1 FAM 220
OFFICE OF FOREIGN MISSIONS (M/OFM)
(Office of Origin: M/OFM)
1 FAM 221 OFFICE OF FOREIGN MISSIONS (M/OFM)
1 FAM 221.1 Responsibilities
Pursuant to the Foreign Missions Act (FMA) (22 U.S.C. 4301-4316 as amended), the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) ensures that the treatment accorded foreign missions in the United States is determined after due consideration of the benefits, privileges, and immunities provided to the United States mission in that country or territory, as well as matters relating to the protection of the interests of the United States. In doing so, OFM develops and implements policies that support the secure and efficient operation of United States missions abroad; facilitates the secure and efficient operation in the United States of foreign missions and public international organizations and the official missions to such organizations; and assists such entities with obtaining appropriate benefits, privileges, and immunities for those missions and organizations and requiring their observance of corresponding obligations in accordance with international law. These policies include, but are not limited to:
(1) The accreditation of foreign mission members;
(2) A foreign mission’s acquisition and use of real property by purchase, lease, exchange, construction, or otherwise;
(3) A foreign mission’s acquisition and use of public services, including services relating to customs, importation, and utilities, and processing of applications or requests relating to public services;
(4) A foreign mission’s acquisition and use of supplies, maintenance, and transportation;
(5) A foreign mission’s acquisition and use of locally employed staff on a temporary or regular basis;
(6) A foreign mission’s acquisition and use of travel and related services;
(7) A foreign mission’s acquisition and use of financial and currency exchange services;
(8) A foreign mission’s eligibility for, and receipt of, an exemption of federal, state, local, and municipal taxes (FMA designation and determination No. 2014-1, dated January 8, 2014; No. 2009-1, dated January 14, 2009; No. 2009-3, dated June 23, 2009; No. 1998-1, dated March 23, 1998);
(9) The provision of application services with respect to visas, passports, and similar documents by private entities on behalf of a foreign mission in the United States (FMA designation and determination No. 2013-2, dated March 18, 2013);
(10) A foreign mission’s ability to import materials and effects into the United States (FMA designation and determination No. 2006-1, dated April 18, 2006);
(11) Deterring, detecting, and penalizing fraud and abuse in the obtaining and use of diplomatic or consular privileges, immunities, and other benefits;
(12) The process and terms and conditions through which foreign missions obtain authorization to acquire, use, and dispose of property and to construct or renovate facilities at the Foreign Missions Center (FMA designation and determination No. 2015-01, dated July 14, 2015); and
(13) Such other matters as the Secretary may from time to time determine as appropriate.
1 FAM 221.2 Organization
An organization chart of OFM is found at 1 FAM Exhibit 221.2.
1 FAM 221.3 Scope and Authorities
a. The Foreign Missions Act (Public Law 97-241; 22 U.S.C. 4301, et seq. (1982)), as amended, authorizes the Secretary of State to designate an office to carry out the purposes of the Act. The FMA authorizes the President to appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a Director with the rank of Ambassador.
b. Department of State Delegations of Authority No. 147, dated September 13, 1982, and No. 198, dated September 16, 1992, delegate functions authorized under the Act to the Under Secretary for Management. Delegation of Authority No. 214, dated September 20, 1994, further delegates functions authorized under the Act, except those under 22 U.S.C. 4303(4), 4304(b)(5), 4304(f), 4309, 4309a, and 4314, to the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions. Delegation of Authority No. 285-1, dated October 28, 2008, delegates to OFM Director and Deputy Director the certification functions vested in the Secretary by 26 U.S.C. 3121(b)(12)(B) and 26 U.S.C. 3306(c)(12)(B).
1 FAM 222 Office of the Director, Office of Foreign Missions (M/OFM)
Pursuant to delegations of authority, OFM’s Director exercises certain authorities that are vested in the Secretary of State by Title II of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (Act), as amended. The Director reports directly to the Under Secretary for Management and has the rank administratively equivalent to an Assistant Secretary. The Director’s responsibilities and requirements include:
(1) Formulation and implementation of policies that ensure that the Department of State’s treatment of foreign missions and their members in the United States is determined after due consideration of the benefits, privileges, and immunities provided to missions of the United States in the country or territory represented by that foreign mission, as well as matters relating to the protection of the interests of the United States;
(2) Ensures that assistance is provided to agencies of federal, state, and municipal governments with regard to ascertaining and according benefits, privileges, and immunities to which a foreign mission or its members may be entitled;
(3) Directs the provision of benefits for or on behalf of a foreign mission in accordance with section 4304 of the Foreign Missions Act (FMA);
(4) Provides approval or determinations under the FMA regarding rights or benefits sought by or made available to foreign missions, including, but not limited to the opening, use, maintenance, and operations of foreign missions; and
(5) Performs such other functions as the Secretary may determine necessary in furtherance of the FMA.
1 FAM 223 Principal Deputy Director
a. On behalf of the Director, the Principal Deputy Director acts as OFM’s Chief Management Official and is primarily responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization. The Principal Deputy Director has the rank administratively equivalent to that of a principal deputy assistant secretary and, in accordance with the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, serves as the Acting Director in the event that the position of the Director is vacant.
b. Additional responsibilities of the position include:
(1) Ensures coordination with Department offices and functional and regional bureaus on reciprocity and related matters. Provides policy advice to the Director and calls attention to potential problems and emerging issues;
(2) Advises the Director on long-range and strategic goals and objectives and implements such plans accordingly;
(3) Oversees the formulation of guidelines and implementation of related policies and standards for OFM programs and activities;
(4) Ensures coordination as appropriate with other public agencies and entities that are involved in matters covered under the Foreign Missions Act;
(5) As required under section 4304B (1) of the Foreign Missions Act, oversees the compilation and submission of the annual report to Congress concerning diplomatic immunity entitled “Report on Cases Involving Diplomatic Immunity”;
(6) Subsequent to the to the involvement of courts or the media, the Principal Deputy Director oversees the management of all law enforcement matters involving foreign mission members and their dependents, with the exception of situations directly involving bilateral Chiefs of Mission, Heads of Delegation, Charge d’ affaires and Deputy Chiefs of Mission and their dependents, which are handled by the Office of the Chief of Protocol; and
(7) Performs such other duties as may be assigned by the Director or the Under Secretary for Management.
1 FAM 224 Deputy Director for Interagency Coordination
The Deputy Director for Interagency Coordination is responsible for:
(1) Ensuring appropriate operational procedures are in place to fulfill the national security requirements established under the Foreign Missions Act and ensures as appropriate that OFM’s activities and programs are coordinated with national security agencies;
(2) Raising national security issues with the Director and Principal Deputy Director, as well as other bureaus and offices within the Department, and concerned offices in other agencies to assure that they are given appropriate consideration in the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policies relating to foreign missions and their members in the United States; and
(3) Performing such other duties as may be assigned by the Director.
1 FAM 225 Office of Executive Director (M/OFM/OPS)
a. OFM’s Office of Executive Director (M/OFM/OPS) is headed by the Executive Director. The Executive Director:
(1) Serves as the Director and Deputy Director’s principal adviser on management, policy, administrative, planning, and resource issues;
(2) Develops and implements administrative and management policies, plans, and procedures to ensure that OFM resources are allocated, administered, and accounted for, in accordance with U.S. law and U.S. Government regulations; and
(3) Develops and implements the priorities and program objectives of OFM’s Director, using principles of efficient and cost-effective management and internal controls.
b. M/OFM/OPS is responsible for:
(1) Formulation and execution of OFM’s budget;
(2) The coordination of OFM’s human resources functions and programs, including position management, staffing and recruitment, merit promotion, employee relations, employee benefits, training and development, awards, special projects; and supervising the control and monitoring of staffing levels and the distribution of permanent and temporary employees within OFM’s organizational units;
(3) Providing general administrative support to OFM including the provision of contractual services, building and property related matters (including telephones, locks, construction, etc.), supplies and equipment, asset management (i.e., inventory), domestic emergency planning, travel, and records management;
(4) Coordinating and administering the development and maintenance of the administrative, programmatic, operational, and financial management control system for OFM;
(5) Developing and implementing throughout OFM, enhanced and effective performance management tools and the analysis and reporting of the results of such measures to improve OFM’s strategic planning, budgeting, and project/program management; and
(6) Planning the direction and management of the Innovation and Technology Unit (M/OFM/OPS/IT).
1 FAM 225.1 Innovation and Technology Unit (M/OFM/OPS/IT)
OFM’s Information and Technology Unit (M/OFM/OPS/IT) is responsible for:
(1) Ongoing planning, directing, and coordinating “The Office of Foreign Missions Information System” (TOMIS), from concept to product, including research, design, development, testing and launch. Develops and refines business processes with input from intended end-users and partnering agencies, ensuring system functionality, interfaces, data utility, data quality and security;
(2) Ongoing development and implementation of OFM’s enterprise architecture, monitoring data quality, and ensuring that system architecture meets current and projected requirements, applying leading edge technology solutions for system performance and security;
(3) Representing OFM in information technology and telecommunications-related activities within:
(a) the Department;
(b) other federal agencies;
(c) other governments; and
(d) the private sector.
(4) Developing and maintaining a worldwide information systems security program and disaster recovery processes;
(5) Ensuring that TOMIS complies with the Federal Information Management Security Act (FISMA);
(6) Ensuring the effective utilization of OFM’s budget for technology investments and compliance with the requirements and principles of the Federal Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) process;
(7) Providing comprehensive software support to the Department’s TOMIS users and those at foreign missions throughout the United States; and
(8) Developing and maintaining information technology and systems curricula, and conducting web-based, classroom and desk-side training for end-users worldwide.
1 FAM 226 Office of Policy and Reciprocity (M/OFM/PR)
a. M/OFM/PR is headed by the Assistant Director for Policy and Reciprocity. M/OFM/PR is comprised of two divisions:
(1) The Policy Development and Coordination Division (M/OFM/PR/PDC); and
(2) The Accreditation Division (M/OFM/PR/A).
b. The Office of Policy and Reciprocity (M/OFM/PR) is responsible for formulating and implementing a wide array of policies, and determines and supports a broad range of activities aimed at improving the secure and efficient operation of U.S. diplomatic and consular missions abroad. M/OFM/PR also develops and manages polices and operations intended to facilitate the secure and efficient operation in the United States of foreign missions, as well as public international organizations and the official missions to such organizations.
c. Pursuant to the Foreign Missions Act, M/OFM/PR ensures that the treatment accorded foreign missions in the United States and their members is determined after due consideration of the benefits, privileges, and immunities provided to missions of the United States in the country or territory represented by that foreign mission, as well as matters relating to the protection of the interests of the United States.
1 FAM 226.1 Policy Development & Coordination Division (M/OFM/PR/PDC)
M/OFM/PR/PDC is responsible for managing, and overseeing the following programs/issues/functions:
(1) Foreign Mission Management;
(2) The Foreign Missions Property Program;
(3) Foreign Mission Member Accreditation (Policy);
(4) The Foreign Missions Banking Program;
(5) The Foreign Missions Tax Exemption Program;
(6) The Diplomatic Tax-Relief Initiative (DTRI); and
(7) The Foreign Mission Dependent Work Authorization Program.
1 FAM 226.1-1 Foreign Mission Management
M/OFM/PR/PDC oversees the establishment and termination of consular posts, honorary consular posts, consular agencies, miscellaneous foreign government offices, and any other foreign mission in the United States other than embassies or delegations that are headed by Chiefs of Mission that present credentials to the President of the United States (e.g. African Union Delegation and the European Union Delegation).
1 FAM 226.1-2 Foreign Mission Member Accreditation
a. M/OFM/PR/PDC oversees the development and enforcement of policies and guidance relating to the accreditation of foreign mission members, with the exception of bilateral Chiefs of Mission, Heads of Delegation, Charge d’ affaires and Deputy Chiefs of Mission and their dependents (which is handled by the Office of the Chief of Protocol). The implementation of policies and procedures associated with this program is the responsibility of the Accreditation Division (M/OFM/PR/A), see 1 FAM 226.2.
b. M/OFM/PR/PDC oversees the provision of certifications of the immunity of foreign mission members to law enforcement, judicial authorities, and to other relevant entities, with the exception of bilateral Chiefs of Mission, Heads of Delegation, Charges d’affaires, Deputy Chiefs of Mission and their dependents (which are handled by the Office of the Chief of Protocol).
1 FAM 226.1-3 Foreign Mission Property Program
a. M/OFM/PR/PDC serves as the Department’s primary policy and technical authority with respect to the acquisition and use of diplomatic and consular properties in the United States.
b. Under the Foreign Missions Property Program, M/OFM/PR/PDC is responsible for:
(1) Developing and implementing policies and procedures that ensure full compliance with provisions of the Foreign Missions Act regarding the acquisition and disposition of real property by foreign missions in the United States;
(2) Adjudicating requests from foreign missions concerning their proposed acquisition, use, and disposition of real property in the United States; conducting reviews throughout the Department and other agencies of the federal government of proposed property acquisitions by foreign governments, with respect to reciprocal and national security interests;
(3) Representing U.S. government/Department interests in negotiations with foreign missions on issues relating to the purchase, lease, and taxation of real property throughout the United States;
(4) Providing authoritative advice and guidance to foreign missions, the District of Columbia, and other state and local jurisdictions on all matters relating to the inviolability and taxation of real estate owned or leased by foreign governments in the United States and its territories;
(5) Monitoring and ensuring foreign missions’ compliance with requirements for obtaining necessary permits from local governments in connection with the construction, maintenance, expansion, or renovation of foreign diplomatic and consular properties in the United States; and
(6) Maintaining accurate data in The Office of Foreign Missions Information System (TOMIS) concerning real property assets of foreign missions in the United States.
c. Pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 4305(a), M/OFM/PR/PDC adjudicates and approves/denies requests from foreign missions to acquire, renovate, or dispose of real property in the United States and its territories. The criteria for determining whether or not a request should be approved or denied are based upon a variety of factors, which include, but are not limited to, national security interests, reciprocity, and applicable international and domestic law. Pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 4305(b), the Diplomatic Property Program implements the requirements of a decision by the Secretary to require a foreign mission to divest itself of, or forgo the use of, any real property determined by the Secretary:
(1) Not to have been acquired in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 4305;
(2) To exceed limitations placed on real property available to a U.S. mission in that country; or
(3) Where otherwise necessary to protect the interests of the United States.
d. With respect to real property occupied by foreign missions in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, this program involves responsibility for: coordinating liaison activities with foreign missions, local government, and the public on zoning, land use, maintenance, and construction related matters; resolving complaints from local citizens and community groups regarding compliance by foreign missions with local property laws and regulations; providing expert advice and guidance to foreign missions, real estate agents, and the public on the appropriate locations to acquire property for chancery use in the Washington Metropolitan Area; representing OFM before D.C. regulatory bodies, including the Foreign Missions Board of Zoning Adjustment, in adjudicating zoning and land use issues involving chanceries of foreign missions; coordinating and representing the Department in meetings with the National Capital Planning Commission, the Commission on Fine Arts, the Old Georgetown Board, the D.C. Office of Planning, D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board, and the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; closely coordinating zoning, land use, and construction activities with foreign missions, real estate and land use attorneys, architects, contractors, and D.C. government officials at all levels; conducting general reviews of building plans for compliance with building codes; reviewing and approving request from foreign missions to obtain on-street reserved parking in D.C. including consideration of security issues and the impact on local neighborhoods.
e. M/OFM/PR/PDC is responsible for ensuring the foreign missions comply substantially with building and related codes in a manner that it is not inconsistent with the international obligations of the United States.
f. M/OFM/PR/PDC provides guidance to federal, state, and local governments on real property issues relating to foreign missions in the United States, including construction or expansion, zoning and land use, and tax-related matters.
1 FAM 226.1-4 Foreign Missions Banking Program
Under this program, M/OFM/PR/PDC is responsible for coordinating development and implementing policies and procedures that seek to improve the availability of banking and financial services required by foreign missions and their members in the United States; coordinating with financial institutions and the Department of the Treasury (including its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence) to establish best practices for banking, and communicating such authoritative guidance to foreign missions and their personnel; conducting surveys of foreign missions to collect information with respect to their banking situation; analyzing the data collected to track and monitor changes in diplomatic banking practices; and maintaining a basic understanding of relevant laws, regulations, and standards, including the Bank Secrecy Act, currency transaction reporting, OFAC sanctions, Financial Action Task Force standards, Know Your Customer rules, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Suspicious Activity reporting, and tax residency reporting (e.g., W-8EXP and W-8BEN).
1 FAM 226.1-5 Diplomatic Tax Relief Initiative & the Foreign Missions Tax Exemption Program
a. M/OFM/PR/PDC serves as the Department’s primary policy and technical authority with respect to a broad and comprehensive range of both domestic and international tax matters/issues impacting the Department’s operations abroad and those of foreign missions in the United States.
b. In accordance with its leadership of the Department’s Diplomatic Tax-Relief Initiative (DTRI), M/OFM/PR/PDC assists U.S missions in negotiating the reduction or elimination of tax and customs duties on the Department’s operations, construction projects, and the personal purchases of U.S. missions and their members abroad.
c. The Foreign Missions Tax Exemption Program is responsible for the development and implementation of policies, plans, and strategies with respect to the provision of reciprocal relief from taxation of U.S. missions and their members abroad as well as foreign missions and their members throughout the United States and its territories. The tax-relief privileges handled under this program include, but are not limited to, sales tax, occupancy, property (real and personal), property recordation/transfer, income, excise, utility, fuel, restaurant/meal, motor vehicle, alcohol, and tobacco taxes.
d. Under this program, OFM adjudicates:
(1) Eligibility of foreign missions and their members in the United States to own, purchase, or sell real property, and authorize exemptions for taxes that States and/or local governments impose on them, including annual property, recordation, and/or transfer taxes. The authorizations are transmitted by letter to the appropriate tax authority/jurisdiction from the Assistant Director for Policy and Reciprocity;
(2) Approves or denies requests from foreign missions and their members for exemption from taxes imposed on their official and personal purchases in the United States; and
(3) Requests from foreign missions for the Department to certify to the Department of the Treasury the reciprocal income tax exemption privileges that are provided to employees of the U.S. mission in the respective country. Such certifications are required under 26 U.S.C. 893(b). The authority to make such certifications has been delegated to OFM’s Director and Deputy Director.
1 FAM 226.1-6 Foreign Mission Dependent Work Authorization Program
a. M/OFM/PR/PDC works in collaboration with the Family Liaison Office (FLO) and other associated bureaus and offices to realize the Department's overall goal of identifying and increasing opportunities for employment by spouses of U.S. Foreign Service personnel outside of the mission to which they are assigned.
b. M/OFM/PR/PDC provides such assistance and guidance as follows:
(1) Prior to the establishment of a formal or de facto bilateral work agreement, M/OFM/PR/PDC reviews the proposed text to determine whether reciprocal restrictions are required and, if so determined, how such restrictions are to be imposed;
(2) In the event that such agreements (whether formal or de facto) require the payment of a fee to the associated host government, in accordance with its authority under 22 U.S.C. 4304(b)(5)(c) and if determined to be necessary by the Director of OFM or the Under Secretary for Management, M/OFM/PR will notify the mission that, on the basis of reciprocity, the Department's ability to finalize its certification of requests for dependent work authorization for individuals from that mission will require the payment of a reciprocally imposed surcharge;
(3) M/OFM/PR/PDC processes both USCIS Form I-765 (“Application for Employment Authorization”) and USCIS Form I-566 (“Interagency Record of Request -- A, G or NATO Dependent Employment Authorization or Change/Adjustment to/from A, G or NATO Status”) that are submitted to the Department by dependents of foreign missions seeking employment authorization. In doing so, M/OFM/PR ensures that the dependents of foreign mission members in the United States who receive work authorizations are duly notified of their requirement to file and, when required, pay all applicable federal, state, and local taxes imposed on income received pursuant to such authorizations.
1 FAM 226.2 Accreditation Division(M/OFM/PR/A)
a. OFM’s Accreditation Division (M/OFM/PR/A) is a work unit within the Office of Policy and Reciprocity (M/OFM/PR) that is responsible for implementing the policies and procedures of the Foreign Mission Member Accreditation Program.
b. The Accreditation Division:
(1) Manages the accreditation of foreign mission members in the United States and their dependents, with the exceptions of bilateral Chiefs of Mission, Heads of Delegation, Charge d’ affaires and Deputy Chiefs of Mission and individuals assigned to the United Nations or a mission to the United Nations;
(2) Issues identification cards to foreign mission members, which describe the cardholder’s entitlement to diplomatic or consular immunities;
(3) Coordinates and manages the appointment and accreditation of foreign military attachés; and
(4) Processes USCIS Form I-566 (“Interagency Record of Request -- A, G or NATO Dependent Employment Authorization or Change/Adjustment to/from A, G or NATO Status”) submitted by foreign mission members requesting visa changes. In doing so, M/OFM/PR/A makes a determination as to whether to support requests for changes to an A or G visa status.
1 FAM 227 Office of Diplomatic Motor Vehicles (M/OFM/DMV)
a. The Office of Diplomatic Motor Vehicles (M/OFM/DMV) is responsible for a full range of motor vehicle services for the foreign mission community. M/OFM/DMV’s nationwide program is administered in accordance with the 1978 Diplomatic Relations Act (22 U.S.C. 254), and the 1982 Foreign Missions Act (22 U.S.C. 4301). M/OFM/DMV is headed by the Assistant Director for Diplomatic Motor Vehicles.
b. M/OFM/DMV ensures that foreign missions and their eligible members carry and maintain the federally mandated high levels of liability insurance coverage. In order to carry out this vitally important mandate, M/OFM/DMV regulates the acquisition, registration, and disposition of all motor vehicles belonging to foreign missions and their members. M/OFM/DMV ensures that mission members and their families are issued U.S. Department of State driver’s licenses, and reviews driving records for unsafe drivers. The program also is designed to achieve favorable treatment of U.S. Missions and personnel abroad in motor vehicle-related matters by applying reciprocal treatment to foreign missions and their personnel. Finally, M/OFM/DMV facilitates awareness of its mission via outreach programs with local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.
1 FAM 227.1 Motor Vehicle Documentation Program
a. Under this program, M/OFM/DMV establishes policies and procedures for the issuance of Department license plates, vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses to ensure compliance with federally mandated insurance coverage, as well as enforcement of, and compliance with, laws and regulations related to motor vehicle use by diplomatic and consular personnel in the United States.
b. Additionally, M/OFM/DMV processes driver’s licenses, non-driver ID cards, and vehicle registrations for accredited members of embassies, consulates, and certain international organizations and their dependents; ensures compliance with insurance requirements and, to the extent permitted under international treaty, relevant motor vehicle laws.
1 FAM 227.2 Enforcement, Compliance and Outreach Program
a. Under this program, M/OFM/DMV conducts a wide-ranging outreach program to federal, state, and local law enforcement to ensure they are adequately informed as to the privileges and immunities to which diplomatic and consular personnel are entitled and the manner in which law enforcement should handle motor vehicle incidents involving such personnel.
b. Additionally, a central goal of this program is to encourage state and local governments to report foreign mission drivers’ reckless or negligent incidents, in coordination with the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Diplomatic Law (L/DL), provides guidance on the privileges and immunities afforded to certain foreign mission members, and what actions are legally available to take against a foreign mission member who breaks the law.
c. M/OFM/DMV tracks and assists with the collection of parking fines foreign mission members incur in any U.S. locality that requests OFM’s assistance and cooperation; informs the missions of serious parking abuses.
1 FAM 227.3 Customer Service Center
The role of OFM’s Customer Service Center is to coordinate the exchange of information between OFM and the Washington-based foreign missions concerning OFM’s extension of privileges and immunities.
1 FAM 228 Services and Special Projects Unit (M/OFM/SSP)
The Services and Special Projects Unit (M/OFM/SSP) reports directly to the Principal Deputy Director and is responsible for managing, and overseeing the following programs/issues/functions:
(1) The Bonded Warehouse Program;
(2) The Custodial Property Program;
(3) The Foreign Missions Importation Program;
(4) The Foreign Missions Emergency Management Program;
(5) The Foreign Missions Center;
(6) Foreign Mission Motor Vehicle Reciprocity Policy;
(7) The Foreign Missions Telecommunication Program;
(8) The Foreign Missions Travel Controls Program;
(9) Strategic Planning;
(10) Performance Management; and
(11) Special Projects designated by the Director or Principal Deputy Director.
1 FAM 228.1 Bonded Warehouse Program
a. OFM’s Bonded Warehouse Program provides the means through which eligible foreign missions and their members obtain relief from the imposition of taxes and duties on their official and personal purchases of certain commodities. Certain foreign missions and their members enjoy tax and duty-free privileges, which are generally based on Articles 34, 36, 37.1 and 37.2 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and Articles 49.1, 50.1 and 50.2 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
b. Such commodities generally include liquor, wine, beer, soft drinks, confectioneries, tobacco, and fragrances (perfumes & colognes). In most instances, duties and/or federal and state excise taxes are imposed on either the import or manufacture of such articles.
c. The exemption of such duties and/or taxes cannot be extended by traditional commercial vendors. Therefore, the only mechanism through which a foreign mission or its members can obtain an exemption, on the basis of diplomatic or consular status, from such charges is by purchasing such products through a U.S. Customs and Border Protection-approved bonded warehouse vendor.
1 FAM 228.2 Custodial Property Program
a. Following the cessation of diplomatic, consular, and other governmental activities of a foreign mission in the United States, and in the absence of a designated protecting power or other agent, OFM is responsible for the preservation and protection of any property of such foreign mission.
b. M/OFM/SSP’s responsibilities under this program include:
(1) Property management including developing, implementing, and maintaining policies and procedures for rental/lease of the properties, contracting for repairs/renovations, and maintaining accurate, auditable records of rental income and repair expenses;
(2) Coordinating with OFAC on matters related to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA); designing, developing, and implementing plans for the effective use of the buildings by tenants including contracting for repairs, alterations, renovations, or other maintenance to preserve and maintain buildings, systems, and grounds in good condition;
(3) Evaluating rents charged and recommending adjustments as necessary to reflect market-based rents meeting rising operations and maintenance costs; and developing and maintaining records to track and monitor rental income and expenses;
(4) Overseeing the negotiation, preparation, and finalization of all leases and related documents for tenants; developing and implementing procedures used by OFM Regional Offices and private management companies to control leasing costs;
(5) Preparing reports and other documents related to custodial properties for OFM senior management; preparing annual reports for OFAC on custodial property income and expenses; and
(6) Planning and coordinating a broad range of activities critical to the preservation, use, and maintenance of the custodial properties with OFAC, local governments, or others, as required.
c. Pursuant to 22 U.S.C. § 4305(c)(2), OFM may dispose of custodial property at such time as the Secretary may determine after the expiration of the one-year period beginning on the date that the foreign mission ceased those activities, and may remit to the sending state the net proceeds from that disposition.
1 FAM 228.3 Foreign Missions Importation Program
a. Under this program, M/OFM/SSP provides expertise on issues related to diplomatic customs, privileges, and immunities of foreign missions and their members, and oversight of the process through which shipments consigned to foreign missions and their members are permitted entry into the United States, including purchases from bonded warehouses.
(1) M/OFM/SSP develops and implements policies, procedures, and guidance concerning the import, movement, and export of foreign diplomatic pouches in the United States;
(2) Communicates and interprets the provisions protecting the inviolability of diplomatic pouches;
(3) Ensures compliance with the customs clearance procedures employed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the baggage/cargo screening procedures of the Transportation Security Agency; and rules and regulations of the Department of Agriculture; the Food and Drug Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; and other agencies concerned with the lawful import of shipments consigned to foreign missions and their members;
(4) Participates with these agencies in developing and implementing policies and regulations concerning the transport of foreign diplomatic pouches through the United States.
b. In accordance with the Foreign Missions Act, all shipments consigned to a foreign mission or its members must obtain OFM’s approval/certification as a condition of entry into the United States. The criteria for determining whether an import warrants such approval/certification are based upon a variety of factors, which include, but are not limited to, reciprocity, reasonable quantities, and national security.
c. M/OFM/SSP ensures that procedures are in place with the Department of Homeland Security for the proper handling of foreign diplomatic pouches that are being imported, exported, or transiting through or within the United States.
d. Under this program, M/OFM/SSP also adjudicates the exemption of taxes imposed on alcohol and tobacco products via its consideration of requests from foreign missions and their members to purchase such commodities from U.S. Customs and Border Protection-approved duty-free vendors.
e. M/OFM/SSP assists U.S. missions abroad with matters involving a host government’s failure to meet the obligations of Article 27.3 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which establishes a prohibition against the x-raying or any other form of intrusive inspection of properly marked and handled diplomatic pouches.
1 FAM 228.4 Foreign Mission Emergency Management Program
a. Pursuant to Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness; Homeland Security Policy Directive-5 ; FEMA National Response Framework; International Coordination Support Annex (ICSA); DOS Procedures for Domestic Crisis Response dated January 28, 2009; DOS/MTSB MOU dated January 2012; and 1 FAM 212.4 paragraph (d), OFM coordinates with the Office of Emergency Management (A/OEM) on hazards incident management responsibilities under 1 FAM 212.4 paragraphs (c), (d), (k), (m) and (n) with regard to the foreign mission community in the United States. OFM’s efforts with respect to this matter are primarily overseen by M/OFM/SSP.
b. In support of A/OEM responsibilities under 1 FAM 212.4 paragraph (d), M/OFM/SSP ensures OFM’s coordination (either directly or by the appropriate OFM Regional Office) with local, state, and federal emergency management centers (EMCs) and emergency operations centers (EOCs) with respect to the exchange of information relating to foreign mission personnel or foreign nationals affected by an incident.
c. In support of A/OEM responsibilities under 1 FAM 212.4 paragraph (k), M/OFM/SSP will ensure OFM’s proper interaction and coordination with local, state, and federal departments and agencies regarding emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities to ensure that the local, state and federal plans include contingencies for foreign missions personnel and foreign nationals.
d. In incidents involving the foreign mission community or large groups of foreign nationals, OFM activities support the A/OEM responsibility under 1 FAM 212.4 paragraph (m) to provide the domestic emergency management, coordination, and support to interagency committees, working groups, and task forces when designated. Vehicles for such coordination include the FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and/or the Department operations-based Task Force, where A/OEM will represent the Department in the interagency (ref 1 FAM 212.4 paragraph (n)), and will be able to disseminate and coordinate OFM information and needs relating to the foreign mission community.
e. Through these vehicles, OFM follows the OEM-led Incident Command System (ICS) under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) mandated by HSPD-5 to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance/Administration. This ICS approach ensures that communications relating to needs and requirements of the foreign mission community will be effectively handled and will be consistent with foreign policy goals and reciprocities.
f. Through these vehicles, the Department, through OFM and OEM, advises and consults foreign governments on U.S. Government actions being considered or immediately planned that may have immediate international impacts (e.g., travel restrictions, border/airspace/coastal closures, disease spread, medical response, quarantine, isolation, and risk communication). This is especially critical for countries bordering the United States (reference: FEMA International Coordination Support Annex).
g. Through this program, and as required under the National Response Framework International Coordination Support Annex, in domestic incidents involving foreign missions and/or foreign nationals, OFM will assist foreign embassies and consulates in coordinating with federal, state, tribal, and local authorities to enable foreign diplomatic missions to provide information to their citizens in the United States and to render consular assistance (e.g., medical assistance, evacuations, consular access to hospitals and morgues, etc.).
h. Through this program, and as required under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Article 37 and the MOU between the DOS and the National Transportation Safety Board, OFM will assist with execution of DOS responsibilities relating to the notification to the foreign mission community of affected nationals of an airline or maritime disaster and further coordination with local authorities.
1 FAM 228.5 Foreign Missions Center
Pursuant to Foreign Missions Act (FMA) designation and determination No. FMA-205-01, dated July 14, 2015, (Fed. Reg. 80, No. 143, Public Notice 9204 (July 27, 2015), M/OFM/SSP manages the development and operation of the Foreign Missions Center (FMC), which is a purpose-built community for the location of foreign mission facilities. The FMC covers approximately 32 acres of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District of Columbia.
1 FAM 228.6 International Chancery Center
M/OFM/SSP manages the International Chancery Center (ICC), which provides land for the establishment of foreign missions in the District of Columbia. The ICC is a 47 acre tract of land originally transferred to the Department of State pursuant International Center Act, as amended (Public Law 90-553). The ICC is located in the Northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia and is bounded by private property on the north, Tilden Street on the south, the University of the District of Columbia and Connecticut Avenue on the east, and Reno Road and 36th Street on the west.
1 FAM 228.7 Foreign Missions Telecommunications Program
a. M/OFM/SSP, in coordination with the Bureau of Information Resource Management, Office of External Affairs (IRM/EA), develops and implements policies and procedures associated with the adjudication and handling of requests from foreign missions concerning the installation of satellite dishes (VSAT earth stations) at chanceries located in the District of Columbia, pursuant to the requirements of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended; reviews and analyzes the reciprocal, legal, regulatory, political, and national security issues associated with these requests; provides authoritative guidance to the foreign mission community and to the offices and agencies charged with analyzing the requests; and maintains liaison with representatives of the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
b. M/OFM/SSP, in coordination with IRM/EA, develops and implements policies and procedures associated with the adjudication and handling of requests from foreign missions for temporary use of radio frequencies for high-level visits.
1 FAM 228.8 Foreign Missions Travel Controls Program
a. The FMA authorizes the Secretary to confer benefits, including travel, upon request of a foreign mission, as well as to place conditions on receipt of those benefits. To do so, the Secretary or his/her designee must determine that the restriction is reasonably necessary to achieve one or more of the purposes set forth in 22 U.S.C. 4304(b), which include protecting the interests of the United States and facilitating relations between the United States and a sending state.
b. Under 22 U.S.C. 4302(a)(3), the term “foreign mission” is broadly defined. A temporary mission to the United States may qualify under this definition. In addition, since FMA Determination No. 1983-1, dated June 6, 1983, this provision has also applied to Permanent Missions and Permanent Observer Missions to the United Nations. TDY foreign government officials on bilateral business or representing a member state of the United Nations or the Organization of American States are considered members of the relevant mission for the purposes of travel restrictions. Thus, if the relevant mission is already subject to travel controls, these will apply to the TDY officials as well.
c. M/OFM/SSP is responsible for developing, implementing, and ensuring compliance with policies and procedures relating to the imposition of restrictions or controls on the travel of foreign mission members in the United States and on the reciprocal imposition of such restrictions by foreign host governments on the travel of the members of United States diplomatic and consular missions abroad. This program requires on-going coordination and consultation with national security and intelligence agencies on a broad range of highly sensitive travel control-related policy and operational issues.
d. M/OFM/SSP is responsible for collecting information from United States diplomatic and consular missions concerning the imposition of requirements, restrictions, or prohibitions on the “in-country” travel of U.S. personnel by their respective host governments and the development of recommendations to OFM leadership and others within the Department and other federal agencies concerning whether such requirements, restrictions, or prohibitions should be imposed on the personnel of the appropriate foreign mission in the United States for reasons of reciprocity or for any of the reasons established under 22 U.S.C. 4304(b).
e. Once a decision is made to impose travel restrictions on the personnel of a foreign mission in the United States, M/OFM/SSP coordinates the handling, review, and, when necessary, adjudication of the travel plans of individuals subject to these requirements.
1 FAM 229 OFM Regional Offices
a. OFM has six regional offices in the United States. The regional offices are located in:
· Chicago (M/OFM/CH)
· Houston (M/OFM/HOU)
· Los Angeles, (M/OFM/LA)
· Miami (M/OFM/MIA)
· New York (M/OFM/NY)
· San Francisco (M/OFM/SF)
b. The responsibilities of these offices include:
(1) Administering certain elements and responsibilities of the various programs OFM manages;
(2) Advising and assisting foreign missions within each region on matters that will improve their ability to operate in a secure and efficient manner; and
(3) Advising, assisting, and providing liaison with federal, state, and local government agencies, businesses, and interested individuals within each region, regarding the privileges, benefits, and immunities of foreign missions, their employees, and their employees’ dependents with respect to alleged violations of law by such persons and related matters.
1 FAM Exhibit 221.2
Office of Foreign Missions (M/OFM)