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Culture and Resources

Consulates in Minnesota

Rosemary K. Heins, Extension Educator —Families Resource Management


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Did you know that Minnesota is home to general consulate offices for three countries (Canada, Norway, and Mexico)? Mexico's opened in the summer of 2005. What does this mean for Minnesota?

What is a consulate?

A consulate provides legal services to its citizens/nationals living in the United States as well as visa and information services to foreign nationals. Most often foreign embassies are located Washington, D.C. Consulates are generally found in most large cities. However, when a large number of people migrate to a particular area of the country, a general consulate may be established. Honorary consulates may also be established for legal, ceremonial, and/or political reasons. All consulates, both general and honorary, must be approved by the U.S. State Department because of the functions and services they provide.

What do consulates do?

Consulates are governed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. They give assistance to individuals, firms, institutions, and/or authorities in their assigned territories as well as provide and distribute information about their countries. They assist with planned visits of official government representatives and other prominent people. In some cases, they issue passports and visas or distribute the necessary applications and instructions as well as certify and verify legal documents.

Individuals, who are not citizens of the country they are living in, may need to seek the help of a consulate for anything related to a legal issue in life events, such as birth, baptism, school attendance, graduation, marriage, divorce, and/or death certificates. They assist in "re-patriation" of deceased citizens bodies back to their home country for burial. They also provide powers of attorney to allow non-citizens to transfer property or change their civil status.

What countries have Minnesota consulates?

Canada, Norway, and Mexico have general consulate offices with career staff. (Office addresses are listed at the end of this Info Sheet.) In addition the Minnesota Consular Corps includes 18 countries with honorary consuls: Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. Six retired honorary consuls are recognized in the Minnesota Consular Corps for the countries of Colombia, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and Uruguay. Members of the Consular Corps may be U.S. citizens, citizens of another country, or may hold dual or multiple citizenship.

Why is the Mexican Consulate significant to Minnesota?

According to the U.S. Census estimates there are 100,000 Mexican and Mexican-Americans in Minnesota. The Mexican consulate estimate is 40% higher as it also includes undocumented workers. The St. Paul Mexican consulate office is the 46 th Mexican consulate site in the United States. Because of the consulate presence, Minnesota's economy has increased opportunity for trade growth between the state and the country of Mexico. The global economy is fed by relationships that a consulate can assist in providing.

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