U.S. Consular Services Abroad and Other Department of State Activities

Gao ID: 104846 February 1, 1978

An examination of U.S. consular services abroad focused on the effectiveness and efficiency with which assistance to Americans arrested or detained abroad and nonimmigrant visa issuance were being performed and identified ways these two services could be improved. The quality and level of consular assistance provided to U.S. citizens detained or arrested abroad can and should be improved. There is a need for: greater emphasis by the Department of State on this service, more timely notification of arrests by the host country, and better training for consular personnel. Nonimmigrant visa issuance procedures were weak at a number of posts, a fact that could contribute to the already large illegal alien population in this country. Because consular relations with some countries have not been established by consular treaties and some treaties are not as specific as would be desireable, consular personnel did not always have a firm basis for conducting their activities. Certain data used by the State Department to determine consular staffing requirements were not accurate, and criteria used for evaluating the need for constituent posts are not as specific as they could be.

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