United States Department of State Office of Foreign Missions (OFM)
By AlbinoFlea @ 2006-05-15 22:00:33
Mandated by Congress, the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) provides the legal foundation to facilitate secure and efficient operations of U.S. missions abroad, and of foreign missions and international organizations in the United States. In doing so, OFM serves the interests of the American public, the American diplomatic community abroad, and the foreign diplomatic community residing in the United States to see that all diplomatic benefits, privileges, and immunities are properly exercised in accordance with federal and international laws. As part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, OFM works closely with the Bureau's Protective Liaison Division and the Foreign Missions Branch of the U.S. Secret Service to ensure the safety and security of the foreign missions and their personnel.
The Office of Foreign Missions has three missions: protecting the interests of the United States and its citizens from foreign diplomats' abuses of privileges and immunities; improving the treatment of U.S. personnel assigned abroad by imposing reciprocal treatment on foreign diplomats assigned to the United States; and providing service to the foreign diplomatic and consular community in matters relating to motor vehicles, tax, customs, property, and travel.
OFM establishes and maintains relationships with U.S. law enforcement and security communities at the national, state, and local levels to educate about diplomatic privilege and immunity issues. OFM personnel conduct outreach and training seminars with these constituencies in conjunction with representatives from other Diplomatic Security offices, the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and the Office of Protocol.
As an advocate for reciprocal agreements, OFM presses for fair treatment of U.S. personnel abroad while assuring foreign diplomats based in the United States receive the same treatment that each respective government provides in return. Additionally, OFM assists foreign missions in dealing with local government offices in the United States .
Finally, OFM provides a range of services to the foreign diplomatic community, including the issuance of vehicle titles, registrations, driver's licenses, and license plates; processing tax exemption and duty-free customs requests; and facilitating property acquisitions within local zoning law restrictions. By assisting, advising, and regulating services for foreign diplomats, their dependents, and their staffs while residing in the United States , OFM promotes and strengthens the relationship between governments.