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Special Consular Services

FAQs for Special Consular Services

Traveling Abroad With a Minor

Registering with the Embassy

I-94 Requirements

Criminal Record Checks in the United States

Criminal record check procedures in the UK



Missing People in the U.S. and the UK

Obtaining Vital Records in the UK


Traveling Abroad With a Minor

Because of increasing instances of child abduction in custody cases, and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking or pornography, an immigration officer, airline, or travel company may ask you to provide some form of letter of consent if your child is traveling internationally with only one parent or with another adult, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. 

For a sample authorization letter, please click here (PDF, 57 Kb).


Registering with the Embassy

Why should I register with the Embassy?
Millions of Americans travel abroad every year and encounter no difficulties. However, U.S. embassies and consulates assist nearly 200,000 Americans each year who are victims of crime, accident, or illness, or whose family and friends need to contact them in an emergency. When an emergency happens, or if natural disaster, terrorism, or civil unrest strikes during your foreign travel, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can be your source of assistance and information. By enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP),  you help the embassy or consulate locate you when you might need them the most. Enrollment is voluntary and costs nothing, but it should be a big part of your travel planning and security.

How do I register with the Embassy?
Whether you’re visiting the United Kingdom or residing here, you may enroll for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) by clicking on the box to the right of this page or by visiting the Department of State website.  


I-94 Requirements

What is an I-94 or I-94W?
Foreign visitors to the United States complete an I-94 (white in color), if they hold a valid visa, or an I-94W (green in color), if traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. The card is obtained from the transportation carrier and must be surrendered to an inspector of the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry in the United States when applying for admission.

The inspector separates the bottom part of the card and attaches it to the passport. The part attached to the passport notes the date of entry to the United States and authorized period the visitor may remain in the country. When a visitor departs the United States, the transportation carrier representative, usually at the check-in counter, should remove the I-94 or I-94W from the passport. Sometimes due to an oversight the card is not removed. If this occurs, the passenger's departure from the United States will not be registered with the CBP.

What happens if the I-94 card is not removed upon arrival in the U.S. ?
If this happens, the next time you apply to enter the United States, your visa may be subject to cancellation and/or you may be denied entry into the United States. In particular, visitors who remain beyond their permitted stay in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program cannot reenter the U.S. in the future without obtaining a visa. If this occurs and you arrive at a U.S. port of entry seeking admission under the Visa Waiver Program without a visa, United States immigration officials may deny you entry into the U.S. Therefore, visitors must ensure that they surrender the I-94 or I-94W stub to the transport carrier before they depart the United States.

For additional information regarding an I-94 form or to contact Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Embassy in London, please click here.

Criminal Record Checks in the United States

Criminal record checks/fingerprints
U.S. citizens may be asked to present a "certificate of good conduct" or "lack of a criminal record" for a variety of reasons for use abroad or in the United States, including adoption, school attendance, employment, etc.  There are a variety of options available to U.S. citizens seeking to obtain proof of their lack of a criminal record, either at home or overseas.

The U.S. Embassy cannot provide criminal records information for individuals who have visited or resided in the United States or for American citizens who have visited or resided in the United Kingdom.

To apply for a criminal records check for time you have spent in the United States, see the Federal Bureau of Investigation website at

To apply for a criminal records check for time you have spent in the United Kingdom, see the Metropolitan Police website.

Criminal Records Check Procedures in the United States
Local Police Check
Contact the local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States to request that the police conduct a criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. Your local police department can phrase this in whatever way it deems appropriate. The document should then be authenticated for use abroad following our guidance on authentication or legalization of documents.

FBI Records Check:
The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies. The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy thereof by submitting a written request to the CJIS. The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of roll-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the processing fee. The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record.

Getting Fingerprints taken:  
U.S. citizens should be able to obtain fingerprint cards from their local police departments. U.S. embassies and consulates do not generally provide this service. Note: The U.S. Embassy in London does not provide this service. You may contact the National Fingerprint Centre at New Scotland Yard for assistance.

Authentication of Police or FBI Certificates of Lack of Criminal Record:
Documents required for use abroad may require additional authentication after you obtain the local police seal or FBI certificate.  See the Department of State’s guidance on authentication or legalization of documents at


Criminal Record Checks in the UK

Criminal record checks in the United Kingdom are conducted by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), an executive agency of the UK Home Office. Either you or your prospective employer will need to contact the CRB to obtain these records.

Levels of CRB Checks: A standard CRB check may be required for people working with children or vulnerable adults or working in an area with access to them. An enhanced CRB check may be needed for people whose job requires them to regularly care for, supervise, or be in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. The organization or employer who asked you to apply for the CRB will tell you which level of check is required.

How to apply for a CRB Check:
There are two ways to apply for a CRB check:

  1. Call the disclosure application line at 0870 90 90 844
  2. Fill out the paper application given to you by the person who asked you to apply

An online e-guide on how to complete the application form can be found at


What are the marriage requirements in the UK?

The marriage requirements for the UK are available from 

What are the details required to provide notice of marriage?
You need to provide the following details:

  • Full name 
  • Age - the minimum legal age in England and Wales is 16 years of age, but written consent may be required under 18 years
  • Address
  • Nationality
  • Current status – for example single, divorced
  • Occupation
  • Intended venue for your marriage or civil partnership

You will be asked for documentary evidence for some information, for example your nationality, so it is advisable to take your passport. You will also need evidence of the ending of any previous marriage or civil partnership.  If you are subject to immigration control, you need to produce documentary evidence to confirm that you satisfy the eligibility requirements.

What are the residency requirements for marriages or civil partnerships in the UK?

Information on residency requirements is available from

Embassy London web site information regarding marriages/civil partnerships in the UK may be found here.


If I live overseas, do I still need to file taxes in the US?
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.

For additional information, please visit the website of the Internal Revenue Service at the U.S. Embassy London.

Does the IRS have offices in the United Kingdom?
Yes.  The IRS has offices located in the US Embassy in London at 24/31 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1 AE.  Please see their website for further information.

Web site:

Missing People in the U.S. and the UK

Locating missing people in the U.S.
It is difficult to trace someone in the United States when their whereabouts are completely unknown, as there are no central records of names and addresses available to the public. Unfortunately, it is not possible for the Embassy to provide you with information on U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or foreign nationals who travel to or reside in the United States.  Such U.S. Government records are protected by the Privacy Act and cannot be divulged to third parties.

However, there may be other parties that can assist you in your search.  Information on tracing persons in the United States (including through military and religious organizations) may be found on our web site.

Locating missing people in the UK
The U.S. Embassy can assist in locating an American citizen in the United Kingdom in cases of parental child abduction or missing persons cases, or when a friend or loved one has not arrived at a location on the scheduled date and time.   The Embassy cannot help you trace your ancestry in the United Kingdom.

The U.S. Embassy London web site has a list of organizations that may be of assistance in tracing people in the United Kingdom. This list is provided as a service to the public and does not constitute a recommendation by the U.S. Embassy.  The Embassy cannot accept any responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons whose names appear on the list.  Fees are entirely a matter for agreement between the individual and the organization.

Obtaining Vital Records in the UK

What is the process for obtaining vital records in the UK?
For information on obtaining a copy of your UK birth certificate, see the website of the UK General Register Office at  You can reach this office by telephone at 011-44-845-603-7788.

If you are an American citizen born abroad, your parents should have registered your birth at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240.  This form is acceptable legal proof of birth and U.S. citizenship. Records are kept by the Passport Correspondence Office in Washington, D.C.

For more information on how to obtain a copy of your Consular Report of Birth Abroad, please see the Department of State's travel information website.

STEP Program

  • Our free app for smartphones
    Smart Traveler
    The Department of State's App for iPhone and Android, Smart Traveler, invites you to see the world with easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel
    alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more. Click here to get it !
  • Safer Traveller Enrollment Program

    If you are a U.S. Citizen currently traveling abroad, you may wish to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  You can do so through the Department of State's STEP system.