What Do Consuls Do?

There are 294 US embassies and consulates around the world with consuls who  protect and assist the hundreds of thousands of Americans who study,  travel and work. Scroll down for more information and statistics.

US Consuls provide two vital functions abroad.  They assist US citizens and they authorize visas to non US citizens who have legitimate business in the United States including tourists and international students admitted to US colleges.

Even people interested in applying to the Foreign Service have questions about consular work.  Reddit has a page for aspiring to ask questions of  foreign service officer. Here are consuls describing some of their duties.


"If you work in the American Citizen Services section, you may go on prison visits and general outreach visits. Sometimes you may need to attend court hearings or even go to a morgue or escort someone to an airport. If you work in the fraud prevention unit, you may go on field investigations and have meetings with local law enforcement and education officials. If you're dealing with visas, you may sometimes be asked to give speeches about the visa process, such as at college and employment fairs.

Consular work is about more than just visa interviews."

"During my first tour, I went to Guantanamo Bay on a tiny plane older than me, visited four prisons, did four radio interviews where I answered unscripted questions about visas, renovated a school in the mountains, cleaned a beach, did leadership training with the local military, traveled overnight during a hurricane to present to American Citizens on how to vote, visited a USAID sponsored elementary school, met with law school professors to discuss our election system."