The Consulate Today
The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara suspended most routine nonimmigrant visa services on March 18, 2020 until further notice, but offers emergency nonimmigrant visa services. The U.S. Consulate General has limited appointments for routine U.S. passport and citizenship services, and continues to provide all emergency services to U.S. citizens.
The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara is responsible for consular services and press and cultural affairs in the states of Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Colima and Nayarit, while the Foreign Commercial Service Office also covers Guanajuato, Michoacán and Sinaloa. There are about 118 Mexican employees and 48 U.S. officers who work for the Departments of State, Commerce, Department of Agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Social Security Administration and U.S. Marshal Service.
The Visa Section is perhaps the best known of the Consulate’s services. It receives over 1,500 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, which also increases 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. Services offered by the Consulate range from passport issuance, reports of birth, document notarization, assistance when a U.S. citizens dies in Mexico, and visits to incarcerated U.S. citizens to ensure treatment is 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 video conferences, the Public Affairs Section reaches out to Mexican audiences on topics of mutual interest, such as the environment, migration, human rights, and rule of law.
The Consulate’s district continues to develop as one of western Mexico’s most important industrial and commercial centers. The direct and indirect investments from the U.S. have continued to grow, especially since the beginning of NAFTA 22 years ago. The U.S. Foreign Commercial Service Office works closely with U.S. and Mexican businesses to facilitate trade and to stay current with issues that hinder or impede economic growth.
Former U.S. ambassadors to Mexico agree that the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship remains the most important bilateral relationship in the world. The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara plays an important role in supporting and enhancing that relationship.