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The Privacy Act of 1974

Safeguarding your privacy is an integral part of the consular mission.  The Privacy Act of 1974 and related rules provide a range of protections for personal information that the Department, including its embassies and consulates worldwide, maintains about you.  The Act also permits – but does not require – the Department to share such information in various established common circumstances, such as when we engage with U.S. and foreign government authorities in connection with your case and when we work with various entities and individuals in emergency situations.

The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits a U.S. Consular Office from releasing any information about a U.S. citizen without their written consent except as set forth in the Act.  A U.S. citizen can complete a Privacy Act written consent authorizing a Consular Officer to contact individuals on their behalf and disclose information.

Please note that we will provide the Privacy Act written consent to U.S. citizens requesting consular assistance, but we cannot under any circumstances compel an individual to complete and submit the form. We advise U.S. citizens to carefully consider the individuals to whom they authorize disclosure of information. However, we also note that without a signed Privacy Act written consent the Department may find it more difficult to assist U.S. citizens in a manner consistent with their wishes.

Further information about our privacy rules and practices is available at foia.state.gov and the State-05 Federal Register Overseas Citizens Services Records notice.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a (Privacy Act), 22 U.S.C. 2656 (Management of Foreign Affairs), 22 U.S.C. 3904 (Functions of Service), Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.