Part One: Basic Instructions

The following pages summarize the basic requirements of consular notification and access in a format designed to be distributed or posted as readily accessible instructions or notices to all federal, state, or local officials who may, in the performance of their official functions, have contact with a foreign national in a situation triggering a requirement to notify the foreign national's consular officials. Also included are suggested notification statements to be given to a detained foreign national, a suggested fax notification to be transmitted to a detained foreign national's consular officials, and samples of identification cards that a consular official may present when seeking access to a detained foreign national.

These basic instructions and implementation tools, which may be freely photocopied and posted as notices, include:

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Summary of Requirements Pertaining to Foreign Nationals

  1. When foreign nationals are arrested or detained, they must be advised of the right to have their consular officials notified.
  2. In some cases, the nearest consular officials must be notified of the arrest or detention of a foreign national, regardless of the national's wishes.
  3. Consular officials are entitled to access to their nationals in detention, and are entitled to provide consular assistance.
  4. When a government official becomes aware of the death of a foreign national, consular officials must be notified.
  5. When a guardianship or trusteeship is being considered with respect to a foreign national who is a minor or incompetent, consular officials must be notified.
  6. When a foreign ship or aircraft wrecks or crashes, consular officials must be notified.

These are mutual obligations that also pertain to American citizens abroad. In general, you should treat a foreign national as you would want an American citizen to be treated in a similar situation in a foreign country. This means prompt, courteous notification to the foreign national of the possibility of consular assistance, and prompt, courteous notification to the foreign national's nearest consular officials so that they can provide whatever consular services they deem appropriate.

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Steps to Follow When a Foreign National is Arrested or Detained

1. Determine the foreign national's country. In the absence of other information, assume this is the country on whose passport or other travel document the foreign national travels.

2. If the foreign national's country is not on the mandatory notification list:

3. If the foreign national's country is on the list of mandatory notification countries:

4. Keep a written record of the provision of notification and actions taken.

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Mandatory Notification Countries and Jurisdictions


Mandatory Notification Countries and Jurisdictions
Algeria Malta
Antigua and Barbuda Mauritius
Armenia Moldova
Azerbaijan Mongolia
Bahamas, The Nigeria
Barbados Philippines
Belarus Poland (non-permanent residents only)
Belize Romania
Brunei Russia
Bulgaria Saint Kitts and Nevis
China1 Saint Lucia
Costa Rica Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Cyprus Seychelles
Czech Republic Sierra Leone
Dominica Singapore
Fiji Slovakia
Gambia, The Tajikistan
Georgia Tanzania
Ghana Tonga
Grenada Trinidad and Tobago
Guyana Tunisia
Hong Kong2 Turkmenistan
Hungary Tuvalu
Jamaica Ukraine
Kazakhstan United Kingdom3
Kiribati U.S.S.R.4
Kuwait Uzbekistan
Kyrgyzstan Zambia
Malaysia Zimbabwe

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1 Notification is not mandatory in the case of persons who carry "Republic of China" passports issued by Taiwan. Such persons should be informed without delay that the nearest office of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office ("TECRO"), the unofficial entity representing Taiwan's interests in the United States, can be notified at their request.

2 Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, and is now officially referred to as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or quot;SAR." Under paragraph 3(f)(2) of the March 25, 1997, U.S.-China Agreement on the Maintenance of the U.S. Consulate General in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, U.S. officials are required to notify Chinese officials of the arrest or detention of the bearers of Hong Kong passports in the same manner as is required for bearers of Chinese passports--i.e., immediately, and in any event within four days of the arrest or detention.

3 British dependencies also covered by this agreement are Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Their residents carry British passports.

4 Although the U.S.S.R. no longer exists, some nationals of its successor states may still be traveling on its passports. Mandatory notification should be given to consular officers for all nationals of such states, including those traveling on old U.S.S.R. passports. The successor states are listed separately above.  

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Suggested Statements to Arrested or Detained Foreign Nationals

Statement 1

When Consular Notification is at the Foreign National's Option (For Translations, See Part Four)

As a non-U.S. citizen who is being arrested or detained, you are entitled to have us notify your country's consular representatives here in the United States. A consular official from your country may be able to help you obtain legal counsel, and may contact your family and visit you in detention, among other things. If you want us to notify your country's consular officials, you can request this notification now, or at any time in the future. After your consular officials are notified, they may call or visit you. Do you want us to notify your country's consular officials?

Statement 2

When Consular Notification is Mandatory (For Translations, See Part Four)

Because of your nationality, we are required to notify your country's consular representatives here in the United States that you have been arrested or detained. After your consular officials are notified, they may call or visit you. You are not required to accept their assistance, but they may be able to help you obtain legal counsel and may contact your family and visit you in detention, among other things. We will be notifying your country's consular officials as soon as possible.  

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Suggested Fax Sheet for Notifying Consular Officers of Arrests or Detentions

Date: __________

Time:__________

To: Embassy/Consulate of_______________(Country) in _________________(City), ______________ (State)

Subject: NOTIFICATION OF ARREST/DETENTION OF A NATIONAL OF YOUR COUNTRY

From:

Name: _____________________________________________________

Office: _____________________________________________________

Street Address: ______________________________________________

City: ______________________________________________________

State: _____________________________________________________

ZIP Code: __________________________________________________

Telephone: (____)____________________________________________

Fax: (____)_________________________________________________

We arrested/detained the following foreign national, whom we understand to be a national of your country, on _____________, ______________.

Mr./Ms. ____________________________________________________

Date of birth: _______________________________________________

Place of birth: _______________________________________________

Passport number: ___________________________________________

Date of passport issuance: _____________________________________

Place of passport issuance: _____________________________________

To arrange for consular access, please call ______________________________ between the hours of ___________ and __________. Please refer to case number ______________________when you call.

Comments:

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Consular Officer Identification Cards [Note: This is the best copy available of this image file]

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Go to Part 2

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