Residing Abroad

Before an international move, read as much as possible about the country where you plan to reside. Learning about a nation’s culture, people, customs, and history will make your time there more meaningful. Libraries, tourist bureaus, and bookstores are great resources for this information. Additionally, keep abreast of the international news and latest political developments in the country where you will live. Although English is spoken in many countries, learning the nation’s primary language will simplify the transition to your new environment.
One of the best ways to learn about life in a foreign country is to seek advice from American citizens who already live there. Countries with large numbers of US expatriates often have a US Chamber of Commerce, a bicultural organization, or clubs for Americans that provide information about living in that country. In countries with fewer American residents, you may be able to meet fellow expats through a local international club. The Consular Section of the US embassy or consulate may be able to help you find these organizations.

Background Notes

The Department of State publishes background notes on countries throughout the world. These are brief factual pamphlets about each country’s people, government, geography, culture, history, economy, and political conditions. They are available for approximately 170 countries and often include a reading list, maps, and travel notes.

Consular Information Program

The US Department of State issues fact sheets, called Consular Information Sheets, for every country in the world. These sheets contain information on security and crime conditions, areas of instability, and other details relevant to travel in a particular country
The Department of State also issues public announcements and travel warnings. Public announcements are issued to disseminate information quickly regarding terrorist threats and other relatively short-term and/or transnational conditions that pose significant risks to American travelers. Travel warnings are issued when the State Department recommends deferral of travel by Americans to a country due to dangerous conditions, civil unrest, terrorist activity, and/or because the US has no diplomatic relations with the country and cannot assist Americans in distress.

Accessing Consular Information Sheets, Public Announcements, & Travel Warnings

Consular information sheets, public announcements, and travel warnings may be accessed any time by dialing the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225 from a touchtone phone. The recording is frequently updated as new information becomes available. You can also find this information at any of the 13 regional passport agencies, at American embassies and consulates abroad, or by sending a stamped and self-addressed envelope indicating the desired country to:

The Office of Overseas Citizens Services
Bureau of Consular Affairs, Room 4811
US Department of State
Washington, DC 20520-4818

By Fax

Dial (202) 647-3000 from your fax machine and use the handset as you would a regular telephone. The system will prompt you on how to proceed.

By Internet

Find the information you need here. Visitors will find consular information sheets, public announcements, travel warnings, travel publications, visa and passport information, background on international adoption and international child abduction services, international legal assistance, and the Consular Affair’s mission statement. You’ll also find a link to the State Department’s main site that provides current information about foreign affairs.