Jacobs served as Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, and from August 2007 to March, 2008, she was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, after which she was elevated to the position of Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs.
 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) is in charge of issuing passports for American citizens intending to reside, conduct business, study, or travel abroad. It also provides alerts and warnings concerning potentially dangerous conditions in foreign countries, and assists U.S. citizens abroad on a variety of issues, including helping those who want to vote by absentee ballot when they’re out of the country, those who are involved in international adoptions, or those who fall victim to crime, accident or illness. In addition, the Bureau of Consular Affairs provides services to citizens of other countries seeking visas to visit or reside legally in the United States, and conducts research to determine who qualifies for a visa, and which applicants may be attempting to get into the country to engage in harmful activities. A bureau of the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Consular Affairs also serves as a liaison between the Department and overseas Embassies and Consulates on visa matters. 

 
In March 2008 the Bureau of Consular Affairs was the focus of media scrutiny when it was revealed that the passport files of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama had been breached.
 
more
History:

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, in which the basic United States laws governing immigration and naturalization are contained, created the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs within the Department of State, INA gave responsibility for the administration and enforcement of immigration law to the Secretary of State, as it relates to the duties and functions of diplomatic and consular officers, with the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs becoming the branch of the Department of State to manage the issuance of passports to citizens, and visas to immigrants seeking permanent residence, and non-immigrants seeking authorization for a temporary stay in the U.S. From March 1 to December 30, 1954, the Bureau was called Inspection, Security, and Consular Affairs. It returned to the name Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs until 1979, when it was renamed the Bureau of Consular Affairs. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, many of the programs and business procedures of the Bureau were re-tailored to address potential new threats; 570 new consular positions were created, and a Border Security Program was developed with a stated mission of denying valid entry into the United States of individuals who might pose a threat to the country; facilitating the entry of legitimate foreign visitors and students; protecting American citizens abroad; and researching and developing automated systems.

 

more
What it Does:

The Bureau of Consular Affairs supports around 8,000 people working in over 200 foreign embassies and consulates overseas, as well as in Washington, D.C., and at seventeen domestic Passport Agencies and two regional visa processing centers.
 
Among the Bureau of Consular Affairs responsibilities:
  • Issuing passports to U.S. citizens
  • Issuing visas to eligible foreign citizens
  • Serving as a liaison between the Department of State and overseas Embassies and Consulates on visa matters and other services to U.S. citizens abroad.
  • Offering, out of its Overseas Citizens Services unit, consular assistance to Americans traveling, living, studying, or conducting business abroad, covering a wide variety of situations, including: advice and support in the case of an accident, severe illness, or death; advice and support to victims of a serious crime; arrangement for notification of a victim’s next of kin; liaison with local police officials in the case of abductions or missing people; distribution of lists of local doctors and lawyers; replacement of lost travel documents; aid in arranging contact with incarcerated nationals; registration of births to U.S. citizens abroad; and guidance with adoption of foreign-born children.
  • Development of a remote data collection process to increase the amount of data available to the consular officer prior to a visa applicant’s personal interview, and to permit enhanced domestic prescreening preparation.
  • Conducting field inquiries of foreign visa applicants out of the Consular Fraud Prevention Office, including visiting Civil Registries, as well as telephoning employers or schools, and employing electronic search capabilities to check an applicant’s story against available data, or maps and satellite photos to verify information contained in visa applications.
  • Taking the lead within the Department of State on continuation of negotiations with foreign governments for the international sharing of terrorist lookout information, through the Consular Lookout Support System (CLASS).
  • Continuing to operate its two-way sharing of the CLASS database with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS), which is used at ports of entry, and which presently includes approximately 29 million names.
  • Transferring fingerprints collected with visas to the DHS IDENT (PDF) system, and data on lost or stolen passports to Interpol.
 
From the Website of Bureau of Consular Affairs
 
Passports
 
Other Information
 
Visa Information for Foreign Citizens
more
Controversies:

Passport Files of Presidential Candidates Improperly Accessed
In March 2008, embarrassed State Department officials admitted that three employees working for private contractors and one department employee had breached the passport files of Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and John McCain. The information could be used to access social security numbers and credit reports, as long with other private information. Sixty percent of people who process passports are contractors. The State Department has yet to reveal the motivations of the contract employees, who worked for Stanley Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, and The Analysis Corp. (TAC) of McLean, Virginia.

 

more
See all 20 comments

Comments

Abumohammad I Zaman 1 week ago
I put in an application on Sept. 8, 2014. It's been over 8 weeks! I even paid 74.85 to get it expedited, which I think shouldn't have had to pay since it has been over 8 weeks. Where is my passport? I am getting ready to go to for pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. I am worried that I won't be able to join my family there on time because of this unwarranted delay in processing my passport. I have gone through this application/renewal process before but this unwarranted display is not appreciated by a U.S. Citizen like myself. Please send me my passport ASAP so that I can take care of the required visa and airfare. Please help. --- Abumohammad I Zaman
Jones Paye 4 months ago
Happy Independent day to All American
Keith MARSH 9 months ago
I am a U.S. State Dept. Employee that works closely with the CA Bureau. I applied for the renewal of my personal passport in Jan 2014. My check for $110.00 was cashed 2 wks after receipt of my application. I received a ltr. 1st wk of Feb 2014 telling me to resubmit due to non-clerity of the form. Called to check today (2 wks later), and was told you never received my resubmission. I am due to go on vacation the end of March 2014. Had I believed the horror stories of this bureau I would have hand carried my passport personally. This bureau needs a LOT of help in the area of customer support and satisfaction!!
Katherine J Foote 1 year ago
I cannot find my valid passport. We are leaving for Canada from the U.S. on Saturday, September 7. Can I use my Delaware Enhanced Drivers License for entering and leaving Canada?
Maria Jose Redondo 1 year ago
Case reference number: H20131017 Spaniard trying to get a visa to travel to US from Madrid (my husband already working in the US). At the interview an officer handed me a paper which says to wait at least 60 days to contact them to see what happen with my visa(if I don't receive any answer from them) I did and I didn't get any response. It is been 64 days waiting for an answer. This situation is embarrasing and innaceptable. The sad think is you have nobody to ask, no place to go to get information and you can not complain. This situacion is insane. Nobody tell you how long is going to take the process 60 days or more (how many days are 'more' for them)? 1 year, 2 years? Are they going to issue the visa or give me any kind of explanation before I die? This should be illegal and this institution lied to me because I got not response in the emails I sent.
RF 3 years ago
what is a valid phone to reach a live person at the us dept of state, bureau of consular affairs?
Soledad Yoda 4 years ago
Im have doble nacionality american and other now I am a Consul in usa I would like to know if i can have both
Scott Hauptman 4 years ago
Question - Is an AK State Resident (US Citizen) who travels the Alaska/Canadian Highway required to have a VISA to re-enter the US?
catherine clara mason 4 years ago
I just received an email from USDept of State re non-receipt of my renewal passport application locator #240356635 telling me to contact Bureau of Consular Affairs at askca@state.gov, Question reference #101003-000479. This site does not seem to exist,now what? Can someone in the Dept please have the courtesy to contact me by telephone #928 284 9349? I MUST get this resolved as have an ailing Mother in Canada. Please help.This has been ongoing since Jul 17/2010. Thank you
Sandra L. Pratchen 4 years ago
Hello and Good Day to You: In reference to this incident, my Moroccan friend applied for a Visitor Visa to the United States, and went to the Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco this morning for his interview with them. His name is Younesse Faress, his visa application confirmation number is AA000WQSB9 and the confirmation ID number for his Interview Appointment with the consulate is Dzn39npWbs. The person who interviewed him for his Visitor Visa denied his application to come...

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1952
Annual Budget: $3.6 million
Employees: 8,000
Official Website: http://travel.state.gov/
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Jacobs, Janice
Previous Assistant Secretary

 President George W. Bush sent his nomination for Janice L. Jacobs to become Assistant Secretary of State to the Senate on April 2, 2008. Jacobs received a BA in French and Education from Southern Illinois University in 1968. Then from 1968 to 1969 she worked as an assembly line worker for Magnavox in Champaign, Illinois, and in the Admissions Office at the University of Illinois. From 1969 to 1970 she taught French and Spanish at Edison Jr. High in Champaign. At this point, her husband joined the Foreign Service, and she accompanied him on tours to Ecuador, Egypt, and Mexico, working in a variety of jobs, including at the World Bank, NAFSA (an association of international educators), and as a substitute teacher at various international schools overseas. In 1978 Jacobs was hired by the Department of State as an Eligible Family Member, and worked in the consular sections at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and Merida, Mexico. She formally joined the Foreign Service in March 1980, and from 1980 through 1981 she was assigned to Lagos, Nigeria. From the summer of 1982 to summer 1983 her assignment took her to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and from 1983 to 1985 she served in Paris. Then she took a year of paid leave to join her new husband in Miami, and attended Florida International University.

 
From 1987 to 1990, Jacobs was Chief of the Coordination Divisions in the Visa Office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and from 1990 to 1991 she served in the State Department Operations Center as a Senior Watch Officer. From 1991 to 1994, Jacobs served as the Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros, Mexico. From 1994 to 1995 she attended the National War College at Ft. McNair in Washington D.C., where she received a Master’s in National Security Strategy. From 1995 to 1998, Jacobs was Deputy Director of the Office of Cuban Affairs, and from 1998 to 2000 she served as the Director of the Office of Field Support and Liaison at the Visa Office of the Bureau of Consular Affairs. From 2000 to 2002 Jacobs was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and from 2002 to 2005, she returned to the Bureau of Consular Affairs as Deputy Assistant Director for Visa Services. From 2006 through July 2007, Jacobs served as Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, and from August 2007 to March, 2008, she was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, after which she was elevated to the position of Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs.
 
more