DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A
PARTICULAR CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE OFFICE OF OVERSEAS
CITIZENS SERVICES, OFFICE OF LEGAL AFFAIRS (CA/OCS/L).
U.S. EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES GENERALLY CANNOT MEET FLIGHTS OF
GOVERNMENT OR STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TRAVELING ABROAD FOR JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE PURPOSES. IN ADDITION,
EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES DO NOT GENERALLY MAKE HOTEL RESERVATIONS ON BEHALF OF SUCH TRAVELERS.
WHAT IS HOST COUNTRY CLEARANCE? Prior to the arrival of a U.S official intending to conduct judicial assistance activity abroad, it may be necessary for
consulate to deliver a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The note explains the purpose of the travel and
requests permission for the
official to conduct judicial assistance activity. This notification may or may not be required, depending on the nature/purpose
of the trip and the sensitivities of the host country.
WHEN IS HOST COUNTRY CLEARANCE REQUIRED? Formal host country clearance is required by most foreign countries for
federal, state or local officials to conduct judicial assistance activities abroad. This includes taking depositions, interviews,
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DON’T GET HOST COUNTRY CLEARANCE? Travel without prior clearance can result in arrest, detention, expulsion, or deportation of the official, and can negatively
policy interests and future attempts to gain host country judicial assistance.
EMBASSY CLEARANCE ALSO REQUIRED? Federal Executive Branch government officials traveling abroad for judicial assistance purposes also require clearance from
embassy or consulate in the country in question. This requirement is derived from the country authority of Ambassadors and
Chiefs of Mission, 22 U.S.C. 3927 and E.O. 10893, PART II, 11/8/60.
U.S. REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVEL OF FOREIGN OFFICIALS: The
United States has a similar requirement for foreign government officials traveling to the
to conduct judicial assistance activities (18 USC 951; 28 CFR Part 73).
HOW DO YOU OBTAIN HOST COUNTRY AND
EMBASSY/CONSULATE CLEARANCE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL IN JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE MATTERS Simply complete the following questionnaire and fax it to the Office of Legal Affairs (CA/OCS/L) at the Department of State,
Bureau of Consular Affairs. We will contact the
embassy or consulate which will notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the foreign country. You will be advised when formal
clearance is obtained.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? Depending on the foreign country, it can take a minimum of 5-10 working days for the foreign government to grant host country
embassies and consulates will make every effort to obtain the clearance expeditiously, it is very helpful if the official
traveler contacts PRI early in the process. Waiting until the last minute, such as the day before the scheduled departure,
may mean that the trip will have to be postponed, since foreign countries cannot process such requests on such short notice.
Please remember that holidays in the
and/or the host country may cause additional delays.
IF YOU HAVE PERMISSION FROM LOCAL POLICE, DO YOU NEED FORMAL HOST COUNTRY CLEARANCE? While local police permission or other low level approval from foreign officials may be useful, such clearance does not constitute
official permission from the foreign government which must be obtained from the Foreign Ministry through diplomatic channels.
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT
EMBASSY CLEARANCE FOR THE TRAVEL COULD BE DENIED? If your proposed official travel coincides with the arrival of a Presidential, Vice Presidential or Congressional delegation,
summit meeting or similar workload intensive event, it is possible that the embassy will not have the staff or space to support
the proposed judicial assistance travel on the proposed date. During time of an international crisis, resulting in the authorized
or ordered departure of official personnel from the embassy or consulate, or closure of the embassy or consulate, embassy
clearance may be denied.
CAN THE EMBASSY OR CONSULATE PROVIDE INTERPRETERS, STENOGRAPHERS, VIDEO EQUIPMENT, ETC? These services are not available at the embassy or consulate. However, for official travelers in judicial assistance matters,
embassies and consulates can assist in either retaining foreign host country commercial services for you (charging them against
your federal fiscal data and appropriation number or credit card) or furnish you with information as to how you can retain
such services directly. If no such services are available in the host country, it may be necessary to bring your own support
staff. Contact foreign embassies or consulates in the
to ascertain special requirements importing of electronic equipment to ensure that your equipment is not confiscated.
Officials Requesting Host Country Clearance for Travel Abroad on Judicial Assistance Matter
- Please list name(s), titles, district, telephone and fax numbers of the individual(s) traveling abroad for purposes of investigation,
interview, deposition, inspection, etc. Include all federal, state, or local
officials who intend to travel.
- What are the dates of the intended travel? Please provide a detailed itinerary.
- Which countries/cities are to be visited?
- What is the case name/docket number?
- What is the nature of the case (explain briefly in lay terms)?
- What stage is the case (investigation, indictment, trial)?
- How sensitive is the case, in your estimation?
- How much money is involved in the case?
- Have the defendant(s) been charged previously? If so, please explain.
- Why must the traveler personally visit the foreign destination?
- What is the purpose of travel? In particular, specify whether the traveler(s) will be investigating, interviewing witnesses,
taking depositions, conducting inspections, etc.
- Please list the names and nationalities of persons to be interviewed or deposed, including addresses and telephone numbers
- Is the prosecution of a foreign national foreseen? If yes, provide name and nationality.
- Is a host government official to be deposed or interviewed? Please provide name, title, and whether the person has been contacted
and/or agreed to participate.
- Has Interpol, foreign police or other foreign authority cleared the visit and are foreign authorities prepared to cooperate?
Please explain in detail including names, titles, and telephone numbers of foreign contact(s).
- Have foreign embassy, consular or diplomatic officials been consulted regarding travel? If so, provide names, titles, etc.
- Are the individuals traveling abroad in possession of official (not tourist)
passports? Do the passports contain the appropriate visa(s)? Provide the passport numbers and expiration dates.
- If assistance from American embassy or consulate personnel is required (e.g., consular officer to administer oath) or if office
space at embassy or consulate is required, please specify.
- If assistance of stenographer, court reporter, or interpreter is desired, please provide an appropriation number and funding
code against which the services can be charged.
- Please include any other details which would help the Department of State and
embassy or consulate ensure that difficulties do not arise.
- If the traveler is not based in
Washington, has the travel been coordinated with
office of parent agency (if any)? Please provide contact name and number.
Please fax or email the completed questionnaire to Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Legal Affairs (CA/OCS/L) as far in
advance of planned travel as possible.
Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Legal Affairs (CA/OCS/L)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Consult the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov under the sub-heading of Judicial Assistance for country-specific information and general information about international judicial assistance.