The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has prepared
this publication for Americans considering residence abroad as
well as for the more than three million U.S. citizens who are
currently residing in a foreign country. Our primary goal is to
provide assistance to and protect the welfare of American citizens
who live abroad.
Before taking up a foreign residence, there are many details
that you will need to consider. This brochure will acquaint you
with the wide range of services provided to American citizens
by U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. We are committed to
providing prompt, courteous, and effective assistance.
Any additional guidance not specifically addressed in this publication
may be obtained from the Bureau of Consular Affairs in the Department
of State or from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if you
are living overseas.
Department of State Publication 10391
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Revised September 1996
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent
of Documents, Mailstop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328
BEFORE YOU GO
LEARN ABOUT THE HOST COUNTRY
Read as much as possible about the country where you plan to
reside. Learning about a nation's culture, customs, people, and
history will make your stay more meaningful. Libraries, bookstores
and tourist bureaus are good resources for this information. Keep
abreast as well of the international news for the latest political
developments in the country where you will live. Although English
is spoken in many countries, learning the language of the nation
in which you plan to reside will make the transition to your new
One of the best ways to learn about living in a foreign country
is to get advice from U.S. citizens already residing there. Countries
with large numbers of U.S. expatriates often have a U.S. Chamber
of Commerce, a bicultural organization, or clubs for Americans
that could give you information on living in that country. In
countries with fewer U.S. residents, you may be able to meet fellow
expatriates through a local international club. The Consular Section
of the U.S. embassy or consulate may be able to assist you in
finding these organizations.
The Department of State publishes Background Notes on countries
around the world. These are brief, factual pamphlets with information
on each country's people, culture, geography, history, government,
economy, and political conditions. They are available for about
170 countries worldwide and often include a reading list, travel
notes, and maps. To purchase copies, contact the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
20402 or call (202) 512-1800. Select issues are also available
from the Bureau of Public Affairs, fax-on-demand by calling (202)
736-7720 from your fax machine or on the Department of States
homepage on the Internet at http://www.state.gov.
Consular Information Program
The U.S. Department of State issues fact sheets on every country
in the world called Consular Information Sheets. The sheets contain
information on crime and security conditions, areas of instability
and other details relevant to travel in a particular country.
The Department of State also issues Travel Warnings and Public
Announcements. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department
recommends deferral of travel by Americans to a country because
of civil unrest, dangerous conditions, terrorist activity and/or
because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with the country
and cannot assist an American in distress. Public Announcements
are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about
terrorist threats and other relatively short-term and/or transnational
condition which would pose significant risks to American travelers.