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All you need to know about US embassies and consulates

What are the uses of US embassies and consulates?

Embassies and consulates are representatives of a country, within a foreign country. An example in this case would be a US representative headquarters in Panama. Embassies tend to be the larger of the two, and are often located within a countries capital.

The main purpose, or use of an US embassy or consulate, is to assist the embassies nationals. So in the case of the example, that would be Americans living or visiting Panama.

US embassies are also responsible for interviewing citizens of the host country (eg Panama) who are looking to travel for business, education or tourism purposes.

In addition to that, the goal of the US embassies representatives is to increase understanding of the USA. They do this by interacting with the host nations citizens, corporations and government. These interactions may be shared political interest or just general collaboration.

Other uses of the US embassy include:

  • Helping US businesses set up abroad by finding customers or partners
  • Trainings for the hosts countries governmental staff. This may include policing or military training to increase security, job skills related training, or other offerings.
  • Conducting educational and cultural exchange programs
  • Conducting professional exchange programs
  • Promoting ties between the USA and the host country
  • Knowledge of local culture to help with potential political and economical tensions that may arise

Which specific services do US embassies and consulates cover?

US embassies are consulates offer a variety of services. They include services for foreign nationals of the host country who wish to visit the US, services for nationals living in the host country, and services for those visiting the host country.

For US nationals living or visiting the host country, services are split into one of four areas. They are emergency assistance, passport and citizenship, federal programs and local resources.

How many US embassies and consulates are there around the world?

US embassies and consulates are dotted around the world. They are now present in over 70% of countries. In total, there are 294 embassies and consulates. All of which help out US citizens living and visiting the country the US embassy is based in. They also help foreigners who need to apply for a visa for visiting the USA (except for ESTA which can be applied for online). Also, embassies and consulates take care of administrative things like:

  • Participating in diplomatic appointments
  • Translating relevant news in the appropriate foreign language
  • Assist foreigners in immigration questions (USA working visa, resident permit for the USA etc.)
Map showing US embassy and consulate

The United States of America (green) and its diplomatic missions, including embassies (blue), interests sections, and other representations (light blue) (Source: Wikipedia)

What is the difference between US embassies and US consulates?

Embassies and consulates both represent a country within a foreign nation. However, there are slight differences between the two. The first significant difference is that a country may have several consulates within another nation. But it can only have one embassy. That US embassy will be the main power and point of contact for its citizens on foreign soil. Embassies are also located in the capital city or biggest city. Consulates always fulfill their role in a nation’s lesser cities.

Embassies tend to take on the more major roles in diplomacy and politics for a country. Consulates do the other, more minor tasks, such as working on trade and commerce.

Embassies are also the main link between the host government and the embassies own government. Whilst consulates are responsible for public communication. Consulates are not responsible for the host countries citizens seeking to visit the consulate/embassies nation. This is the responsibility of the US embassy alone.

Finally, embassies are responsible for official visits and treaties between the nations. Whilst consulates inform citizens of security issues and look after them if they are arrested.

US embassy

Diplomatic work
Point of contact for US citizens
Political tasks
Trade and commerce
Point of contact for foreigners
Public communication (in foreign country)
Point of contact in emergencies / arrests

US consulate

Diplomatic work
Point of contact for US citizens
Political tasks
Trade and commerce
Point of contact for foreigners
Public communication (in foreign country)
Point of contact in emergencies / arrests

List of all US embassies and US consulates in the world

Africa

Country City Website
Angola Luanda US Embassy in Luanda
Benin Cotonou US Embassy in Cotonou
Botswana Gaborone US Embassy in Gaborone
Burkina Faso Ouagadougou Embassy in Ouagadougou
Burundi Bujumbura US Embassy in Bujumbura
Cameroon Yaounde US Embassy in Yaounde
Cape Verde Praia US Embassy in Praia
Chad N’Djamena US Embassy in N’Djamena
Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa US Embassy in Kinshasa
Congo (Republic of) Brazzaville US Embassy in Brazzaville
Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan US Embassy in Abidjan
Djibouti Djibouti US Embassy in Djibouti
Egypt Cairo US Embassy in Cairo
Equatorial Guinea Malabo US Embassy in Malabo
Eritrea Asmara US Embassy in Asmara
Ethiopia Addis Ababa US Embassy in Addis Ababa
Gabon Libreville US Embassy in Libreville
Gambia Banjul US Embassy in Banjul
Ghana Accra US Embassy in Accra
Guinea Conakry US Embassy in Conakry
Kenya Nairobi US Embassy in Nairobi
Lesotho Maseru US Embassy in Maseru
Liberia Monrovia US Embassy in Monrovia
Madagascar Antananarivo US Embassy in Antananarivo
Malawi Lilongwe US Embassy in Lilongwe
Mali Bamako US Embassy in Bamako
Mauritania Nouakchott US Embassy in Nouakchott
Mauritius Port Louis US Embassy in Port Louis
Morocco Rabat US Embassy in Rabat
Mozambique Maputo US Embassy in Maputo
Namibia Windhoek US Embassy in Windhoek
Niger Niamey US Embassy in Niamey
Nigeria Abuja US Embassy in Abuja
Rwanda Kigali US Embassy in Kigali
Senegal Dakar US Embassy in Dakar
Sierra Leone Freetown US Embassy in Freetown
Somalia Virtual Post US Embassy / Virtual post
South Africa Pretoria US Embassy in Pretoria
Swaziland Mbabane US Embassy in Mbabane
Tanzania Dar es Salaam US Embassy in Dar es Salaam
Togo Lome US Embassy in Lome
Tunisia Tunis US Embassy in Tunis
Zimbabwe Harare US Embassy in Harare
Zambia Lusaka US Embassy in Lusaka

Americas and the Caribbean

Country City Website
Bahamas Nassau US Embassy in Nassau
Barbados Bridgetown US Embassy in Nassau
Belize Belmopan US Embassy in Belmopan
Bermuda Hamilton US Embassy in Hamilton
Bolivia La Paz US Embassy in La Paz
Chile Santiago US Embassy in Santiago
Colombia Bogota US Embassy in Bogota
Costa Rica San jose US Embassy in San jose
Cuba Havana US Embassy in Havana
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo US Embassy in Santo Domingo
Ecuador Quito US Embassy in Quito
Ecuador Guayaquil US Embassy in Guayaquil
El Salvador San Salvador US Embassy in San Salvador
Guatemala Guatemala City US Embassy in Guatemala City
Guyana Georgetown US Embassy in Georgetown
Haiti Port-au-Prince US Embassy in Port-au-Prince
Honduras Tegucigalpa US Embassy in Tegucigalpa
Jamaica Kingston US Embassy in Kingston
Netherlands Antilles Curacao US Embassy in Nassau
Nicaragua Managua US Embassy in Managua
Panama Panama City US Embassy in Panama City
Paraguay Asuncion US Embassy in Asuncion
Peru Lima US Embassy in Lima
Suriname Paramaribo US Embassy in Paramaribo
Trinidad and Tobago Port of Spain US Embassy in Port of Spain
Uruguay Montevideo US Embassy in Montevideo
Venezuela Caracas US Embassy in Caracas

Asia

Country City Website
Afghanistan Kabul US Embassy in Kabul
Armenia Yerevan US Embassy in Yerevan
Azerbaijan Baku US Embassy in Baku
Bangladesh Dhaka US Embassy in Dhaka
Bahrain Manama US Embassy in Manama
Brunei Darussalam Bandar Seri Begawan US Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan
Cambodia Phnom Penh US Embassy in Nassau
China Beijing US Embassy in Beijing
China Chengdu US Embassy in Chengdu
China Guangzhou US Embassy in Guangzhou
China Hong Kong US Embassy in Hong Kong
China Shanghai US Embassy in Shanghai
China Shenyang US Embassy in Shenyang
China Wuhan US Embassy in Wuhan
Georgia Tbilisi US Embassy in Tbilisi
India New Delhi US Embassy in New Delhi
India Calcutta US Embassy in Calcutta
India Chennai US Embassy in Chennai
India Mumbai US Embassy in Mumbai
Indonesia Surabaya US Embassy in Surabaya
Indonesia Medan US Embassy in Medan
Iraq Baghdad US Embassy in Baghdad
Israel Jerusalem US Embassy in Jerusalem
Japan Tokyo US Embassy in Tokyo
Japan Fukuoka US Embassy in Fukuoka
Japan Nagoya US Embassy in Nagoya
Japan Osaka US Embassy in Osaka
Japan Sapporo US Embassy in Sapporo
Japan Okinawa US Embassy in Okinawa
Jordan Amman US Embassy in Amman
Kazakhstan Almaty US Embassy in Almaty
Kazakhstan Nursultan US Embassy in Nursultan
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek US Embassy in Bishkek
Kuwait Kuwait City US Embassy in Kuwait City
Laos Vientiane US Embassy in Vientiane
Lebanon Beirut US Embassy in Beirut
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar
Myanmar Rangoon US Embassy in Rangoon
Nepal Kathmandu US Embassy in Kathmandu
Oman Muscat US Embassy in Muscat
Pakistan Islamabad US Embassy in Islamabad
Pakistan Karachi US Embassy in Karachi
Pakistan Lahore US Embassy in Lahore
Pakistan Peshawar US Embassy in Peshawar
Philippines Manila US Embassy in Manila
Qatar Doha US Embassy in Doha
Saudi Arabia Riyadh US Embassy in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia Dhahran US Embassy in Dhahran
Saudi Arabia Jeddah US Embassy in Jeddah
Singapore Singapore US Embassy in Singapore
South Korea Seoul US Embassy in Seoul
South Korea Busan US Embassy in Busan
Sri Lanka Colombo US Embassy in Colombo
Syria Damascus US Embassy in Damascus
Taijikistan Dushanbe US Embassy in Dushanbe
Thailand Bangkok US Embassy in Bangkok
Thailand Chiang Mai US Embassy in Chiang Mai
Turkmenistan Ashgabat US Embassy in Ashgabat
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi US Embassy in Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates Dubai US Embassy in Dubai
Uzbekistan Tashkent US Embassy in Tashkent
Vietnam Hanoi US Embassy in Hanoi/a>
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh US Embassy in Ho Chi Minh
Yemen Sana’a US Embassy in Sana’a

Australia and Pacifics

Country City Website
Australia Canberra US Embassy in Canberra
Australia Melbourne US Embassy in Melbourne
Australia Perth US Embassy in Perth
Australia Sydney US Embassy in Sydney
Fiji Suva US Embassy in Suva
Marshall Islands Majuri Majuro US Embassy in Majuro
Micronesia Kolonia US Embassy in Kolonia
Palau Koror US Embassy in Koror
Papua New Guinea Port Moresby US Embassy in Port Moresby
Tonga Virtual Post US Embassy through Virtual Post

Europe

Country City Website
Albania Tirana US Embassy in Tirana
Austria Vienna US Embassy in Vienna
Belarus Minsk US Embassy in Minsk
Belgium Brussels US Embassy in Brussels
Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo US Embassy in Sarajevo
Bulgaria Sofia US Embassy in Sofia
Croatia Zagreb US Embassy in Zagreb
Cyprus Nikosia US Embassy in Nikosia
Czech Republic Prague US Embassy in Prague
Denmark Copenhagen US Embassy in Copenhagen
Estonia Tallinn US Embassy in Tallinn
France Strasbourg US Embassy in Strasbourg
France Toulouse US Embassy in Toulouse
France Rennes US Embassy in Rennes
France Marseille US Embassy in Marseille
France Bordeaux US Embassy in Bordeaux
France Paris US Embassy in Paris
France Lyon US Embassy in Lyon
Finland Helsinki US Embassy in Helsinki
Germany Berlin US Embassy in Berlin
Germany Frankfurt US Embassy in Frankfurt
Greece Athens US Embassy in Athens
Hungary Budapest US Embassy in Budapest
Iceland Reykjavik US Embassy in Reykjavik
Italy Rome US Embassy in Rome
Italy Florence US Embassy in Florence
Italy Milan US Embassy in Milan
Italy Naples US Embassy in Naples
Latvia Riga US Embassy in Riga
Lithuania Vilnius US Embassy in Vilnius
Luxembourg Luxembourg US Embassy in Luxembourg
Macedonia Skopje US Embassy in Skopje
Malta Valletta US Embassy in Valletta
Moldova Chisinau US Embassy in Chisinau
Montenegro Podgorica US Embassy in Podgorica
Netherlands The Hague US Embassy in The Hague
Norway Oslo US Embassy in Oslo
Poland Warsaw US Embassy in Warsaw
Poland Krakow US Embassy in Krakow
Portugal Lisbon US Embassy in Lisbon
Portugal Azores US Embassy in Azores
Romania Bucharest US Embassy in Bucharest
Russia Moscow US Embassy in Moscow
Russia Yekaterinburg US Embassy in Yekaterinburg
Russia Vladivostok US Embassy in Vladivostok
Serbia Belgrade US Embassy in Belgrade
Slovak Republic Bratislava US Embassy in Bratislava
Slovenia Ljubljana US Embassy in Ljubljana
Spain Madrid US Embassy in Madrid
Spain Barcelona US Embassy in Barcelona
Sweden Stockholm US Embassy in Stockholm
Switzerland Bern US Embassy in Bern
Turkey Ankara US Embassy in Ankara
Turkey Istanbul US Embassy in Istanbul
Turkey Adana US Embassy in Adana
Ukraine Kiev US Embassy in Kiev
United Kingdom London US Embassy in London
United Kingdom Edinburgh US Embassy in Edinburgh

US Embassies – FAQ’s

For most services at a US embassy, you must make an appointment and go during opening days/hours. However, exceptional circumstances and emergencies may change that.

No. There are some days embassies may not even be open. In addition, a US embassies relations with the host country are important. Therefore if a citizen is jeopardising that and tries to enter, they may be rejected.

Yes. It is possible to apply for a visa through embassies. However, it is not possible to do it through a consulate. The US embassy accepts visa applications for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas (e.g. B1/B2 visa for tourists or J-visa for foreigners planning to start working inside the US).

Yes. In fact, it is necessary for many foreigners to enter the embassy in order to apply for a visa. An exception would be a foreigner that can travel under the Visa Waiver Program and therefore apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

Appointments with the US embassy can be scheduled through the travel state government website listed here: https://evisaforms.state.gov/acs/default.asp?postcode=WRW&appcode=1

Consulates may require you to phone a seperate number depending on where you are going.

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No. ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) for USA can be done completed online from any place you can access the internet. This is due to the visa being electronically attached to your passport.

Yes if you are aged 14-79. You will be required to go to the embassy and pass an interview process to attain a B1/B2 visa. There are occasional exceptions for people within this age group that do not have to attend an interview. However, these are mostly for visa renewals rather than applications.

Yes. US embassies issue US visas in 3 forms. The visa waiver, nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas. However, application for each of these visas is slightly different and may not require you to physically visit the US embassy. Therefore you should research visa options prior to booking an appointment. Note that if you can apply for ESTA, you do not need to visit the US embassy. The application can be processed online and you will receive your approval or rejection via email.

It is possible to apply for US citizenship at an embassy. However, you must meet the requirements, such as being born a US citizen or a naturalised US citizen.