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Consular Affairs (CA) is the public face of the Department of State for millions of people around the world. CA is responsible for the welfare and protection of U.S. citizens abroad, for the issuance of passports and other documentation to citizens and nationals, and for the protection of U.S. border security and the facilitation of legitimate travel to the United States. CA also has a significant domestic presence, most notably the 29 U.S. Passport agencies and centers, 26 of which deal directly with the U.S. public. These far-reaching consular activities have broad foreign policy and domestic political implications and involve serious legal, humanitarian, and management concerns. Responsibility for these functions is vested within the Department of State in the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs and for their implementation abroad in consular officers assigned to embassies and consulates abroad. CA is also the Department’s largest Bureau in terms of domestic personnel and is almost entirely funded through revenue generated by consular fees. This revenue totaled $4.16 billion in 2015, making CA the equivalent of a Fortune 600 company.
Travel Advisories Levels 1-4
Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.
Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Departments of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level 3 - Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level 4 – Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Varying Levels "Travel Advisories" issue an overall Travel Advisory level for a country, but levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, we may advise U.S. citizens to “Exercise Increased Caution” (Level 2) in a country, but to “Reconsider Travel” (Level 3) to a particular area within the country. Risk Indicators Travel Advisories at Levels 2-4 will contain clear reasons for the level assigned, using established risk indicators and specific advice to U.S. citizens who choose to travel there. These are: C – Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes. T – Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups, or other targets may exist. U – Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions, and/or safety risks. H – Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may also be a factor. N - Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger. E - Time-limited Event: Short-term event, such as elections, sporting events, or other incidents that may pose safety risks. O – Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators. Read the country’s Travel Advisory for details.
The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, mandates that, to the maximum extent practicable, the Department of State collect and make available on the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site certain information with respect to each United States citizen who dies in a foreign country from a non-natural cause. The information required is: (1) the date of death; (2) the locality where the death occurred; and (3) the cause of death, including, if the death resulted from an act of terrorism, a statement disclosing that fact. The information on the web site must be listed on a country-by-country basis, and must cover deaths occurring since the date of enactment of the legislation on September 30, 2002, or occurring during the preceding three calendar years, whichever period is shorter.
This information should not be considered a statistically complete account of U.S. citizen deaths in foreign countries during the reporting period. Only those deaths reported to the Department of State and deaths that can be established as non-natural are included. Most American citizens who die abroad were resident abroad and surviving family members might not inform the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of the death. The report may not include some deaths of U.S. military or U.S. government officials. Identifying information is omitted for privacy. The table excludes countries where, during the reporting period, no deaths met the above criteria.
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