Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Definition of the Day: Consulate vs. Consular Office

It's a niggling thing.  I get it.  But it still grates.

The terms are very similar and while they can, to a point, be interchanged, there are commonly recognized differences.

A Consulate is a physically stand alone operation.  It is under the Embassy, which is typically in the capital city of the country we are guests in, but the Consulate is most often in a separate city, and specifically designed to address the consular activities needed in that region.

In Chennai, we served at a Consulate.  The Embassy was in New Delhi, way up north.  There were a number of Consulates in India... Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and others.  Each Consulate was headed by a Consul General (CG).  The CG manages the Consulate and reports to the Ambassador at the Embassy.  The Consulate can also house other offices (we had officers from all areas, but they were much smaller offices than their counterparts in New Delhi), but the primary focuses of a Consulate are visa interviews/issuances and American Citizen Services (ACS).  ACS work is quite varied, from managing deaths of Americans to adoptions to emergency services to birth certificates to managing wardens to helping with evacuations, and everything in-between that helps U.S. citizens.

The Consular Office is usually within an Embassy proper.  It is headed by a Consular Chief.  That role is filled by Ian here at Embassy Amman.  The Consular Office does the same visa and ACS work and it does it directly under the Ambassador.

When I hear the word Consulate, I think of a separate functioning system under a CG.

When I hear Consular Office, I think of a specific office within an Embassy under a Chief.

Oh, and one more thing.

The correct words are CONsulate and CONsular.  It's not Counselar, or Counselor, or Counselate, and is it not pronounced those ways either.  There is no "u" in either of the correct terms.

My irritated FYI for the day.

1 comment:

  1. One of my pet peeves is people who don't understand the difference between the Consul General and a Consulate General. Just in case you need a rant for another day ...