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U.S. International Legal Services | Lawyers & Assistance Overseas

Do you need Need Information on a wide array of legal issues that often affect Americans traveling or living overseas or in America? We have the Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, Diplomatic Missions, Lawyers, and Judicial Assistance with International services. Getting help in an Emergency or Incarceration Overseas can be difficult if you find yourself in bad situation. Adventure Land Travel wants you to have a safe and enjoyable vacation. That's why we have found the best resources for you to know before you go.

Travel State Gov - Legal Dept. International Legal Assistance

American Bar Association - Assistance Division for Legal Services

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Getting Help in an Emergency and Incarceration Overseas: Website of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions at:U.S. Embassy

U.S. Citizenship Laws and Policy

This section includes information about acquisition and loss of U.S. citizenship.

U.S. Citizenship or loss of Documentation

These include "private matters" such as the need for a foreign attorney or for a document to be notarized. Or, you may be looking for information on documenting the birth of an American citizen abroad, renunciation of U.S. citizenship, and matters related to dual nationality. You will also find information about "public matters" such as our international law obligations with regard to foreign nationals arrested or detained in the United States and other treaty, legal or public policy matters.

International Judicial Assistance

This section provides guidance about how to service legal documents overseas, how to obtain evidence abroad, procedures for authentication/legalization of foreign public documents, preparation of letters rogatory and enforcement of judgments.

International Judicial Assistance

International Treaties + Agreements

This section provides general information and links to key consular-related treaties including Consular Conventions, private international law treaties on legalization of documents, service of process, obtaining evidence abroad, international child abduction, international adoption, and prisoner transfer.

International Treaties + Agreements

International Child Support Enforcement

This section provides general information about passport denial for child support arrearages; bilateral child support agreements and a multilateral child support agreement.

International Child Support

All about Passports, uses and how to obtain them

How to Apply for a Passport, Apply in Person, Renew by Mail, Children Under 16, Applicants Age 16 and 17, Passport Forms, Passport Fees, Application Status, Where to Apply, Apply Outside the United States, Respond to a Letter or Email, Photo Requirements, Processing Times, Informacion en espanol, Get a Passport in a Hurry, Passport Card, Change or Correct a Passport, Lost or Stolen Passports, Replace a Limited Validity Passport, Gender Designation Change, Passport Frequently Asked Questions, Order Copies of Passport Records, Passport Information for Criminal Law Enforcement Officers, Life or Death Emergencies, and Return of Surrendered Passports.

All about Passports

Federal Benefits and Obligations Abroad

Information for Overseas Voting, Taxes, Selective Service Registration, Sending Money to Destitute U.S. Citizens Overseas, Life Events + Vital Records, Birth Abroad, Death Abroad, Marriage Abroad, Forced Marriage, Divorce Abroad, Retirement Abroad, Authentications and Apostilles, Criminal Record Checks.

Benefits and Obligations Abroad

Learn About Your Country Specific Destination for Passports

Passports: Country Specific Destination

Enroll in STEP

Enrolling in this free service will allow us to better assist you in case of an emergency while you are abroad. Enroll here: The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

Enroll in STEP

Cruise Ship Passengers

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Avoya Cruise Travel

Cruise ship travel is an increasingly popular way for U.S. citizens to see the world. Millions of U.S. citizens embark on cruise ships without incident. However, it is important to be prepared so you can enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Here are some things to consider when planning your next cruise adventure. Apply early for your passport, or make sure your current one will be valid at least six months beyond your travel dates and has two or more blank pages. Your cruise company may also require you to have a passport even if U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not.

During Your Cruise

Remain vigilant and exercise normal precautions aboard a cruise ship and on shore, as you would whenever traveling abroad. Limit your alcohol intake. Ensure cabin safety and make sure the door and balcony are properly locked at all times. Consider storing your travel documents and other valuables in a secure spot, such as a room or ships safe. Talk to the security personnel on board if you are the victim of a crime. The cruise ship will have procedures in place for handling a crime onboard.
When you come ashore, follow local laws and customs. If you break the law, you will be subject to the justice system of the host country If you are the victim of a crime on shore, report it to local authorities, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, and to cruise ship security personnel. If you lose your passport, report it immediately to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and make arrangements to get a replacement passport, for a fee.

International Travel - Cruise Ship Passengers

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Retaining A Foreign Attorney Disclaimer:

The information relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries 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 foreign attorneys. This circular seeks only to provide information; it is not an opinion on any aspect of U.S., foreign, or international law. The U.S. Department of State does not intend by the contents of this circular to take a position on any aspect of any pending litigation.

U.S. Department of State's Role

Officers of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates overseas are prohibited by federal regulation from acting as agents, attorneys or in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of U.S. citizens involved in legal disputes overseas. Department of State personnel, including its attorneys, do not provide legal advice to the public.
While U.S. embassies and consulates overseas may not recommend a particular foreign attorney, they may furnish the names of several attorneys who have identified themselves as willing to assist U.S. citizen clients, or refer inquiries to foreign law directories, bar associations or other organizations.

What Type of Lawyer Will You Need?

Barristers and Solicitors:

In some foreign countries you may need the services of specialized attorneys referred to as solicitors and barristers. Barristers are generally allowed to appear in any court. Solicitors advise clients and may prepare cases for barristers to try in court but do not frequently represent them in court themselves.

Notaries:

In some countries, notaries public, notaires or notars can perform many of the functions performed by attorneys in the United States. A notary in a civil law country is not comparable to a notary public in the United States. They frequently draft instruments such as wills and transfers of property. In some countries a notary is a public official appointed by the Ministry of Justice, whose functions include not only preparing documents, but the administration and settlement of estates. Such notaries serve as repositories for wills and are empowered to serve legal documents.

Huissiers:

In some countries "huissiers" serve documents. Your foreign attorney may delegate certain functions to a notary, "notaire", "notar" or "huissier" and is responsible for informing you about any other legal professionals that he or she engages on your behalf.

Foreign Legal Consultants:

These are attorneys, frequently working for U.S. law firms with offices in foreign countries, that may advise clients about the requirements of foreign law but who may or may not be licensed to practice law in the country where they work.

Selecting a Lawyer:

When you receive a list of Lawyers, you may wish to consider contacting several Lawyers, and briefly describe the services you need.

Find out the lawyer's qualifications and experience and how the attorney plans to represent you. Ask specific questions and expect the lawyer to explain legal activities in language that you can comprehend. Do not turn over documents or funds until you are satisfied that the Lawyer understands your problem and is willing to handle your case.

Find out the rules of the foreign country concerning attorney-client confidentiality.

Guidelines on How to Deal with Your Foreign Attorney

Understanding Your Lawyer:

Ask your Lawyer to analyze your case, but do not expect simple answers to complex legal questions. Be sure that you understand the technical language in any contract or other legal document prepared by your attorney before you sign it.

Fees:

Find out what fees the attorney charges and how the attorney expects to be paid. In some countries fees are fixed by local law. Establish a billing schedule that meets your requirements and is acceptable to the foreign attorney. Foreign lawyers may be unaccustomed to including a description of work performed in connection with billing. Some foreign attorneys may expect to be paid in advance; some may demand payment after each action they take on your behalf and refuse to take further action until they are paid; and some may take the case on a contingency or percentage basis, collecting a pre-arranged percentage of moneys awarded to you by the foreign court. Request an estimate of the total hours and costs of doing the work. Be clear who will be involved in the work and the fees charged by each participant. Determine costs if other attorneys or specialists need to be consulted, such as barristers.

Method of Payment:

Find out the expected means of payment (corporate check, bank check, personal check, international money order, wire transfer), specify currency and exchange rates (when and where applicable or feasible).

Progress Reports:

Ask that your attorney keep you informed of the progress of your case according to a pre-established schedule. Remember that many foreign courts work more slowly than courts in the United States. You may, therefore, wish the attorney to send you monthly reports, even though no real developments have ensured, simply to satisfy your questions about the progress of the case. Ask what the fee will be for progress reports.

Language:

Is the attorney fluent in English? This may or may not be important to you. If the foreign attorney does not speak or write in English, you can arrange for translation of correspondence.

Document Translations:

If you need to provide complex or technical documents to your attorney, you may wish to consider having the documents translated into the attorney's native language. Remember that even a fundamental knowledge of English may not be enough to enable the attorney to understand technical documents you provide. Discuss with your attorney whether it is preferable to translate the documents in the U.S. or in the foreign country.

Compare the costs.

Communication:

Remember to keep your attorney informed of any new developments in your case. Tell the attorney every relevant fact in order to get the best representation of your interests. Establish how you will communicate with your foreign attorney (mail, phone, fax, email.)

Time:

Find out how much time the attorney anticipates the case may take to complete. In some countries the courts recess for a period of several months. In addition, even if the case is resolved, currency control laws may delay the transfer of funds awarded to you from the foreign country for an indefinite period of time. Discuss these issues with your attorney to ensure there is no confusion.

Authentication and Translation of Documents:

It may be helpful for you to provide foreign authorities or your attorney with authenticated, translated copies of pertinent documents. Consult your foreign attorney before going to this expense. Details on authenticating U.S. documents for use overseas may be found on our website.

Records:

Consider requesting copies of all letters and documents prepared on your behalf. Inquire about the costs of mailing you such documents.

Complaints Against Foreign Attorneys:

If the services of your foreign attorney prove unsatisfactory, in addition to notifying the U.S. Department of State and/or the consular section of the U.S. embassy or consulate overseas, you may address your complaints to the local foreign bar association. Information about foreign bar associations may be obtained from the U.S. embassy or consulate overseas. Foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. may also have information on this subject.

Assistance of U.S. Embassies and Consulates:

Should your communication with a foreign attorney prove unsatisfactory, a U.S. consular officer may, if appropriate, communicate with the attorney on your behalf. In addition, complaints against foreign attorneys whose names appear on the consular list of attorneys can result in the removal of their names from the list.

Coordination with Attorneys in the United States:

Attorneys from the United States may not represent you in foreign courts unless they are admitted to practice before them. Those that have experience in international law procedure may be helpful in explaining the complex legal issues involved in your case and may be able to recommend a foreign attorney to represent you as well.

Finding A Foreign Attorney

U.S. embassies and consulates maintain lists of attorneys on their websites, including American attorneys licensed to practice in the foreign country, who have identified themselves as willing to assist U.S. citizen clients. These lists include:

Name
Contact information
Educational background
Areas of specialization
Languages spoken

Legal Aid

There may be facilities in the foreign country for low cost or free legal services. If information is not included on the Embassy or Consulates website, ask the local foreign bar association or Ministry of Justice about the availability of legal aid. You may also contact the legal attache or consular section of the foreign Embassy in Washington for specific guidance. Legal aid information may also be available from a local branch of the International Social Service.

DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IN THIS SITE RELATING TO THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES 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 FOREIGN COUNSEL.


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