Consular notification and access is the obligatory process by which federal, state, and local law enforcement and legal authorities provide information to foreign government representatives regarding their citizens in the United States and permit foreign consular officers to assist their nationals.
1. Arrest or Detention of a Foreign National
If a foreign national arrestee is from one of the 57 mandatory countries, notification to the foreign consular officer must be made without delay, even if the foreign national objects. For all other countries, law enforcement must inform the foreign national that they may have their consular officer notified of the arrest or detention and may communicate with them. The foreign national can accept or decline the offer to notify. In all cases, consular notification should be made within 24-72 hours after initial arrest. Law enforcement should document the response and the notification in the event that there are any questions later.
2. Death or Serious Injury of a Foreign National
Notification must be provided by law enforcement, or, by the coroner or medical examiner, depending on the procedures in your jurisdiction..
3. Appointment of Guardianship or Trusteeship for Minors and Adult Foreign Nationals
Notification must be provided by Child Protective Services or relevant agency.
4. Wrecks or Crashes Ships or Aircraft in the U.S. with Foreign National Passengers
If foreign nationals are known or believed to have been involved, notification must be provided by local authorities.
Authorities have a legal requirement to provide consular notification and access. Consular notification and access is mandated by the Supremacy Clause of Article VI in the U.S. Constitution, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, and the relevant bilateral treaties.
This website provides official information and resources to assist authorities in carrying out consular notification and access obligations.