The highest priority of the Bureau of Consular Affairs is to protect the lives and serve the interests of U.S. citizens abroad. Across the globe, we serve our fellow citizens during some of their most important moments – births, adoptions, medical emergencies, deaths, arrests, and disasters. We also help U.S. citizens connect with the world by issuing millions of U.S. passports each year.
We keep our country safe and help foreign nationals connect with the United States by issuing visas to qualified visitors, workers, and immigrants. Led by the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, our team is proud to be the public face of the Department of State, representing the best of U.S. values to millions of people around the world. We are here to serve you.
The Office of Visa Services, in the Consular Affairs Bureau, Department of State provides various functions:
- We serve as liaisons with the Department of Homeland Security
- We serve as liaisons between the Department of State and U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad on visa matters
- We interpret visa laws and regulations, and act as a point of contact for the public.
When to Contact Us vs. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Defining the different roles and responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State can be confusing. We hope this information will assist you:
Contact the Department of State – A U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad will be your resource for questions about U.S. visas, including the application process, the status of visa processing, and for inquiries relating to visa denial.
Visa Services, Public Inquiries can usually explain what aspects of immigration law and regulation are applicable in certain cases, and can also check the current status of a particular case, if processing has been delayed.
Contact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – The is responsible for the approval of all immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions, the authorization of permission to work in the United States, the issuance of extensions of stay, and change or adjustment of status while you are in the United States. Questions about these matters should be referred to DHS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).