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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
95/05/03 FACT SHEET: DEPARTMENT OF STATE INFORMATION RESOURCES & 
SERVICES 
PUBLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS 
 
 
 
     U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE INFORMATION RESOURCES AND SERVICES 
 
The Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency. It 
advances U.S. objectives and interests through formulating, 
representing, and implementing the President's foreign policies. 
Information received from 300 U.S. diplomatic and consular posts around 
the world--including in-depth analyses of  the politics, economic 
trends, and social forces at work in foreign countries--is provided to 
more than 60 federal agencies dealing with national security, 
intelligence, economic and commercial matters, and science and 
technology. 
 
The Department also provides an array of critical information resources 
and services of benefit to the American public at home and abroad, from 
assisting citizens in crisis overseas and maintaining national security 
alliances and defusing crises to promoting free trade and assisting 
American business, posting critical information on the Internet and in 
publications, and pro-viding diverse opportunities for liaison with the 
American people.  
 
Information Resources:  Print and CD-ROM 
 
The Bureau of Public Affairs is the Department's gateway to official 
foreign policy information in print, on the Internet and other 
electronic services (see box), and on CD-ROM.  The following major 
series are included: 
 
U.S. Department of State Dispatch.  Dispatch is the official record of 
U.S. foreign policy. Published weekly by the Office of Public 
Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs, Dispatch includes major 
speeches, statements, and congressional testimony by the President, 
Secretary of State, and senior U.S. officials, plus fact sheets, country 
profiles, treaty actions, and more. One-year subscriptions (includes all 
supplemental issues and six-month indexes): $91 domestic third-class 
postage; $144 domestic first-class; and $113.75 foreign. To order, 
contact: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: (202) 512-1800; 
fax: (202) 512-2250. 
 
Dispatch also is available from the National Technical Information 
Service, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161-2171. One-year 
subscriptions:  $175 first-class postage; $430 overnight delivery; $350 
for addresses outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Microfiche is 
offered as a six-month collection with index. To order, call (703) 487-
4630.  
 
Background Notes. Background Notes, also published by the Office of 
Public Communication, are concise reports describing about 200 countries 
and selected international organizations. One-year subscriptions (about 
40 Notes): $34 ($42.50 foreign). Individual copies: $1 ($1.25 foreign). 
Complete set in stock: $69 ($86 foreign). To order, contact the 
Superintendent of Documents at the address above.  
 
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). USFAC is a compact, fully 
searchable foreign policy library offering more than 4,000 key documents 
from 1990 to the present. USFAC archives information provided on DOSFAN 
on the Internet, adding  about 300 new documents each quarter. Published 
by the Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs, USFAC 
enables fast search and retrieval; includes portable document files 
which provide "as-printed" access to Dispatch and Background Notes; and 
is compatible with MSDOS 3.0 (or better) and Macintosh System 7. One-
year subscriptions (four discs): $80 ($100 foreign). To order, call the 
Superintendent of Documents at (202) 512-1800 or  fax: (202) 512-2250. 
 
Foreign Relations Series. Foreign Relations of the United States is the 
official documentary record of U.S. foreign affairs. First published in 
1861, the series preserves American foreign policy history in more than 
350 individual volumes. 
 
The Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, publishes Foreign 
Relations. Each volume documents the major foreign policy decisions and 
diplomatic activity of the U.S. Government and contains declassified 
records from the White House, the Department of State, and other foreign 
affairs agencies. Volumes chronicling the Kennedy and Johnson 
Administrations are now being researched and released.   
 
Foreign Relations is available from the Superintendent of Documents, 
U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh PA 15250-
7954. To order, call: (202) 512-1800. For more information on Foreign 
Relations--including microfiche supplements and future volumes in 
electronic form--contact the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public 
Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520; telephone: 
(202) 663-1123; fax: (202) 663-1289. 
 
Consular Information Program and Travel Services 
 
The Bureau of Consular Affairs assists American citizens traveling or 
living abroad and issues visas to foreign nationals who wish to visit or 
reside in the United States.  
 
Overseas Citizens Services (OCS)  
 
The office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) is responsible for the 
welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad. 
Hours of operation are from 8:15 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mondays-Fridays; 9 
a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturdays.  For after-hour emergencies, Sundays and 
holidays, call (202) 647-4000 and request the OCS duty officer.  The 24-
hour Travelers' Hotline, for Consular Information Sheets and Travel 
Warnings (see box, p. 3), is (202) 647-5225. The Consular Affairs 
Bulletin Board (CABB) and automated fax systems provide rapid access to 
current travel information (see box, p. 1). 
 
To improve services to Americans, OCS recently reorganized into three 
offices: 
 
American Citizen Services and Crisis Management (ACS). ACS is the point 
of contact for overseas emergency services, including welfare, safety 
and whereabouts inquiries, arrests, death cases, financial or medical 
emergencies, and international crisis/disaster assistance. ACS mirrors 
services provided at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas; officers in 
six geographic divisions assist in all matters involving protective 
services for U.S. citizens abroad. In addition, ACS provides information 
on marriages of U.S. citizens abroad, absentee voting, dual nationality, 
and other consular information. Emergency assistance and recorded 
information on all services is available at (202) 647-5225.  
 
Children's Issues. Created to assist families in crisis and provide 
information to Americans on international adoption in more than 60 
countries, the Office of Children's Issues also serves as the U.S. 
central authority on The Hague Convention on International Parental 
Child Abduction. The treaty provides for the return of children to their 
habitual place of residence if wrongfully removed. In 1994, the office 
was involved with more than 1,200 active international child custody 
cases. Recorded information on certain countries is available; call 
(202) 736-7000. For more information, contact the Children's Issues 
Office, Room 4811, Overseas Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular 
Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4818; telephone: 
(202) 647-2688. 
 
Policy Review and Interagency Liaison (PRI). PRI provides guidance on 
the administration and enforcement of U.S. citizenship laws and the 
documentation of Americans traveling and residing abroad. The office 
also has responsibility for the federal benefits program, under which 
more than a half-million American citizens receive monthly federal 
benefits payments outside the United States.  For more information, call 
(202) 647-5225. 
 
Passport and Visa Services  
 
About 4 million U.S. passports are issued each year to American citizens 
at 13 passport agencies and one processing center in the United States, 
and more than 255 diplomatic and consular posts around the world. U.S. 
passports are issued at passport agencies located in Boston, MA; 
Chicago, IL; Honolulu, HI; Houston, TX;  Los Angeles, CA;  Miami, FL; 
New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; 
Seattle, WA; Stamford, CT; Washington, DC; and by mail at the National 
Passport Center in Portsmouth, NH. Passport applications are accepted at 
more than 3,500 authorized post offices and clerks of courts across the 
country.  Check your local telephone book listing under: "United States 
Government, Department of State, Passport Agency."  For recorded 
information regarding passports, call (202) 647-0518.   
 
Official reports documenting the birth and death of American citizens 
overseas also are available. Completion of an official form and a $10 
fee are required; call (202) 647-0518 for requirements. 
 
Visa Services. For information on issuing immigrant and non-immigrant 
U.S. visas to foreign nationals, contact:  Public Inquiries, VO/P, 
Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC  
20522-0013.  Telephone: (202) 663-1225. 
 
Visa Lottery Information. Specific details regarding the annual U.S. 
visa lottery are available from the Lottery Hotline at (202) 663-1600. 
To inquire about monthly priority dates, call  (202) 663-1541. 
 
Visa Petitions. To check on the status of approved immigrant visa 
petitions as well as visa lottery applications, contact the National 
Visa Center, 32 Rochester Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801, or call 603-334-
0700. 
 
Liaison With the Public 
 
The Office of Public Liaison, Bureau of Public Affairs, promotes foreign 
policy dialogue between Department officials and the American people 
through a variety of programing and liaison activities. It serves as the 
point of coordination for speaking engagements, briefings, and 
conference programs in the Department and around the country, and also 
handles public mail and telephone inquiries.  
 
If you are interested in any of the following services, contact the 
numbers listed or write the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public 
Affairs, Office of Public Liaison, 2201 C Street, Washington, DC 20520-
6810. 
 
Washington Programs. Large groups of opinion leaders from business, 
education, ethnic, environmental, and other non-governmental entities 
can request assistance in organizing a foreign policy conference at the 
Department or in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Seminars and 
special briefings also can be arranged for smaller groups to meet with 
Department officials for informal discussions on topics of particular 
interest. For more information, call (202) 647-5171. 
 
Regional Programs. The State Department provides speakers to 
organizations throughout the United States. Regional foreign policy town 
meetings are co-sponsored by the Department and local organizations.  
Senior officials participate in these meetings, which are designed to 
encourage the free exchange of information and opinion. Media 
interviews, informal discussions with business and community leaders, 
and visits to academic institutions are among other events which may be 
scheduled while the speaker is in the area. For more information, call 
(202) 647-8411. 
 
Comments and Information. The Department welcomes the comments of 
concerned citizens. To express opinions on foreign affairs issues, write 
to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of 
Public Information, 2201 C Street, Washington, DC 20520-6810. If you 
prefer to reach us by telephone, call: (202) 647-6575 between 9: 00 a.m. 
and 4:45 p.m. (EST). The Public Information office also disseminates 
foreign policy material through the fax-on-demand system (see below) and 
through direct mailing.  If you desire such information, please call or 
write to the office. 
 
Fax-on-Demand. This 24-hour automated fax system provides speeches, 
testimonies, biographies, press briefing transcripts, and other 
pertinent information. The system can be accessed by calling (202) 736-
7720 from the handset of your fax machine. 
 
Liaison With State and Local Government 
 
The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA), Bureau of Public Affairs, 
provides key international services to state, county, and city 
officials, such as briefings and information on foreign affairs issues, 
international markets, student exchange programs, and sister-city 
relationships. IGA also prepares legislators and city and county 
representatives for official trips abroad and for welcoming visiting 
foreign dignitaries or potential investors to the United States. The 
office coordinates meetings with Department experts, arranges special 
foreign affairs and direct-line telephone briefings, and contacts U.S. 
embassies to facilitate travel. For further information, contact the 
Coordinator for Intergovernmental Affairs, Bureau of Public Affairs, 
U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-6810; telephone: (202) 
647-7416; fax: (202) 647-5939. 
 
Liaison With the Media 
 
Several hundred journalists representing media organizations worldwide 
regularly cover the U.S. Department of State. Over 50 news-gathering 
agencies have facilities in the State Department building and attend the 
daily press briefing. A key component of the Bureau of Public Affairs, 
the Press Office coordinates the Department's daily press briefing and 
provides diverse information on U.S. foreign policy for news 
organizations and correspondents. For more information, journalists 
should contact the Press Office: telephone: (202) 647-2492; fax: (202) 
647-0244. The Department's    Fax-on-Demand service is an excellent 
resource for journalists; to access, call: (202) 736-7720 from the 
handset of the fax machine. 
 
Additional Resources 
 
The Department of State publishes   many useful publications that direct 
American business and the public to key services and/or promote public 
dialogue on major foreign policy issues. Most publications are available 
in federal depository libraries throughout the country and are for sale 
from the Superintendent of Documents (see address on p. 1). Many 
publications also are available on the Department of State Foreign 
Affairs Network (DOSFAN) on the Internet and in U.S. Foreign Policy on 
CD-ROM (USFAC). The following general publications are included. 
 
--  Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts--Guide for Business 
Representatives, published twice a year, lists key officers at foreign 
service posts who provide assistance to American business 
representatives around the world. All embassies, missions, consulates 
general, and consulates are listed with names, telephone, and fax 
numbers for key officers at the Departments of State and Commerce, and 
other U.S. agencies overseas. 
--  Diplomatic List--published quarterly, lists names and addresses of 
official foreign diplomatic representatives in Washington, DC. 
--  Foreign Consular Offices in the United States--published twice a 
year, includes names and addresses of foreign consulates in the U.S. 
--  Treaties and Other International Acts--issued irregularly, contains 
the complete official texts of agreements entered into by the United 
States with other nations. 
--  U.S. Department of State Telephone Directory contains key contact 
points and other information for the Department of State as well as the 
U.S. Agency for International Development, the Overseas Private 
Investment Corporation, the Trade and Development Agency, and the U.S. 
Information Agency. It also contains the full text of Key Officers of 
Foreign Service Posts-- Guide for Business Representatives. 
 
Other Services 
 
Locator Service.  To obtain the office telephone numbers of Department 
of State personnel, call: (202) 647-4000. 
 
Tour Office. Reservations for tours of the Department of State's 8th 
floor diplomatic reception rooms can be arranged. To arrange a tour, 
call: (202) 647-3241, or fax: (202) 736-4232. 
 
Employment. The Department of State employs both Civil and Foreign 
Service officers. For information about careers in the Foreign Service, 
contact the Office of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment, U.S. 
Department of State, P.O. Box 9317, Rosslyn Station, Arlington, VA  
22219-0317.  Recorded information is available; call: (703) 875-7490, or 
fax: (703) 812-2265. 
 
For information on Civil Service careers at the Department of State, 
contact the Office of Civil Service Personnel Management, P.O. Box 
18657, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20036-8657. Recorded 
information about Civil Service employment is available; call: (202) 
647-7284. 
 
Freedom of Information.  Requests for Department of State records must 
be made in writing. There is a fee for copying documents. For more 
information, contact the Director, Office of Freedom of Information, 
Privacy, and Classification Review, Bureau of Administration, U.S. 
Department of State, Washington, DC, 20520-1512; telephone: (202) 647-
6070; fax: (202) 736-7304. 
 
Document Authentication. Certification, with the seal of the Department 
of State, is provided for certain documents used in foreign countries 
(e.g., certificates of incorporation and powers of attorney for 
Americans doing business abroad; educational papers such   as degrees 
and transcripts of foreign students returning to their own countries; 
and papers carrying seals of other federal agencies or the seals of the 
50 states). Walk-in service:  8 a.m.- noon, Mon.-Fri.; limit of 15 
documents per person per day. Call (202) 647-5002 for recorded 
information. Inquiries   may be faxed to: (202) 647-2370.  The mailing 
address is Authentication Office, 2400 M Street NW, Room 101, U.S. 
Department of State, Washington, DC 20520. 

(###) 
 
Internet, On-Line, and Fax Information Resources 
 
On Internet:  Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) 
DOSFAN provides immediate, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information on the Internet. Of interest to international businesses, 
journalists, researchers, students, and the general public, DOSFAN is 
accessible by: 
 
Gopher:  dosfan.lib.uic.edu  
URL:  gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ 
WWW:  http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/dosfan.html 
 
Content. DOSFAN provides insight into U.S. foreign policy decision-
making. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes country- and issue-specific 
information on socio-political situations, economic trends, democracy, 
human rights, culture, development assistance, environment, terrorism, 
and more.  Speeches, statements, and testimony by the President, 
Secretary of State, and other senior officials are featured as well as 
Dispatch, Background Notes, and other official publications; 
congressional reports; transcripts of daily press briefings; and much 
more. 
 
Contact. DOSFAN is a cooperative effort between the Office of Public 
Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs, and the University of Illinois 
at Chicago. For more information on accessing DOSFAN, contact Project 
Coordinator John Shuler by e-mail at john.a.shuler@uic.edu. or call 
(312) 996-2738. 
 
Other Electronic Resources.  The Federal Bulletin Board Service (BBS)--
available by modem at (202)   512-1387--is a U.S. Government Printing 
Office electronic bulletin board which carries a complete collection of 
official, timely U.S. foreign policy information. For information and 
prices, call: (202) 512-1530. 
 
Fax-on-Demand 
This automated 24-hour fax service provides rapid access to general 
State Department information--speeches, briefings, testimony, fact 
sheets, special reports, and more. Fax-on-Demand is accessible by any 
fax machine equipped with a touch-tone telephone. To access, dial: (202) 
736-7720 from the telephone handset attached to the fax machine and 
follow the recorded prompts to request retrieval of any document by its 
three-digit identification number. For more information, contact the 
Public Information Division, Bureau of Public Affairs at (202) 647-6575.   
 
Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB) and Fax  
Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and other travel-related 
publications are provided free on the CABB by the Department of State's 
Bureau of Consular Affairs. The CABB also carries international security 
information from the Overseas Security Advisory Council and the 
Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Access is free of charge to 
anyone with a personal computer, modem, telecommunications software, and 
telephone line. The number to call is (202) 647-9225. In addition, an 
automated fax line speeds up access to important travel information; 
call: (202) 647-3000 from the handset of your fax and follow the 
prompts. For further information, contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs 
at (202) 647-1488.   (###) 

 
      Support for U.S. Business at Home and Abroad 
 
Coordinating Business Affairs   
The Office of the Coordinator of Business Affairs (CBA) plays a major 
role in coordinating trade and investment matters for U.S. firms doing 
business overseas.   
 
The Coordinator is an advisor to the Secretary of State and senior 
Department officials and coordinates and facilitates the Department's 
out-reach to, and interaction with, the U.S. business community.   
 
Established as part of Secretary Christopher's "America Desk" 
initiative,   the CBA ensures that appropriate U.S. business interests 
are taken into account  in the foreign policy process. It coordinates 
State Department advocacy on behalf of American businesses and offers 
them problem-solving assistance in opening markets, leveling playing 
fields, and resolving trade and investment disputes.   
 
The office develops and implements internal policies, procedures, and 
training to enhance the Department's ongoing support for American 
businesses. It coordinates with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service 
of the Department of Commerce to support posts where the State 
Department has primary responsibility for trade promotion and commercial 
services.  
 
For more information about the Department of State's business services, 
contact the Coordinator for Business Affairs at (202) 647-1625 
(telephone) or (202) 647-3953 (fax).   
 
International Business On-Line  
International business information is featured on the Department of 
State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) on the Internet. Access is by 
Internet gopher: dosfan.lib.uic.edu (see box, p.1). The Department of 
State also contributes timely foreign economic analyses, publications, 
and major reports to the Department of Commerce's National Trade Data 
Bank (NTDB), available on CD-ROM and Internet (gopher.stat-usa.gov). For 
information, call: (202)  482-1986.   (###)

 
 
     Traveling Abroad?  U.S. Department of State Resources Help Make 
Your International Trip a Success 
 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets 
Travel Warnings are issued when the Department of State recommends that 
Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets 
exist for all countries and include information on immigration 
practices, currency regulations, health conditions, areas of 
instability, crime and security information, political disturbances, and 
the addresses of U.S. embassies and consulates in the country.  
 
Free copies of this information are available from the U.S. Department 
of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs; call: (202) 647-5225; or by auto 
fax: (202) 647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets 
also are available on the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB) via 
computer modem at (202) 647-9225.   
 
Publications 
Concise pamphlets packed with practical travel tips are available for 
$1.00-1.25 each from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: 
202-512-1800; fax: (202) 512-2250. Publications also are available on 
the CABB (see above), and on the Department of State Foreign Affairs 
Network (DOSFAN) on the Internet (dosfan.lib.uic.edu). They include: 
 
--  A Safe Trip Abroad--ways to avoid crime and minimize terrorism 
threats to you, plus general safety tips; 
--  Tips for Americans Residing Abroad--details on voting, tax 
regulations, dual citizenship, and other subjects for Americans living 
in foreign countries; 
--  Travel Tips for Older Americans--health, safety, and travel news 
from the senior citizen perspective; 
--  Your Trip Abroad--how to obtain a passport, health considerations, 
and more; 
--  Tips for Travelers--safe travel tips to the Caribbean, Central and 
South America, China, Russia, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, 
and Sub-Saharan Africa. 
--  Passports: Applying for Them the Easy Way and Foreign Entry 
Requirements are available for 50 each from the Consumer Information 
Center, Pueblo, CO 81009.   (###)
 

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