Tips for a Smooth Consular Visit

Make sure you have booked your appointment using our online appointment system. You will need to bring evidence of an existing appointment in order to be permitted access to the Consulate.

Don’t come unless you have to. While we are always happy to see our American citizen clients, if you can conduct your business by mail or online, please do so.

There are no public toilet facilities at the Consulates General. Please ask a staff member where the nearest public restroom is located.

Restricted Items: Every visitor to the Consulate must be screened by security, so avoid bringing excess or bulky items. Consulate security will refuse entry if you have the following items with you. The Consulate cannot store these items for you:

  • Battery-operated/electronic devices* such as laptops, tablets, digital diaries, digital watches, pagers, cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, or portable music players
  • Large shoulder bags/purses – only bags that can be carried by hand will be permitted (smaller than 12x10x6 inches or 30x25x15 cm)
  • Bags such as travel bags, backpacks, briefcases, suitcases, leather, cloth bags, and zip folders – you can only carry plastic bags containing application-related papers
  • Food and beverages
  • Sealed envelopes or packages
  • Cigarettes, cigars, match boxes, lighters
  • Sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail files
  • Weapons or explosive materials of any kind
  • Strollers will be determined on a case by case basis
  • Helmets of any type

*Exception: mobile phones can be brought to the Consulate, but must be switched off and stored with security.

 

Passport applicants

  • Read all instructions and ensure you have applicable supporting documents. (Please pay special attention to requirements regarding original documents, and supplying photocopies to support your application.)
  • Complete all forms ahead of time. Please do not sign until asked to do so.
  • Pay special attention to passport photographs. We will not be able to process your application if your photos do not meet State Department’s requirements. (See our list of photographers.)
  • Remember to fill in your social security number on your passport application. This is required by law. If you do not have one, please refer to Applying for a Social Security Card.
  • Bring a self-addressed, Express Post envelope for return of your passport(s). Please note the tracking numbers of all mailing envelopes for your records.
  • We do not have eftpos facilities. Refer to Current Fees for further information.
  • The appointment time is a guide as to when you should plan to be at the Consulate. It is not necessarily the time you will be seen by the Consular Officer. Applicants should plan to spend at least an hour at the Consulate.

 

Notary services

  • Make sure you have read your document(s) to be notarized and know the contents. If your signature must be notarized and witnessed, you must bring witnesses with you.

 

Generally, immediate family members may accompany passport or CRBA applicants to their appointment interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and all minor children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Passport or CRBA applicants also have the option of being accompanied by an attorney at their appointment interview.  Attendance by any third party, including an attorney, accompanying an applicant is subject to the following parameters designed to ensure an orderly appointment interview process and to maintain the integrity of the adjudication of the application(s):

  • Given space limitations in the consular section, not more than one attendee at a time will be allowed to accompany an applicant (or the applicant’s parent or guardian if the applicant is a minor).
  • Attendance by an attorney does not excuse the applicant and/or the minor applicant’s parent or guardian from attending the appointment interview in person.
  • The manner in which a passport or CRBA appointment interview is conducted, and the scope and nature of the inquiry, shall at all times be at the discretion of the consular officer, following applicable Departmental guidance.
  • It is expected that attorneys will provide their clients with relevant legal advice prior to, rather than at, the appointment interview, and will advise their clients prior to the appointment interview that the client will participate in the appointment interview with minimal assistance.
  • Attorneys may not engage in any form of legal argumentation during the appointment interview and before the consular officer.
  • Attendees other than a parent or guardian accompanying a minor child may not answer a consular officer’s question on behalf or in lieu of an applicant, nor may they summarize, correct, or attempt to clarify an applicant’s response, or interrupt or interfere with an applicant’s responses to a consular officer’s questions.
  • To the extent that an applicant does not understand a question, s/he should seek clarification from the consular officer directly.
  • The consular officer has sole discretion to determine the appropriate language(s) for communication with the applicant, based on the facility of both officer and applicant and the manner and form that best facilitate communication between the consular officer and the applicant.  Attendees may not demand that communications take place in a particular language solely for the benefit of the attendee.  Nor may attendees object to or insist on the participation of an interpreter in the appointment interview, to the qualifications of any interpreter, or to the manner or substance of any translation.
  • No attendee may coach or instruct applicants as to how to answer a consular officer’s question.
  • Attendees may not object to a consular officer’s question on any ground (including that the attendee regards the question to be inappropriate, irrelevant, or adversarial), or instruct the applicant not to answer a consular officer’s question.  Attendees may not interfere in any manner with the consular officer’s ability to conduct all inquiries and fact-finding necessary to exercise his or her responsibilities to adjudicate the application.
  • During a passport or CRBA appointment interview, attendees may not discuss or inquire about other applications.
  • Attendees may take written notes, but may not otherwise record the appointment interviews.
  • Attendees may not engage in any other conduct that materially disrupts the appointment interview.  For example, they may not yell at or otherwise attempt to intimidate or abuse a consular officer or staff, and they may not engage in any conduct that threatens U.S. national security or the security of the embassy or its personnel.  Attendees must follow all security policies of the Department of State and the U.S. embassy or consulate where the appointment interview takes place.

Attendees may not engage in any conduct that violates this policy and/or otherwise materially disrupts the appointment interview.  Failure to observe these parameters will result in a warning to the attendee and, if ignored, the attendee may be asked to leave the appointment interview and/or the premises, as appropriate.  It would then be the applicant’s choice whether to continue the appointment interview without the attendee present, subject to the consular officer’s discretion to terminate the appointment interview.  The safety and privacy of all applicants awaiting consular services, as well as of consular and embassy personnel, is of paramount consideration.