When you are moving to another country, it can be a hassle at times if something should go wrong. Rest assured, consulates and embassies are there to assist you when you become a foreign citizen in a new land.
More often than not, you’ll be dealing with a consulate most of the time but there are times when you may need to utilize an embassy. Here’s some important information about consulates and embassies and what type of diplomatic services they can provide to you if needed when heading overseas.
Here’s what you need to know about each of them:
They are the official diplomatic representation, or mission, of one government to another. The person in charge, usually an ambassador, is the personal representative of the respective nation’s head of state. Embassies are responsible for government-to-government relations. A country has only one embassy in each of the other countries with which it has diplomatic relations. It’s typically located in the nation’s capital city. In some countries, renewing passports for citizens while they’re abroad might occur only at an embassy, not a consulate.
Consulates may be established in other large or commercially important cities. If nations don’t have full diplomatic relations, one country might establish a consulate, but not an embassy with an ambassador. A consulate’s primary function is to provide services for residents or travelers.
Some of the services consulates can provide include the following:
• Renewing passports
• Replacing lost or stolen passports
• Providing aid in obtaining medical and legal assistance
• Notarizing documents
• Assisting with tax returns and absentee voting
• Making arrangements in the event of death
• Registering births to nationals abroad
• Certifying—but not performing or granting—marriages and divorces abroad
• Providing information on dealing with host country authorities
• Arranging for evacuation or other assistance in emergency situations
Some consulates may have a community liaison officer who maintains contact with nationals residing in the area. It may be a part-time position filled by the spouse of a consulate official, but the officer is likely a valuable person to know.
Before you move, know the location and contact of the consulate or embassy so if you are in need of any diplomatic services, you know exactly where to call and who to be in touch with.
For a list of embassies and consulates, please visit USEmbassy.gov and or GoAbroad.gov for a specific consulate or embassy by country.