Whether you are going to France for business, on vacation or for a lifetime you should visit your local French consulate. French consulates are located in the big cities of different countries. Throughout the world, France has 124 consulates.
In some countries, the French diplomatic mission in the national capital is complemented by consulates in major cities. In the United States, for example, there are 11 French General Consulates in addition to the French Consulate General attached to the Embassy in Washington, consular officials are responsible for protecting the interests of French nationals abroad, be they permanent residents or temporary visitors.
The French Consulate General is located in the same building as the French Embassy. It protects the interests of French residents and tourists in Washington, D.C., and neighboring states (Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina and South Carolina).
France consulate office performs a number of administrative services on behalf of the local French community: it keeps records of vital statistics, provides identification cards, registers voters and keeps records of young men eligible for military service (compulsory in France).
The French Consulate General also provides notary and limited legal services. It assists any French citizen who has been arrested by local authorities and ensures that he or she receives fair treatment. In addition, the French Consulate General issues the necessary visas to persons wishing to travel to France.
The consul protects the interests of French nationals abroad and provides administrative services to the French community. He stands ready to help in the event of theft, loss of property and documents, serious illness, arrest and incarceration (to ensure proper legal procedures), political difficulties, natural disasters.
The consul may register acts issued by local authorities concerning French citizens residing in or visiting the US; draw up birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and certificates necessary for the transport of a body or ashes to France. He also issues national identity cards and passports, facilitates the first steps in resolving problems of nationality, handles military service issues: registration for military service, exemptions, and war pensions.
934 Fifth Avenue is probably the best-known address for French New Yorkers. For 50 years, it has been the home of the French Consulate. In December 1952, the French Consulate was located in the five-story townhouse at 934 Fifth Avenue. The building had been purchased by the French Republic in 1942. The war explains the gap of ten years between the two dates.
New York, however, was not home to the first French Consulate in the United States. That honor goes to Philadelphia, the first capital. Signed in 1778, the treaty of friendship and of commerce between France and the United States resulted that same year in the establishment of the first French Consulate in the new republic.