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U.S. Department of State

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Bureau of Public Affairs
May 2004

Questions are arranged alphabetically by subject.  Scroll through the page or click on a letter below to jump to questions on topics starting with that letter.  Use the Back button on your browser to return to this index.


About the State Department

What does the State Department do?
The State Department is the lead federal agency responsible for U.S. foreign affairs. The Department of State helps to shape a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world through formulating, representing, and implementing the President's foreign policy.

For an introduction to the activities of the State Department, please see:

What the State Department Does


How is the State Department organized?
Bureaus and Offices

Where can I find an organization chart of the State Department?
Organization Chart

Adoption -- International adoptions
What federal agencies handle international adoptions?
The two federal agencies that handle the issues involved in immigration and citizenship for international adoption are the State Department for travel visas and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The following resources may help you to direct your inquiries:

International Adoption Homepage (includes links to adoption information for specific countries)

International Adoption Guidelines'ladoption.htm

USCIS: International Adoption

USCIS: Locate the Nearest Field Offices Via Clickable Map

Where can I find information about Ambassadors and Chiefs of Missions?
Information and biographies are available at:

I want to send a file to the State Department, but my e-mail keeps bouncing back – what can I do?
The State Department does not accept e-mail attachments; if you have a question or comment, please use our web mail form at:

Background Notes
Where can I find Country Background Notes?
Background Notes are available at:

When and by whom are Background Notes updated?
Background Notes are updated by desk officers in each regional bureau and released on the Web site soon after receipt by the Bureau of Public Affairs. Update schedules for Notes vary widely from one regional bureau to another. Most State Department offices and bureaus do not deal with inquiries by e-mail, but telephone numbers are available at:

Can I get an e-mail when Background Notes are updated?
To receive the latest releases of Country Background Notes by e-mail, subscribe to the DOSBACK e-mail subscription at:

Birth certificates
I am a U.S. citizen, where can I obtain a copy of my birth certificate?
To obtain a copy of a birth certificate, if you were born a U.S. citizen in a U.S. state, please see:

You also may wish to contact:
U.S. Department of State
Passport Correspondence Office
1111 Nineteenth Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20524
Tel: 202-955-0307

I am not a U.S. citizen, where can I obtain a copy of my birth certificate?
If you were born a U.S. citizen outside the U.S., please see:

If you were born the citizen of another country you may need to contact a consular officer at one of that country's foreign embassies or consulates. For embassies and consulates of other countries in the U.S., please see the following sites:

Foreign Embassies in the U.S.

Foreign Consular Offices in the United States

Business information and contacts
Where can I find answers to business questions?
For business information or to contact the State Department with business questions, please see:

Business Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find business contacts in a particular country?
Business Contacts

I am trying to conduct business abroad; where can I find information about this?
Doing Business Abroad

I want to start an export business; where can I find information on exporting products?
U.S. Government Export Portal

To which countries can my business not export products?
Department of Commerce: Export Controls

Child abduction
Where can I get assistance if my child was abducted and taken to another country?
For direct assistance, please contact the Office of Children's Issues:
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
2401 E Street, NW
Room L127
Washington, DC 20037
Tel: 202-736-9130
Toll Free (within U.S.) Tel: 1-888-407-4747 (8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. eastern time)
Fax: 202-736-9133

Also see:
International Parental Child Abduction

Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program

Commercial Fraud/Scams
Are the e-mails and/or faxes I’ve received from Nigeria offering me business opportunities legitimate?
Fraudulent e-mail and fax solicitation started in Nigeria, but reports show that both e-mail messages and faxes originate from Lagos, Congo, and Sierra Leone, in addition to Nigeria.  For information on these types of solicitations, please see the following Web sites:

Tips for Business Travelers to Nigeria

Advance Fee for Business Scams

How do I protect myself from e-mail solicitation?
For additional information about how to avoid this kind of e-mail, please note the following from the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Avoid displaying your e-mail address in public spaces, including newsgroup postings or chat rooms, on Web sites, or in an online service's membership directory.
  • Check a Web site's privacy policy before submitting your e-mail address.  Be sure to include the Web site doesn't plan to sell your address. If possible, "opt out" of any such plans.
  • Read and understand Web site forms before you transmit personal information. If possible, select the "opt out" choice if the Web site plans to share your information.
  • Create two e-mail addresses - one for personal messages and the other for public use, such as in newsgroups or chat rooms. Or, consider a disposable e-mail address service: it creates a separate e-mail address that forwards your e-mail to your permanent address. If the disposable address begins to receive spam, you can shut if off without affecting the permanent address.
  • Create a unique e-mail address. Spammers often use "dictionary attacks" to sort through possible name combinations at large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or e-mail services to find valid addresses. So a common name, like "jdoe," may get more spam than a unique name, like "jd51x02oe."
  • Use an e-mail filter. Some e-mail accounts provide a tool to filter out potential spam or channel it to a bulk e-mail folder. You may want to ask whether this option is available when choosing an ISP.
  • Report the spam to the ISP - yours and the sender's. Often the e-mail address is "abuse@[your ISP's name].com" or postmaster@[your ISP's name].com
  • The ISP may be able to stop further spam. Report the problem to the FTC. Send the actual spam item to:
  • Be sure to include the full e-mail header so that your complaint can be followed up. If your complaint has to do with "remove me" or "unsubscribe" offers not working, complete and submit the FTC's complaint form at:
For more on spam and how to avoid it, please see:

Country research
I am researching other countries, where can I find information about them?
Please see the following sites for information:

Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets

U.S. Embassies and Consulates

Major State Department Publications

For additional research links on countries:

Your local library can also help you with books, news articles and journal articles on your topic.  To find your local federal depository library via a clickable map, please see:

Diplomatic Immunity
Who is granted diplomatic immunity?
How does one get diplomatic immunity?
Where can I find information about diplomatic immunity?
For information on diplomatic immunity, please see:

Diplomatic and Consular Immunity

Legal Aspects of Diplomatic Immunity

Serving the Foreign Diplomatic Community

Immunity Issues: Telephone Numbers

Dual Citizenship
I want dual citizenship with the U.S. and another country, how do I get it?
For information about dual nationality, please see:

How can I lose my dual citizenship?
For information on how someone may LOSE his/her dual citizenship status, please see:

What agency handles citizenship and immigration?
The U.S. federal agency that handles issues of citizenship and immigration is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a bureau in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You may find more information from the USCIS Frequently
Asked Questions About Naturalization at:

Education, Exchanges, and Scholarships
Where can I get information about education, exchanges, and scholarships?

Please see:

Where can I get information about the Fulbright Program?
Please see:

Where can I get an application for a scholarship?
To obtain application forms and specific requirements, you must to contact the individual universities in the United States directly.  You also may find more information about financial aid and educational opportunities on the following Web sites:

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education: U.S. Network for Education Information

How can I pay for my education?
You can find information about financial aid and funding your education at the following Web sites:
U.S. Department of Education: Funding Your Education

U.S. Department of Education: Finding Out about Financial Aid

U.S. Department of Education: Access America for Students

Embargoes and Sanctions
Where can I get information about embargoes and sanctions on other countries?
Please see the Defense Trade Controls Embargo Reference Chart:

For further assistance at the State Department, please write:
Commercial and Business Affairs
2201 C Street, NW, Room 2318
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 202-647-1625
Fax: 202-647-3953

For additional information, please see:

Bureau of Industry and Security: License Application and Policy Guidance Fact Sheets

Bureau of Industry and Security: Export Controls

Bureau of Industry and Security: Export Counseling

Excluded Parties Listing System

Treasury Department: Office of Foreign Assets Control

Treasury Department: International Trade Data System

Embassies -- Foreign in the U.S.
Where can I find information about foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S., including where they are located?
For embassies and consulates of other countries in the U.S., please see the following sites:

Foreign Embassies in the U.S.

Foreign Consular Offices in the United States

How can I locate a foreign diplomat located in the U.S.?
Diplomatic List

How can I locate Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments in the U.S.?
Central Intelligence Agency: Chiefs of State & Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments

Embassies -- U.S.
Where can I find information about U.S. embassies and consulates in foreign countries, including where they are located?
To locate a U.S. Embassy Web site, please see:

How can I locate a U.S. diplomat in another country?
To locate contact addresses and key officers at U.S. Embassies, please see:

Please note that many State Department offices and posts do not deal with the public via e-mail. The State Department's Bureau of Information Resources and Management does not provide a directory of e-mail addresses for posts or individuals, but we will ensure that this bureau is aware of all public requests for e-mail addresses.

Embassy Post Reports
Where can I find a U.S. embassy post report?
Embassy post reports are available at:

Employment (State Department)
What kind of career could I have with the State Department?
For information about Foreign and Civil Service, Student Programs and Internships, and more, please see:

Where can I get a list of open jobs at the State Department?
The 24-hour Civil Service Job Vacancy Line telephone number is 202-647-7284.
A list of State Department job openings by U.S. government agency is available at:

Perform an agency search, by typing “Department of State” in the search box or selecting “Department of State” from the menu. Each open position listed explains how to apply for that job. Often you can apply on-line, but in some cases, you may need to complete federal employment application forms and pass exams to be eligible for employment.

To contact the Office of Recruitment at the State Department:
Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment
U.S. Department of State
2401 E Street, NW, 5th Floor Highrise
Washington, DC 20522
Tel: 202-261-8888
Fax: 202-261-8841

Can the State Department give me a list of international job openings?
Announcements for employment opportunities with international organizations are posted on this site every 2 weeks:

Where can I get a list of open jobs at U.S. embassies?
Please see specific embassy sites for international jobs. Embassy web pages are at:

Employment (U.S.)
How do I get a job in the United States?
Where can I get a list of open jobs in the U.S. government?
Please see the following sites:
Office of Personnel Management: U.S.A. Jobs

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook which includes descriptions of jobs, experience and education requirements, earnings, etc.

Department of Labor: America's Job Bank (includes job listings)

U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Exchange Rates
Where can I find the latest foreign exchange rates?
The State Department's Web site does not include the information you are seeking, but the Library of Congress site links to foreign exchange rate converters at:

Export Forms
What forms do I have to complete if I want to export military items to another country?
Export licensing Forms DS-2032 and DSP-83 can be downloaded from:

Other forms, such as DSP-5, DSP-61, DSP-85, and DSP-119 can be ordered through the online ordering system at:
These forms also may be requested by sending a fax to 202-261-8264 identifying the form and stating a quantity.

For general inquiries about and guidance on licensing and compliance matters, please contact the Office of Defense Trade Controls directly at:
PM/DDTC, SA-1, 12th Floor
Directorate of Defense Trade Controls
Bureau of Political Military Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20522-0112
Telephone (8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.):
Receptionist: 202-663-2980
Response Team: 202-663-1282
Case Status: 202-663-2700

Federal Depository Library (Archives)
Where is the closest federal depository library to me where I can find archives of State Department documents?
To find your local federal depository library via a clickable map, please see:

Foreign Assistance
Where can I find information about foreign assistance provided by the U.S.?
Please see:
State Department International Affairs Budget

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

USAID Publications

Foreign Policy Opinion
Will I get a response if I send the Secretary of State an e-mail expressing my opinion on U.S. foreign policy?
Secretary Powell receives so much mail that he cannot personally review each message. On behalf of the Secretary, the State Department's public information officers in the Public Communication Division, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Liaison, read each e-mail received. E-mails solely expressing foreign policy opinions or congratulating the Secretary are carefully recorded.

The Secretary is committed to keeping in touch with people throughout the U.S. and the world. Your continued interest and participation in foreign affairs is very important to the Secretary. The following Web sites contain a wide variety of information from the State Department:
The Secretary's Web pages

State Department Homepage

For information, please contact the Bureau of Public Affairs at:
Public Communication Division
U.S. State Department
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 202-647-6575
Fax: 202-261-8577 (the Secretary’s public fax)

Foreign Policy Research
Where can I find information on U.S. foreign policy for my research paper?
We cannot conduct research for you, but we refer you to the following sites:

International Topics and Issues

What the Secretary Has Been Saying

Press and Public Affairs

History, Education and Culture

For Foreign Policy information prior to 2001, please see the archive:

Foreign Service
How do I join the Foreign Service?
For general information about careers in the State Department including the Foreign Service, please see:

For additional information about the Foreign Service or other State Department careers, please contact:
Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment
U.S. Department of State
2401 E Street, NW, 5th Floor Highrise
Washington, DC 20522
Tel: 202-261-8888
Fax: 202-261-8841

When is the next Foreign Service Exam?
For information about this exam, including online registration and exam study guides, please see:

Foreign Service Officer (Former)
Where can I find information about a former State Department Foreign Service officer?

A good source for State Department biographies at your local federal depository library is the State Department's Biographic Register:

Author:  United States. Department of State.
Title:  Biographic register.
Published:  Washington, U.S. GPO
LC Call Number: JK851 .A3

Fulbright Program
Where can I find information on becoming a Fulbright scholar?
For information, including application requirements, please see:

For additional information, please contact:
Office of Academic Exchange Programs
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State, SA-44
301 4th Street, S.W., Room 234
Washington, DC 20547
Tel: 202-619-4360
Fax: 202-401-5914

Great Seal
What is the Great Seal of the United States?
For the history of the Great Seal, please see:

A more complete publication is also available in PDF (requires Adobe Acrobat reader) at:

Am I allowed to use the Great Seal of the United States?
What are the laws regarding the Great Seal of the United States?
Use of the Great Seal of the United States is governed by Public Law 91-651, Title 18 of the United States Code. This is a criminal statute with penal provisions, prohibiting certain uses of the Great Seal that would convey or reasonably be calculated to convey a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof.

Although the Secretary of State is custodian of the Seal, the Department of State has no authority to grant or withhold permission for use of reproductions, facsimiles, or likenesses of the Seal, or any part thereof. The Department of Justice determines, based on the circumstances of each case, whether any particular use violates the Statute. Consequently, the Department of State's policy has been to discourage use of the Great Seal, except when used for governmental or educational purposes, and the Department does not provide artwork for its use other than for official State Department material.

The Office of Presidential Appointments manages the use of the Great Seal.
For further information, please contact:
Office of Presidential Appointments
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW, Room 2336
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 202-647-9731
Fax: 202-647-4694

Human Rights Reports
When are the Human Rights Reports released?
Human Rights Reports are released in mid-to-late February of each year.

Where can I find the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices published by the State Department?
Current Reports

1993-1999 Reports

What government agency is responsible for immigration?
Immigration questions are handled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  USCIS provides a toll-free telephone number for immigration and naturalization questions:  1-800-375-5283. Additional information may be found at:

Immigration Statistics
Where can I find immigration statistics?
The State Department Web site does not contain information specifically on your topic; however, the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs has some related statistics at:

Visa Services

Passport Services: Statistics

Where can I find information about refugees?
For information about refugees, please see:

Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration

Other sites for immigration statistics:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Statistics

Census Bureau: Immigration Statistics

International Narcotics Reports
Where can I find International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports?
The State Department Web site provides online Narcotics Reports from 1996 to the present at:

Older reports are not available online, but you may be able to find the information you need at your local federal depository library.

When are International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports published?
International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports are published annually in March.

Link request
Can I put a link on my Web site to the
Please feel free to link to the State Department's Web site. Material is in the public domain unless a copyright is noted.

Who can answer my specific question regarding copyright on
The Bureau of Public Affairs can answer specific questions regarding copyright. Please contact:
Public Communication Division
Office of Public Liaison
Bureau of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW, Room 2206
Washington, DC 20520-2204
Tel: 202-647-6575
E-mail form:

Mad Cow Disease
Do I need to worry about Mad Cow Disease when I travel to other countries?
Please see Medical Information for Americans Abroad:

The Centers for Disease Control provides general disease information as well as travel information on diseases and health at:
Centers for Disease Control

CDC: Travelers' Health

CDC: Mad Cow Disease

What is Mad Cow Disease?
General information about this disease may be found at:
Food & Drug Administration

Trying to Keep "Mad Cow Disease" Out of U.S. Herds, from FDA Consumer

Passport Information
Where and how do I get a U.S. passport?
Information about Passports is available at:

For contact information for the National Passport Information Center, please see:

How much does it cost to get a U.S. passport?
Please see the passport fee schedule at

How do I obtain a copy of my Passport Records?
To request copies of passport records, please see the following Web sites for information:

How to Obtain Copies of Your Passport Records

Passport Applications at the National Archives

Passport Statistics
How many passports does the State Department issue each year?
For passport statistics from 1974 to the present, please see:

Patterns of Global Terrorism
Where can I get a copy of "Patterns of Global Terrorism"?
The current edition of this publication is available on the State Department Web site at:

Also, you may purchase a copy directly from the Government Printing Office.  For ordering information, please see:

The information you need to provide is:
Stock Number: 041-015-00229-5
Price: $36.00 (U.S.); $50.40 (Non-U.S.)

PDF: Adobe Acrobat .pdf File
Why can’t I download an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file (PDF)?
If you are having difficulty, check the PDF file and if it is working correctly, there may be a problem with your Adobe Acrobat configuration. For example, some people using Acrobat Reader 3.0 have experienced problems with files created in newer versions while in other cases, users may not have Adobe Acrobat installed or may not have it correctly configured to work with their web browser.

To download the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat at no cost, please see:

After downloading, you will need to install the software and you also may need to check to see whether it is configured correctly as a "plugin" in your browser. For additional help
installing and configuring Adobe Acrobat, please see:

Per Diem Rates -- Domestic
Where can I find the current government domestic per diem rates?
For domestic per diem rate information, you will need to visit the Web sites of these other federal agencies:

U.S. General Services Administration: Domestic Per Diem Rates

Department of Defense: Non-contiguous U.S. Rates

Per Diem Rates -- Foreign
Where can I find the current government foreign per diem rates?
Foreign per diem rates are available at:

Foreign per diem rates are handled by the Office of Allowances. Please see their site for more information:

You can subscribe to receive foreign per diem rates by e-mail:

If you have further questions on foreign per diem rates:
Office of Allowances
Bureau of Administration
U.S. Department of State
SA-1, Room H426
2401 E St, NW
Washington, DC 20522
Tel: 202-663-1121

The CONUS domestic rates are not available via the State Department, but you can find them online at the U.S. General Services Administration:

Per Diem – Section 920 DSSR
Where can I find the latest Section 920 Table of Allowances?
Thank you for your question about Section 920 Department of State Standardized Regulations information.  For the latest postings, please see our Web site at:

For additional information about per diem rates and Section 920 information, please contact the Office of Allowances at:
Office of Allowances
Bureau of Administration
U.S. Department of State
SA-1, Room H426
2401 E St, NW
Washington, DC 20522
Tel: 202-663-1121

Press Briefings and Statements
Where can I get information on State Department press briefings and statements?
Please see the following sites for information:

Current Press Briefings

Current Press Releases

What the Secretary Has Been Saying

Daily briefings and press statements are also available via e-mail subscription at:

Daily press briefings prior to 2000

Press statements prior to 2000

Where can I find information about diplomatic etiquette and protocol?
The State Department Web site provides the following resources on diplomatic protocol and etiquette:

Overseas Briefing Center: Protocol for the Modern Diplomat

Foreign Affairs Manual: 2 FAM 300, Protocol, Precedence, and Formalities

Secretaries of State
Where can I find information about former Secretaries of State?
Please see:
About the State Department

U.S. Department of State for Youth

Archive: Secretaries of State

Archive: State Department Office of the Historian FAQ

Secretary Powell – Biography
Where can I find Secretary Powell’s biography?
For biographical information on Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, please see:

Can I find out where the Secretary of State will be on any given day?
For information on Secretary Powell’s schedule, please see:

What does the Secretary of State do?
For information on the duties of the Secretary of State, please see:

Speaker Request
How can I get a person from the State Department to speak at my location?
To arrange for a representative to speak at your location, please contact:
Regional Programs
Office of Public Liaison
Bureau of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW, Room 2206
Washington, DC 20520-2204
Tel: 202-647-8411

State Department Employees - Locating and Contacting
Where can I call to find a State Department employee?
The State Department's main switchboard is 202-647-4000. Telephone numbers of individual State Department employees are available on the Web as released by the Bureau of Administration:

A directory of e-mail addresses is not available.

You can also find listings for State Department key officers at:

Where can I call to find a member of the Foreign Service?
To locate someone in the Foreign Service, please contact the Employee Services Center at 202-647-3432, or write:
Employee Services Center
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW, Room 1252
Washington, DC 20520

If you wish to contact the overseas post where the person you seek last worked, see the foreign posts and overseas missions at:

State Department Forms
Can I get a State Department form online?
To access State Department forms online, please see the following sites:

Passport Forms DS-11, 19, 64, 82, 3053

Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)

Non-immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-156)

Supplemental Non-immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-157)

Defense Trade Controls: DS-2032, DSP-83, ELLIEnet, and Order Export Forms DSP-5, 61, 73, 85, 119 are available at:

State Department List – privacy
I want information on the individuals and companies with whom the State Department does business. Where can I find it?
Section (n) of the Privacy Act expressly prohibits agencies from selling or renting mailing lists. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the State Department does not compile or maintain lists of individuals for public availability. Please see the full text of the Privacy Act for more information:

State Department Listserv
How can I automatically receives State Department documents and publications?
To read about State Department electronic mailing lists and manage your e-mail subscriptions, please see:

State Department Records
Where can I find old records of the State Department?
Microfilmed copies of older State Department records can be obtained by contacting the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA records are arranged by the creating agency and are assigned particular "record group" numbers. State Department records can be found in Record Group 59. More information about NARA's State Department holdings is available at the following sites:

Guide to the General Records of the Department of State

General Record of the Department of State

To contact NARA with questions about State Department records:

Use the inquire Form at:

State Department Reports – Major Publications
Where can I get reports and publications issued by the State Department?
Major State Department Publications are available at:

Teaching Overseas
Where can I find information about teaching overseas?
Please see:

Or contact:
Office of Overseas Schools
U.S. Department of State
Room H328, SA-1
Washington, D. C. 20522-0132
Tel: 202-261-8200
Fax: 202-261-8224

Tourism Statistics
Where can I get statistics about the tourism industry?
The State Department Web site does not include information specifically on your topic, though you may wish to see the following:

Visa Statistics

Passport Statistics

For other federal agencies more directly focused on tourism statistics, please see:

Bureau of Transportation Statistics: American Travel Survey

International Trade Administration: Tourism Industries

Can I take a tour of the State Department when I’m visiting Washington, DC?
Guided tours of the State Department are conducted Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Tours are 45 minutes in duration. Reservations are required and should be made approximately four weeks in advance, due to the large volume of requests.

Please call or write the Department's tour office:
Tour Office
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 202-647-3241
Fax: 202-736-4232
TDD: 202-736-4474

Travel Safety - Travel Warnings & Advisories
How do I know if I will be safe if I travel overseas?
For the most current information on travel warnings and related updates, contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, at 202-647-5225 or visit their Web site at:

To see travel warnings and consular information sheets by country, please see:

Additionally, the U.S. Embassy in the country you are visiting also may provide additional information and links about the country on their Web site at:

Travel publications are available at:

Travel advisories and consular information are also distributed via e-mail on the State Department's DOSTRAVEL e-mail group. You can learn more about the DOSTRAVEL electronic subscriptions and how to subscribe here:

State Department e-mail subscriptions

How do I know if the travel warnings are up to date?
Travel warnings are issued as necessary and unless otherwise specified, are in effect until the State Department issues either a new warning or a notice that the current warning will expire.  Therefore, the warnings listed on our site are current although they were issued months before.

When was the last Travel Advisory on Worldwide Caution issued?
On January 9, 2004, a Public Announcement on Worldwide Caution was issued. This announcement is set to expire on July 9, 2004. The full text is available at:

How can I get in touch with my relative who is traveling in a crisis area?
Families in the United States whose U.S. citizen relatives abroad are directly affected by a crisis can also communicate with the Department of State through our Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management at 202-647-5225. If a 24-hour task force or working group is established in the Department of State Operations Center to manage the crisis, you will be directed to the Task Force at 202-647-0900. For more information, please see:

Where can I find health information for the foreign country I’m getting ready to visit?
International travelers can also check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, through their hotline at:
1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747)
fax: 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299)

Where can I find information about current and past treaties the U.S. has signed?
The State Department Web site provides the following resources on treaties:

Treaty Actions

Treaties in Force

U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaties

Archive of U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaties

U.S. Arms Control Treaties & Other Agreements

Archive of Arms Control and International Security

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Visas for Americans
How does a U.S. citizen get a visa to travel to another country?
For Americans wishing to visit other countries, please see the following site for information on foreign entry requirements:

To contact a local foreign consulate in the United States please see:

Visa Affidavit of Support (I-864)
How do I file an Affidavit of Support for a Relative?
Please see:
Affidavit of Support

Affidavit of Support Checklist

General Information & Frequently Asked Questions: Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)

Visa Denial
Why was my visa denied?
Information about visa denial is available at:

How can I reapply for a visa that has been denied?
For reapplication to the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Embassy that is handling your case, please see:

Visa Information & Contacts
Who can I talk to about my visa?
For assistance, please contact the experts at Visa Services directly at:
Public Inquiries
Visa Services
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20522-0106
Tel: 202-663-1225

What is the e-mail address for the Visa Services office and is there any special format I should use when sending an e-mail?
If you choose to contact Visa Services by e-mail at
, the Visa Office requires that you type a particular code into the subject line of your e-mail message in order to more efficiently process your inquiry. These codes are included below:

IF YOU ARE IN THE U.S., and would like to stay longer, or work in the U.S., or change from a certain visa category to another, or change your employer, type INS

For information on visa denial, type DENIAL

If you want to visit the U.S., type VISIT

If you want to work in the U.S., type WORK

For information on cultural exchange programs, type EXCHANGE

If you want to study in the U.S., type STUDENT

For information for "J" visa waivers, type 212eWAIVER

For information on renewing E, H, I, L, O, or P visas in the U.S, type REVALIDATION

For information on traveling abroad (i.e., outside the U.S.), type FOREIGN

If you want to live permanently in the U.S., type IMMIGRATE

For information on marrying an alien, type MARRIAGE

For information about adopting a foreign child, type ADOPTION

If you have a question about a specific visa case at a particular post, type one of the following:


NOTE: Be sure to include any case specific inquiry includes the full name of the applicant, his/her date and place of birth, date of application, location of the Foreign Service post concerned, and the visa case number.

Visa Lottery
Is it too late to apply for the DV-2005 visa lottery?
The application submission period for DV-2005 is now over, and all submission processing at this Web site has stopped. All further processing of DV-2005 applications will take place at the Kentucky Consular Center:

Please watch this page for updated information about the Visa Lottery:

For information on previous DV visa lotteries, please contact the National Visa Center at:
National Visa Center
32 Rochester Ave.
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Tel: 603-334-0700

Visa Services publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin describing immigrant visa categories and current priority dates as well as information on the diversity visa lottery; see:

Visa retrogression
What is visa retrogression?
Visa numbers for some categories have "retrogressed," meaning that the priority dates have been set backward instead of forward. Retrogressions happen when the legal limit for available visa numbers is approaching or has been reached.  However when the new fiscal year starts in October, priority cutoff dates will return again to the most recent date.  For further information, please see the Visa Bulletin:

Visa Statistics
Where can I get statistical information on visas?
Please see:
Visa Services: Statistics

Visa Bulletin

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services: Immigration Statistics

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