The Consulate Today
The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara is responsible for consular services in the states of Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Colima, and Nayarit, while the Public Affairs Section and Foreign Commercial Service also work in Guanajuato, Michoacán, and Sinaloa. We have about 80 Mexican employees and 35 U.S. officers who work for the Departments of State, Commerce, Department of Agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, US Air Force, and the Social Security Administration.
The Visa Section is perhaps the best known of the Consulate’s services. It receives over 1,200 applicants for non-immigrant visas (tourist, business, student, temporary worker) each day. In the past several years the application process has changed with the addition of digital photos and fingerprints. These changes, along with the need to interview a high volume of applicants, require constant training for the staff in the use of new technology and the detection of fraudulent documents.
This region is home to the largest resident population of U.S. citizens outside the United States. Its beaches and other destinations attract more tourists each year, also increasing the demand for consular services. Currently, the American Citizen Services Section, along with the Consular Agency in Vallarta, is responsible for about 50,000 U.S. citizens resident in the district and about 100,000 U.S. citizen tourists, students, and business persons in this region on any given day. The services range from issuing passports and reports of birth, notarizing documents, assisting when a U.S. citizen dies, and visiting U.S. prisoners to ensure that they are treated in accordance with local laws. The Federal Benefits Unit of the Consulate is in charge of administering U.S. benefits to U.S. and Mexican citizens.
The Consulate’s Public Affairs Section distributes information about U.S. policies and programs to the media, universities, and other organizations. It manages educational exchange programs and supports the teaching and study of English. Through a series of speakers and videoconferences, the Section reaches out to Mexican audiences on topics of mutual interest, such as the environment, migration, human rights, and rule of law.
The district of the Consulate General in Guadalajara has continued to develop in importance as an industrial and commercial center in western Mexico. The direct and indirect investments from the U.S. have continued to grow, especially since the beginning of NAFTA 13 years ago. Our Foreign Commercial Service office works closely with U.S. and Mexican businesses to facilitate trade and is alert to issues that hinder or impede economic growth.
As you can see, and as our formers Ambassadors in Mexico have noted, there is no other bilateral relationship in the world more important than that between the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara plays an important role in supporting and enhancing that relationship.