Navigating the world of titles can be tricky. Whether you're talking about academic designations, military ranks or government officials, knowing how to properly address someone can be confusing. However, it's very important. How you address a letter to someone shows that you are acknowledging and respecting their position, and that you've done your research. As with all government positions, this is also true when writing a consul general.
What Is A Consul General?
A consul general is the person who is in charge of a consulate. To understand the role, it's important to know what a consulate is. To foster diplomacy around the world, the U.S. Department of State maintains offices in foreign countries. These are used to build an official relationship with the country and also to support American citizens living or working abroad in the surrounding area. The most important of these offices is the embassy, located in the capital of the foreign country. This is where the ambassador works and where most official business takes place.
However, in large countries there are often additional offices of the U.S. governments in other major cities. These are known as consulates. Although consulates take their direction from the embassy, they do much of the same type of work, supporting local missions and helping American citizens in the area that they're in. Each consulate has a consul general, a diplomat who is responsible for running the consulate.
How To Address A Consul General
At times, you might need to write to a consul general. If you're abroad and need help quickly it's probably best to call your local consulate. However, for other issues you might be inclined to write.
Addressing a letter to a consul general is simple. You just use the person's normal prefix for the person's name: Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc. When addressing a letter you should write "Mr. John Smith." In the following line, write "Consul General." Then, begin a new line to list the street address.
When you begin your letter you can simply write "Dear Mr. Smith." The tone of the letter should be formal, but there are no special considerations.
Finding The Name and Address For A Consul General
If you want to write a letter to a specific consul general, you will need to find their name and the address of the consulate that they're stationed at. The government maintains a list of all embassies and consulates at www.usembassy.gov. From there, you can click on a country to see the location of embassies and consulates in that country.
To find out the name of the consul general at each consulate, you'll need to visit the consulate's website. On the consulate's page, you'll be able to see who the consul general is and even get a bit of biographical information on him or her.
Kelly Burch is a freelance journalist living in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Parents magazine and more.