Embassy or Consulate?

An ambassador is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country. ~ Henry Wotton, Sr.

American Embassy

Both embassy and consulate represent their governments and are exclusively located in foreign countries. Embassies speak for their national governments in foreign countries, and consulates provide diplomatic services to individuals and businesses, such as visas and trade, but both work together in various ways. They provide emergency and non-emergency assistance for all types of situations. They also provide safety, security, and other useful information. Review the consulate’s website before you go abroad, and gather needed information. Also, don’t forget to register your trip!



No Service

Some assistance for serious legal, medical, and/or financial trouble. Evacuation plan in case of a disaster. Absentee voting, visas, permits, tax forms, notarizing documents, local information for travelers, etc. Tourism, missing luggage, obtaining foreign documents on your behalf, translations, legal advice/services.

Embassies are always located in the capital city (near the seat of foreign government), and consulates are located in one or more other major cities with a large population. In Ecuador, the US embassy is located in Quito, while the consulate is in Guayaquil. Depending on the nature of your inquiry, you may be directed to one or the other. In some countries, there may be a consular section of the embassy, which would be in the Capital city. In other countries, there may be a consulate but no embassy (usually to preserve our diplomatic relations with a third country w/o sacrificing services for citizens abroad).

In any emergency affecting US citizens, the Embassy will usually broadcast information via their web site, email lists, phone trees, warden network, and local media channels. The best way to ensure you receive this information is to register with the Embassy. If the disaster is of a large-enough scale and if the situation warrants it, the Embassy may advise all Americans to evacuate the country, and may even provide the means to do so, with the assistance of the US Department of State and the US Military. Plans usually place responsibility on US citizens to take an active role in their own evacuation.

The Embassy’s evacuation plan has one objective: to help you to move away from an area of possible danger as safely and quickly as possible. In some countries, you must get yourself to the closest Evacuation Control Center. When you create your EAP (section #36), go to your embassy’s website, and look up their evacuation plan or procedures. Build these into your EAP. If there are Evacuation Control Centers, map them out and know how to get there in an emergency. Bring your passport, birth/naturalization certificate; or other primary evidence of your US citizenship.

:: US Embassy – Links to the websites of US Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions.

:: Embassy World – Directory & Search Engine Of The World’s Embassies & Consulates.

:: OSAC (Security Advisory Council) – The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) is a Federal Advisory Committee with a US Government Charter to promote security cooperation between American business and private sector interests worldwide and the US Department of State.

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