Foreign Consular Offices in US
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+ By Delene Kvasnicka of www.survivalebooks.com
This publication contains a complete and official listing of the foreign consular offices in the United States, and recognized consular officers. Compiled by the U.S. Department of State, with the full cooperation of the foreign missions in Washington, it is offered as a convenience to organizations and persons who must deal with consular representatives of foreign governments. It has been designed with particular attention to the requirements of government agencies, state tax officials, international trade organizations, chambers of commerce, and judicial authorities who have a continuing need for handy access to this type of information. Trade with other regions of the world has become an increasingly vital element in the economy of the United States. The machinery of this essential
commerce is complicated by numerous restrictions, license requirements, quotas, and other measures adopted by the individual countries. Since the regulations affecting both trade and travel are the particular province of the consular service of the nations involved, reliable information as to entrance requirements, consignment of goods, details of transshipment, and, in many instances, suggestions as to consumer needs and preferences may be obtained at the foreign consular offices throughout the United States.
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IMMUNITIES ACCORDED TO CONSULAR OFFICERS
Consular officers should be accorded their respective privileges, rights, and immunities as directed by international and domestic law. These foreign officials should be treated with the courtesy and respect befitting their positions. At the same time, it is a well established principle of international law that, without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect local laws and regulations. Unless otherwise provided under specific bilateral agreements, they are entitled to the limited immunities described in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), which contains the current expression of international law on the subject of the rights, privileges, and immunities of consular personnel. Furthermore,
recognized consular officers who also are accredited as diplomatic agents at certain diplomatic missions enjoy full immunity under the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR).
Career Consular Officers
Article 43 of the VCCR states that the immunity to which consular officers are entitled relates only to acts arising in the exercise of consular functions. This limited form of immunity, generally referred to as "official acts immunity" or "functional immunity," must be asserted in court as an affirmative defense and is subject to court determination. It should be noted that civil actions relating to private contracts and damage arising from accidents caused by automobiles, vessels, or aircraft are specifically excepted from a claim of "official acts immunity" as are those based on private contracts. Although career consular officers enjoy only limited immunity from jurisdiction, Article 41 of the VCCR does grant them personal inviolability. Therefore, such individuals may not be arrested or detained pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision of a competent judicial authority. Career consular officers can be identified by credentials issued by the U.S. Department of State, which bear its seal, the name of the officer, and title.
Families of Consular Officers
Family members of consular officers do not enjoy the same privileges and immunities with respect to the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state as do consular officers. However, they should be accorded appropriate courtesy and respect.