What's the earliest example of a permanent embassy?

In all the accounts I've read, when the great empires of the ancient Mediterranean needed to talk to each other, they sent an ambassador or a messenger. As in, someone from Country A brought a message to Country B, and then returned home. Of course, in modern times, most major nations have permanent embassies within the capitols (or other cities) of other nations, so that there's (for example) a British ambassador ready in Washington D.C. in case any British/American talks are required.

What is the first example of this? Was there a building or a home of a prominent Egyptian living in Rome during the time of the Republic, serving as the Pharaoh's representative? Did Charlemagne have a standing presence in Byzantium, or Philip II in England?

What is the first example of two sovereign nations having permanent, standing offices within each other's territories for the purpose of ongoing diplomatic contact?

Although I am late to the party since there is no accepted answer I will try to give mine. There are two cases I can think that might answer the question.

In ancient Greek city-states there were proxenoi. They were citizens of their respective city, but had friendly relations with another city-state and fulfilled some of the functions that are today in an embassy's jurisdiction. Additionally this position was hereditary in the family. From the Wikipedia page on proxenos:

A proxenos would use whatever influence he had in his own city to promote policies of friendship or alliance with the city he voluntarily represented. For example, Cimon was Sparta's proxenos at Athens and during his period of prominence in Athenian politics, previous to the outbreak of the First Peloponnesian War, he strongly advocated a policy of cooperation between the two states. Cimon was known to be so fond of Sparta that he named one of his sons Lacedaemonius.

The second example I found was papal agents stationed in Constantinople in the 8th century AD although it can be debated whether the Papal States constituted a sovereign state at the time. The relevant source can be found here:

Originally diplomats were sent only for specific negotiations, and would return immediately after their mission concluded. Diplomats were usually relatives of the ruling family or of very high rank in order to give them legitimacy when they sought to negotiate with the other state. One notable exception involved the relationship between the Pope and the Byzantine Emperor. Papal agents, called apocrisiarii, were permanently resident in Constantinople. After the 8th century, however, conflicts between the Pope and the Emperor (such as the Iconoclastic controversy) led to the breaking down of these close ties.

After those 2 examples, the next permanently established embassy is met in Renaissance Italy.

Modern diplomacy's origins are often traced to the states of Northern Italy in the early Renaissance, with the first embassies being established in the thirteenth century. Milan played a leading role, especially under Francesco Sforza who established permanent embassies to the other cities states of Northern Italy. It was in Italy that many of the traditions of modern diplomacy began, such as the presentation of an ambassador's credentials to the head of state.

The Amarna letters and other associated documents indicate the existence of permanent embassies in Egypt in the 14th century BC.

As a matter of practicality it has always been the practice to demand hostages among states in tension. For example, one king will send his son to be a hostage in the court of the other king. This son acts as a sort of an embassy. This practice can be considered to be primordial.

What's the earliest example of a permanent embassy? - History

An Outline of American History

At the height of the Ice Age, between 34,000 and 30,000 B.C., much of the world's water was contained in vast continental ice sheets. As a result, the Bering Sea was hundreds of meters below its current level, and a land bridge, known as Beringia, emerged between Asia and North America. At its peak, Beringia is thought to have been some 1,500 kilometers wide. A moist and treeless tundra, it was covered with grasses and plant life, attracting the large animals that early humans hunted for their survival.

The first people to reach North America almost certainly did so without knowing they had crossed into a new continent. They would have been following game, as their ancestors had for thousands of years, along the Siberian coast and then across the land bridge.

Once in Alaska, it would take these first North Americans thousands of years more to work their way through the openings in great glaciers south to what is now the United States. Evidence of early life in North America continues to be found. Little of it, however, can be reliably dated before 12,000 B.C. a recent discovery of a hunting lookout in northern Alaska, for example, may date from almost that time. So too may the finely crafted spear points and items found near Clovis, New Mexico.

Similar artifacts have been found at sites throughout North and South America, indicating that life was probably already well established in much of the Western Hemisphere by some time prior to 10,000 B.C.

Around that time the mammoth began to die out and the bison took its place as a principal source of food and hides for these early North Americans. Over time, as more and more species of large game vanished -- whether from overhunting or natural causes -- plants, berries and seeds became an increasingly important part of the early American diet. Gradually, foraging and the first attempts at primitive agriculture appeared. Indians in what is now central Mexico led the way, cultivating corn, squash and beans, perhaps as early as 8,000 B.C. Slowly, this knowledge spread northward.

By 3,000 B.C., a primitive type of corn was being grown in the river valleys of New Mexico and Arizona. Then the first signs of irrigation began to appear, and by 300 B.C., signs of early village life.

By the first centuries A.D., the Hohokum were living in settlements near what is now Phoenix, Arizona, where they built ball courts and pyramid-like mounds reminiscent of those found in Mexico, as well as a canal and irrigation system.


The first Indian group to build mounds in what is now the United States are often called the Adenans. They began constructing earthen burial sites and fortifications around 600 B.C. Some mounds from that era are in the shape of birds or serpents, andprobably served religious purposes not yet fully understood.

The Adenans appear to have been absorbed or displaced by various groups collectively known as Hopewellians. One of the most important centers of their culture was found in southern Ohio, where the remains of several thousand of these mounds still remain. Believed to be great traders, the Hopewellians used and exchanged tools and materials across a wide region of hundreds of kilometers.

By around 500 A.D., the Hopewellians, too, disappeared, gradually giving way to a broad group of tribes generally known as the Mississippians or Temple Mound culture. One city, Cahokia, just east of St. Louis, Missouri, is thought to have had a population of about 20,000 at its peak in the early 12th century. At the center of the city stood a huge earthen mound, flatted at the top, which was 30 meters high and 37 hectares at the base. Eighty other mounds have been found nearby.

Cities such as Cahokia depended on a combination of hunting, foraging, trading and agriculture for their food and supplies. Influenced by the thriving societies to the south, they evolved into complex hierarchical societies which took slaves and practiced human sacrifice.

In what is now the southwest United States, the Anasazi, ancestors of the modern Hopi Indians, began building stone and adobe pueblos around the year 900. These unique and amazing apartment-like structures were often built along cliff faces the most famous, the "cliff palace" of Mesa Verde, Colorado, had over 200 rooms. Another site, the Pueblo Bonito ruins along New Mexico's Chaco River, once contained more than 800 rooms.

Perhaps the most affluent of the pre-Columbian American Indians lived in the Pacific northwest, where the natural abundance of fish and raw materials made food supplies plentiful and permanent villages possible as early as 1,000 B.C. The opulence of their "potlatch" gatherings remains a standard for extravagance and festivity probably unmatched in early American history.

The America that greeted the first Europeans was, thus, far from an empty wilderness. It is now thought that as many people lived in the Western Hemisphere as in Western Europe at that time -- about 40 million.

Estimates of the number of Native Americans living in what is now the United States at the onset of European colonization range from two to 18 million, with most historians tending toward the lower figure. What is certain is the devastating effect that European disease had on the indigenous population practically from the time of initial contact. Smallpox, in particular, ravaged whole communities and is thought to have been a much more direct cause of the precipitous decline in Indian population in the 1600s than the numerous wars and skirmishes with European settlers.

Indian customs and culture at the time were extraordinarily diverse, as could be expected, given the expanse of the land and the many different environments to which they had adapted. Some generalizations, however, are possible.

Most tribes, particularly in the wooded eastern region and the Midwest, combined aspects of hunting, gathering and the cultivation of maize and other products for their food supplies. In many cases, the women were responsible for farming and the distribution of food, while the men hunted and participated in war.

By all accounts, Indian society in North America was closely tied to the land. Identification with nature and the elements was integral to religious beliefs. Indian life was essentially clan-oriented and communal, with children allowed more freedom and tolerance than was the European custom of the day.

Although some North American tribes developed a type of hieroglyphics to preserve certain texts, Indian culture was primarily oral, with a high value placed on the recounting of tales and dreams. Clearly, there was a good deal of trade among various groups and strong evidence exists that neighboring tribes maintained extensive and formal relations -- both friendly and hostile.

The first Europeans to arrive in North America -- at least the first for whom there is solid evidence -- were Norse, traveling west from Greenland, where Erik the Red had founded a settlement around the year 985. In 1001 his son Leif is thought to have explored the northeast coast of what is now Canada and spent at least one winter there.

While Norse sagas suggest that Viking sailors explored the Atlantic coast of North America down as far as the Bahamas, such claims remain unproven. In 1963, however, the ruins of some Norse houses dating from that era were discovered at L'Anse-aux-Meadows in northern Newfoundland, thus supporting at least some of the claims the Norse sagas make.

In 1497, just five years after Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean looking for a western route to Asia, a Venetian sailor named John Cabot arrived in Newfoundland on a mission for the British king. Although fairly quickly forgotten, Cabot's journey was later to provide the basis for British claims to North America. It also opened the way to the rich fishing grounds off George's Banks, to which European fishermen, particularly the Portuguese, were soon making regular visits.

Columbus, of course, never saw the mainland United States, but the first explorations of the continental United States were launched from the Spanish possessions that he helped establish. The first of these took place in 1513 when a group of men under Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida coast near the present city of St. Augustine.

With the conquest of Mexico in 1522, the Spanish further solidified their position in the Western Hemisphere. The ensuing discoveries added to Europe's knowledge of what was now named America -- after the Italian Amerigo Vespucci, who wrote a widely popular account of his voyages to a "New World." By 1529 reliable maps of the Atlantic coastline from Labrador to Tierra del Fuego had been drawn up, although it would take more than another century before hope of discovering a "Northwest Passage" to Asia would be completely abandoned.

Among the most significant early Spanish explorations was that of Hernando De Soto, a veteran conquistador who had accompanied Francisco Pizzaro during the conquest of Peru. Leaving Havana in 1539, De Soto's expedition landed in Florida and ranged through the southeastern United States as far as the Mississippi River in search of riches.

Another Spaniard, Francisco Coronado, set out from Mexico in 1540 in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola. Coronado's travels took him to the Grand Canyon and Kansas, but failed to reveal the gold or treasure his men sought.

However, Coronado's party did leave the peoples of the region a remarkable, if unintended gift: enough horses escaped from his party to transform life on the Great Plains. Within a few generations, the Plains Indians had become masters of horsemanship, greatly expanding the range and scope of their activities.

While the Spanish were pushing up from the south, the northern portion of the present-day United States was slowly being revealed through the journeys of men such as Giovanni da Verrazano. A Florentine who sailed for the French, Verrazano made landfall in North Carolina in 1524, then sailed north along the Atlantic coast past what is now New York harbor.

A decade later, the Frenchman Jacques Cartier set sail with the hope -- like the other Europeans before him -- of finding a sea passage to Asia. Cartier's expeditions along the St. Lawrence River laid the foundations for the French claims to North America, which were to last until 1763.

Following the collapse of their first Quebec colony in the 1540s, French Huguenots attempted to settle the northern coast of Florida two decades later. The Spanish, viewing the French as a threat to their trade route along the Gulf Stream, destroyed the colony in 1565. Ironically, the leader of the Spanish forces, Pedro Menendez, would soon establish a town not far away -- St. Augustine. It was the first permanent European settlement in what would become the United States.

The great wealth which poured into Spain from the colonies in Mexico, the Caribbean and Peru provoked great interest on the part of the other European powers. With time, emerging maritime nations such as England, drawn in part by Francis Drake's successful raids on Spanish treasure ships, began to take interest in the New World.

In 1578 Humphrey Gilbert, the author of a treatise on the search for the Northwest Passage, received a patent from Queen Elizabeth to colonize the "heathen and barbarous landes" in the New World which other European nations had not yet claimed. It would be five years before his efforts could begin. When he was lost at sea, his half-brother, Walter Raleigh, took up the mission.

In 1585 Raleigh established the first British colony in North America, on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina. It was later abandoned, and a second effort two years later also proved a failure. It would be 20 years before the British would try again. This time -- at Jamestown in 1607 -- the colony would succeed, and North America would enter a new era.

The early 1600s saw the beginning of a great tide of emigration from Europe to North America. Spanning more than three centuries, this movement grew from a trickle of a few hundred English colonists to a flood of millions of newcomers. Impelled by powerful and diverse motivations, they built a new civilization on the northern part of the continent.

The first English immigrants to what is now the United States crossed the Atlantic long after thriving Spanish colonies had been established in Mexico, the West Indies and South America. Like all early travelers to the New World, they came in small, overcrowded ships. During their six- to 12-week voyages, they lived on meager rations. Many died of disease ships were often battered by storms and some were lost at sea.

Most European emigrants left their homelands to escape political oppression, to seek the freedom to practice their religion, or for adventure and opportunities denied them at home. Between 1620 and 1635, economic difficulties swept England. Many people could not find work. Even skilled artisans could earn little more than a bare living. Poor crop yields added to the distress. In addition, the Industrial Revolution had created a burgeoning textile industry, which demanded an ever-increasing supply of wool to keep the looms running. Landlords enclosed farmlands and evicted the peasants in favor of sheep cultivation. Colonial expansion became an outlet for this displaced peasant population.

The colonists' first glimpse of the new land was a vista of dense woods. The settlers might not have survived had it not been for the help of friendly Indians, who taught them how to grow native plants -- pumpkin, squash, beans and corn. In addition, the vast, virgin forests, extending nearly 2,100 kilometers along the Eastern seaboard, proved a rich source of game and firewood. They also provided abundant raw materials used to build houses, furniture, ships and profitable cargoes for export.

Although the new continent was remarkably endowed by nature, trade with Europe was vital for articles the settlers could not produce. The coast served the immigrants well. The whole length of shore provided innumerable inlets and harbors. Only two areas -- North Carolina and southern New Jersey -- lacked harbors for ocean-going vessels.

Majestic rivers -- the Kennebec, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Potomac and numerous others -- linked lands between the coast and the Appalachian Mountains with the sea. Only one river, however, the St. Lawrence -- dominated by the French in Canada -- offered a water passage to the Great Lakes and into the heart of the continent. Dense forests, the resistance of some Indian tribes and the formidable barrier of the Appalachian Mountains discouraged settlement beyond the coastal plain. Only trappers and traders ventured into the wilderness. For the first hundred years the colonists built their settlements compactly along the coast.

Political considerations influenced many people to move to America. In the 1630s, arbitrary rule by England's Charles I gave impetus to the migration to the New World. The subsequent revolt and triumph of Charles' opponents under Oliver Cromwell in the 1640s led many cavaliers -- "king's men" -- to cast their lot in Virginia. In the German-speaking regions of Europe, the oppressive policies of various petty princes -- particularly with regard to religion -- and the devastation caused by a long series of wars helped swell the movement to America in the late 17th and 18th centuries.

The coming of colonists in the 17th century entailed careful planning and management, as well as considerable expense and risk. Settlers had to be transported nearly 5,000 kilometers across the sea. They needed utensils, clothing, seed, tools, building materials, livestock, arms and ammunition.

In contrast to the colonization policies of other countries and other periods, the emigration from England was not directly sponsored by the government but by private groups of individuals whose chief motive was profit.

The first of the British colonies to take hold in North America was Jamestown. On the basis of a charter which King James I granted to the Virginia (or London) Company, a group of about 100 men set out for the Chesapeake Bay in 1607. Seeking to avoid conflict with the Spanish, they chose a site about 60 kilometers up the James River from the bay.

Made up of townsmen and adventurers more interested in finding gold than farming, the group was unequipped by temperament or ability to embark upon a completely new life in the wilderness. Among them, Captain John Smith emerged as the dominant figure. Despite quarrels, starvation and Indian attacks, his ability to enforce discipline held the little colony together through its first year.

In 1609 Smith returned to England, and in his absence, the colony descended into anarchy. During the winter of 1609-1610, the majority of the colonists succumbed to disease. Only 60 of the original 300 settlers were still alive by May 1610. That same year, the town of Henrico (now Richmond) was established farther up the James River.

It was not long, however, before a development occurred that revolutionized Virginia's economy. In 1612 John Rolfe began cross-breeding imported tobacco seed from the West Indies with native plants and produced a new variety that was pleasing to European taste. The first shipment of this tobacco reached London in 1614. Within a decade it had become Virginia's chief source of revenue.

Prosperity did not come quickly, however, and the death rate from disease and Indian attacks remained extraordinarily high. Between 1607 and 1624 approximately 14,000 people migrated to the colony, yet only 1,132 were living there in 1624. On recommendation of a royal commission, the king dissolved the Virginia Company, and made it a royal colony that year.

During the religious upheavals of the 16th century, a body of men and women called Puritans sought to reform the Established Church of England from within. Essentially, they demanded that the rituals and structures associated with Roman Catholicism be replaced by simpler Protestant forms of faith and worship. Their reformist ideas, by destroying the unity of the state church, threatened to divide the people and to undermine royal authority.

In 1607 a small group of Separatists -- a radical sect of Puritans who did not believe the Established Church could ever be reformed -- departed for Leyden, Holland, where the Dutch granted them asylum. However, the Calvinist Dutch restricted them mainly to low-paid laboring jobs. Some members of the congregation grew dissatisfied with this discrimination and resolved to emigrate to the New World.

In 1620, a group of Leyden Puritans secured a land patent from the Virginia Company, and a group of 101 men, women and children set out for Virginia on board the Mayflower . A storm sent them far north and they landed in New England on Cape Cod. Believing themselves outside the jurisdiction of any organized government, the men drafted a formal agreement to abide by "just and equal laws" drafted by leaders of their own choosing. This was the Mayflower Compact.

In December the Mayflower reached Plymouth harbor the Pilgrims began to build their settlement during the winter. Nearly half the colonists died of exposure and disease, but neighboring Wampanoag Indians provided information that would sustain them: how to grow maize. By the next fall, the Pilgrims had a plentiful crop of corn, and a growing trade based on furs and lumber.

A new wave of immigrants arrived on the shores of Massachusetts Bay in 1630 bearing a grant from King Charles I to establish a colony. Many of them were Puritans whose religious practices were increasingly prohibited in England. Their leader, John Winthrop, openly set out to create a "city upon a hill" in the New World. By this he meant a place where Puritans would live in strict accordance with their religious beliefs.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was to play a significant role in the development of the entire New England region, in part because Winthrop and his Puritan colleagues were able to bring their charter with them. Thus the authority for the colony's government resided in Massachusetts, not in England.

Under the charter's provisions, power rested with the General Court, which was made up of "freemen" required to be members of the Puritan Church. This guaranteed that the Puritans would be the dominant political as well as religious force in the colony. It was the General Court which elected the governor. For most of the next generation, this would be John Winthrop.

The rigid orthodoxy of the Puritan rule was not to everyone's liking. One of the first to challenge the General Court openly was a young clergyman named Roger Williams, who objected to the colony's seizure of Indian lands and its relations with the Church of England.

Banished from Massachusetts Bay, he purchased land from the Narragansett Indians in what is now Providence, Rhode Island, in 1636. There he set up the first American colony where complete separation of church and state as well as freedom of religion was practiced.

So-called heretics like Williams were not the only ones who left Massachusetts. Orthodox Puritans, seeking better lands and opportunities, soon began leaving Massachusetts Bay Colony. News of the fertility of the Connecticut River Valley, for instance, attracted the interest of farmers having a difficult time with poor land. By the early 1630s, many were ready to brave the danger of Indian attack to obtain level ground and deep, rich soil. These new communities often eliminated church membership as a prerequisite for voting, thereby extending the franchise to ever larger numbers of men.

At the same time, other settlements began cropping up along the New Hampshire and Maine coasts, as more and more immigrants sought the land and liberty the New World seemed to offer.


Hired by the Dutch East India Company, Henry Hudson in 1609 explored the area around what is now New York City and the river that bears his name, to a point probably north of Albany, New York. Subsequent Dutch voyages laid the basis for their claims and early settlements in the area.

Like the French to the north, the first interest of the Dutch was the fur trade. To this end, the Dutch cultivated close relations with the Five Nations of the Iroquois who were the key to the heartland from which the furs came. In 1617 Dutch settlers built a fort at the junction of the Hudson and the Mohawk Rivers, where Albany now stands.

Settlement on the island of Manhattan began in the early 1620s. In 1624, the island was purchased from local Indians for the reported price of $24. It was promptly renamed New Amsterdam.

In order to attract settlers to the Hudson River region, the Dutch encouraged a type of feudal aristocracy, known as the "patroon" system. The first of these huge estates were established in 1630 along the Hudson River.

Under the patroon system, any stockholder, or patroon, who could bring 50 adults to his estate over a four-year period was given a 25-kilometer river-front plot, exclusive fishing and hunting privileges, and civil and criminal jurisdiction over his lands. In turn, he provided livestock, tools and buildings. The tenants paid the patroon rent and gave him first option on surplus crops.

Further to the south, a Swedish trading company with ties to the Dutch attempted to set up its first settlement along the Delaware River three years later. Without the resources to consolidate its position, New Sweden was gradually absorbed into New Netherland, and later, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In 1632 the Calvert family obtained a charter for land north of the Potomac River from King Charles I in what became known as Maryland. As the charter did not expressly prohibit the establishment of non-Protestant churches, the family encouraged fellow Catholics to settle there. Maryland's first town, St. Mary's, was established in 1634 near where the Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

While establishing a refuge for Catholics who were facing increasing persecution in Anglican England, the Calverts were also interested in creating profitable estates. To this end, and to avoid trouble with the British government, they also encouraged Protestant immigration.

The royal charter granted to the Calvert family had a mixture of feudal and modern elements. On the one hand they had the power to create manorial estates. On the other, they could only make laws with the consent of freemen (property holders). They found that in order to attract settlers -- and make a profit from their holdings -- they had to offer people farms, not just tenancy on the manorial estates. The number of independent farms grew in consequence, and their owners demanded a voice in the affairs of the colony. Maryland's first legislature met in 1635.

By 1640 the British had solid colonies established along the New England coast and the Chesapeake Bay. In between were the Dutch and the tiny Swedish community. To the west were the original Americans, the Indians.

Sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile, the Eastern tribes were no longer strangers to the Europeans. Although Native Americans benefitted from access to new technology and trade, the disease and thirst for land which the early settlers also brought posed a serious challenge to the Indian's long-established way of life.

At first, trade with the European settlers brought advantages: knives, axes, weapons, cooking utensils, fish hooks and a host of other goods. Those Indians who traded initially had significant advantage over rivals who did not.

In response to European demand, tribes such as the Iroquois began to devote more attention to fur trapping during the 17th century. Furs and pelts provided tribes the means to purchase colonial goods until late into the 18th century.

Early colonial-Indian relations were an uneasy mix of cooperation and conflict. On the one hand, there were the exemplary relations which prevailed during the first half century of Pennsylvania's existence. On the other were a long series of setbacks, skirmishes and wars, which almost invariably resulted in an Indian defeat and further loss of land.

The first of the important Indian uprisings occurred in Virginia in 1622, when some 347 whites were killed, including a number of missionaries who had just recently come to Jamestown. The Pequot War followed in 1637, as local tribes tried to prevent settlement of the Connecticut River region.

In 1675 Phillip, the son of the chief who had made the original peace with the Pilgrims in 1621, attempted to unite the tribes of southern New England against further European encroachment of their lands. In the struggle, however, Phillip lost his life and many Indians were sold into servitude.

Almost 5,000 kilometers to the west, the Pueblo Indians rose up against the Spanish missionaries five years later in the area around Taos, New Mexico. For the next dozen years the Pueblo controlled their former land again, only to see the Spanish retake it. Some 60 years later, another Indian revolt took place when the Pima Indians clashed with the Spanish in what is now Arizona.

The steady influx of settlers into the backwoods regions of the Eastern colonies disrupted Indian life. As more and more game was killed off, tribes were faced with the difficult choice of going hungry, going to war, or moving and coming into conflict with other tribes to the west.

The Iroquois, who inhabited the area below Lakes Ontario and Erie in northern New York and Pennsylvania, were more successful in resisting European advances. In 1570 five tribes joined to form the most democratic nation of its time, the "Ho-De-No-Sau-Nee," or League of the Iroquois. The League was run by a council made up of 50 representatives from each of the five member tribes. The council dealt with matters common to all the tribes, but it had no say in how the free and equal tribes ran their day-to-day affairs. No tribe was allowed to make war by itself. The council passed laws to deal with crimes such as murder.

The League was a strong power in the 1600s and 1700s. It traded furs with the British and sided with them against the French in the war for the dominance of America between 1754 and 1763. The British might not have won that war without the support of the League of the Iroquois.

The League stayed strong until the American Revolution. Then, for the first time, the council could not reach a unanimous decision on whom to support. Member tribes made their own decisions, some fighting with the British, some with the colonists, some remaining neutral. As a result, everyone fought against the Iroquois. Their losses were great and the League never recovered.


The religious and civil conflict in England in the mid-17th century limited immigration, as well as the attention the mother country paid the fledgling American colonies.

In part to provide for the defense measures England was neglecting, the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut and New Haven colonies formed the New England Confederation in 1643. It was the European colonists' first attempt at regional unity.

The early history of the British settlers reveals a good deal of contention -- religious and political -- as groups vied for power and position among themselves and their neighbors. Maryland, in particular, suffered from the bitter religious rivalries which afflicted England during the era of Oliver Cromwell. One of the casualties was the state's Toleration Act, which was revoked in the 1650s. It was soon reinstated, however, along with the religious freedom it guaranteed.

In 1675 Bacon's Rebellion, the first significant revolt against royal authority, broke out in the colonies. The original spark was a clash between Virginia frontiersmen and the Susquehannock Indians, but it soon pitted the common farmer against the wealth and privilege of the large planters and Virginia's governor, William Berkeley.

The small farmers, embittered by low tobacco prices and hard living conditions, rallied around Nathaniel Bacon, a recent arrival from England. Berkeley refused to grant Bacon a commission to conduct Indian raids, but he did agree to call new elections to the House of Burgesses, which had remained unchanged since 1661.

Defying Berkeley's orders, Bacon led an attack against the friendly Ocaneechee tribe, nearly wiping them out. Returning to Jamestown in September 1676, he burned it, forcing Berkeley to flee. Most of the state was now under Bacon's control. His victory was short lived, however he died of a fever the following month. Without Bacon, the rebellion soon lost its vitality. Berkeley re-established his authority and hanged 23 of Bacon's followers.

With the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, the British once again turned their attentions to North America. Within a brief span, the first European settlements were established in the Carolinas and the Dutch driven out of New Netherland. New proprietary colonies were established in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

The Dutch settlements had, as a general matter, been ruled by autocratic governors appointed in Europe. Over the years, the local population had become estranged from them. As a result, when the British colonists began encroaching on Dutch lands in Long Island and Manhattan, the unpopular governor was unable to rally the population to their defense. New Netherland fell in 1664. The terms of the capitulation, however, were mild: the Dutch settlers were able to retain their property and worship as they pleased.

As early as the 1650s, the Ablemarle Sound region off the coast of what is now northern North Carolina was inhabited by settlers trickling down from Virginia. The first proprietary governor arrived in 1664. A remote area even today, Ablemarle's first town was not established until the arrival of a group of French Huguenots in 1704.

In 1670 the first settlers, drawn from New England and the Caribbean island of Barbados, arrived in what is now Charleston, South Carolina. An elaborate system of government, to which the British philosopher John Locke contributed, was prepared for the new colony. One of its prominent features was a failed attempt to create a hereditary nobility. One of the colony's least appealing aspects was the early trade in Indian slaves. Within time, however, timber, rice and indigo gave the colony a worthier economic base.

Massachusetts Bay was not the only colony driven by religious motives. In 1681 William Penn, a wealthy Quaker and friend of Charles II, received a large tract of land west of the Delaware River, which became known as Pennsylvania. To help populate it, Penn actively recruited a host of religious dissenters from England and the continent -- Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, Moravians and Baptists.

When Penn arrived the following year, there were already Dutch, Swedish and English settlers living along the Delaware River. It was there he founded Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love."

In keeping with his faith, Penn was motivated by a sense of equality not often found in other American colonies at the time. Thus, women in Pennsylvania had rights long before they did in other parts of America. Penn and his deputies also paid considerable attention to the colony's relations with the Delaware Indians, ensuring that they were paid for any land the Europeans settled on.

Georgia was settled in 1732, the last of the 13 colonies to be established. Lying close to, if not actually inside the boundaries of Spanish Florida, the region was viewed as a buffer against Spanish incursion. But it had another unique quality: the man charged with Georgia's fortifications, General James Oglethorpe, was a reformer who deliberately set out to create a refuge where the poor and former prisoners would be given new opportunities.


Men and women with little active interest in a new life in America were often induced to make the move to the New World by the skillful persuasion of promoters. William Penn, for example, publicized the opportunities awaiting newcomers to the Pennsylvania colony. Judges and prison authorities offered convicts a chance to migrate to colonies like Georgia instead of serving prison sentences.

But few colonists could finance the cost of passage for themselves and their families to make a start in the new land. In some cases, ships' captains received large rewards from the sale of service contracts for poor migrants, called indentured servants, and every method from extravagant promises to actual kidnapping was used to take on as many passengers as their vessels could hold.

In other cases, the expenses of transportation and maintenance were paid by colonizing agencies like the Virginia or Massachusetts Bay Companies. In return, indentured servants agreed to work for the agencies as contract laborers, usually for four to seven years. Free at the end of this term, they would be given "freedom dues," sometimes including a small tract of land.

It has been estimated that half the settlers living in the colonies south of New England came to America under this system. Although most of them fulfilled their obligations faithfully, some ran away from their employers. Nevertheless, many of them were eventually able to secure land and set up homesteads, either in the colonies in which they had originally settled or in neighboring ones. No social stigma was attached to a family that had its beginning in America under this semi-bondage. Every colony had its share of leaders who were former indentured servants.

There was one very important exception to this pattern: African slaves. The first blacks were brought to Virginia in 1619, just 12 years after the founding of Jamestown. Initially, many were regarded as indentured servants who could earn their freedom. By the 1660s, however, as the demand for plantation labor in the Southern colonies grew, the institution of slavery began to harden around them, and Africans were brought to America in shackles for a lifetime of involuntary servitude.


Time-worn pueblos and dramatic "cliff towns," set amid the stark, rugged mesas and canyons of Colorado and New Mexico, mark the settlements of some of the earliest inhabitants of North America, the Anasazi (a Navajo word meaning "ancient ones").

By 500 A.D. the Anasazi had established some of the first identifiable villages in the American Southwest, where they hunted and grew crops of corn, squash and beans. The Anasazi flourished over the centuries, developing sophisticated dams and irrigation systems creating a masterful, distinctive pottery tradition and carving intricate, multi-room dwellings into the sheer sides of cliffs that remain among the most striking archaeological sites in the United States today.

Yet by the year 1300, they had abandoned their settlements, leaving their pottery, implements, even clothing -- as though they intended to return -- and seemingly disappeared into history. Their homeland remained empty of human beings for more than a century -- until the arrival of new tribes, such as the Navajo and the Ute, followed by the Spanish and other European settlers.

The story of the Anasazi is tied inextricably to the beautiful but harsh environment in which they chose to live. Early settlements, consisting of simple pithouses scooped out of the ground, evolved into sunken kivas that served as meeting and religious sites. Later generations developed the masonry techniques for building square, stone pueblos. But the most dramatic change in Anasazi living -- for reasons that are still unclear -- was the move to the cliff sides below the flat-topped mesas, where the Anasazi carved their amazing, multilevel dwellings.

The Anasazi lived in a communal society that evolved very slowly over the centuries. They traded with other peoples in the region, but signs of warfare are few and isolated. And although the Anasazi certainly had religious and other leaders, as well as skilled artisans, social or class distinctions were virtually nonexistent.

Religious and social motives undoubtedly played a part in the building of the cliff communities and their final abandonment. But the struggle to raise food in an increasingly difficult environment was probably the paramount factor. As populations grew, farmers planted larger areas on the mesas, causing some communities to farm marginal lands, while others left the mesa tops for the cliffs. But the Anasazi couldn't halt the steady loss of the land's fertility from constant use, nor withstand the region's cyclical droughts. Analysis of tree rings, for example, shows that a final drought lasting 23 years, from 1276 to 1299, finally forced the last groups of Anasazi to leave permanently.

Although the Anasazi dispersed from their ancestral homeland, they did not disappear. Their legacy remains in the remarkable archaeological record that they left behind, and in the Hopi, Zuni and other Pueblo peoples who are their descendants.

What's the earliest example of a permanent embassy? - History

One notable exception involved the relationship between the Pope and the Byzantine Emperor. Papal agents, called apocrisiarii, were permanently resident in Constantinople. After the 8th century, however, conflicts between the Pope and the Emperor (such as the Iconoclastic controversy) led to the breaking down of these close ties.

Modern diplomacy's origins are often traced to the states of Northern Italy in the early Renaissance, with the first embassies being established in the thirteenth century. Milan played a leading role, especially under Francesco Sforza who established permanent embassies to the other cities states of Northern Italy. It was in Italy that many of the traditions of modern diplomacy began, such as the presentation of an ambassador's credentials to the head of state.

The practice spread from Italy to the other European powers. Milan was the first to send a representative to the court of France in 1455. Milan however refused to host French representatives fearing espionage and possible intervention in internal affairs. As foreign powers such as France and Spain became increasingly involved in Italian politics the need to accept emissaries was recognized. Soon all the major European powers were exchanging representatives. Spain was the first to send a permanent representative when it appointed an ambassador to the Court of England in 1487. By the late 16th century, permanent missions became the standard.

Many of the conventions of modern diplomacy developed during this period. The top rank of representatives was an ambassador. An ambassador at this time was almost always a nobleman - the rank of the noble varied with the prestige of the country he was posted to. Defining standards emerged for ambassadors, requiring that they have large residences, host lavish parties, and play an important role in the court life of the host nation. In Rome, the most important post for Catholic ambassadors, the French and Spanish representatives sometimes maintained a retinue of up to a hundred people. Even in smaller posts, ambassadors could be very expensive. Smaller states would send and receive envoys who were one level below an ambassador.

Ambassadors from each state were ranked by complex codes of precedence that were much disputed. States were normally ranked by the title of the sovereign for Catholic nations the emissary from the Vatican was paramount, then those from the kingdoms, then those from duchies and principalities. Representatives from republics were considered the lowest envoys.

Ambassadors at that time were nobles with little foreign or diplomatic experience and needed to be supported by a large embassy staff. These professionals were sent on longer assignments and were far more knowledgeable about the host country. Embassy staff consisted of a wide range of employees, including some dedicated to espionage. The need for skilled individuals to staff embassies was met by the graduates of universities, and this led to an increase in the study of international law, modern languages, and history at universities throughout Europe.

At the same time, permanent foreign ministries were established in almost all European states to coordinate embassies and their staffs. These ministries were still far from their modern form. Many had extraneous internal responsibilities. Britain had two departments with frequently overlapping powers until 1782. These early foreign ministries were also much smaller. France, which boasted the largest foreign affairs department, had only 70 full-time employees in the 1780s.

The elements of modern diplomacy slowly spread to Eastern Europe and arrived in Russia by the early eighteenth century. The entire system was greatly disrupted by the French Revolution and the subsequent years of warfare. The revolution would see commoners take over the diplomacy of the French state, and of those conquered by revolutionary armies. Ranks of precedence were abolished. Napoleon also refused to acknowledge diplomatic immunity, imprisoning several British diplomats accused of scheming against France. He had no patience for the often slow moving process of formal diplomacy.

Consular Presence

U.S. Consul Appointed to Morocco, 1797 .

James Simpson was appointed the first U.S. consul, and arrived on December 7, 1797, at Tangier to assume his duties and establish the U.S. consulate. Simpson served for over twenty years, until his death on March 8, 1820. In 1821, as a gift to the United States, Sultan Mawlay Suleiman gave a building for the consulate’s use, which was the first property abroad owned by the United States. The building is now the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM).

  • Tangier (Tanger, Tangiers ) earliest date March 31, 1791, closed early 1989. Tangier, which had been an international city (but still technically part of Morocco) was fully integrated into Morocco on October 29, 1956.
  • Essaouira (Mogador) earliest date February, 7, 1817, latest open date December 15, 1920
  • Larache and Asilah (Laraish, Laraiche, Al-Araish, El-Araish/ Arsila, Arsila, Arseila, Arzila) earliest date: May 11, 1852 latest date: September 25, 1896
  • Tétouan (Tetuan) earliest date: May 11, 1852 latest date: June 14, 1896
  • Casablanca (Casa Blanca, Dar El-Beïda, Anfa) earliest date: May 13, 1878 latest date: Present (as of August 25, 2008)
  • Rabat (Ribāt, Salé, Sali, Sallee) earliest date: June 25, 1881. Became Embassy June 11, 1956. latest date: Present
  • Safi (Saffi) earliest date: June 25, 1881 latest date: November 19, 1890
  • El Jadida (Mazagan, Magazan) earliest date: July 28, 1882 latest date: November 5, 1896

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the American Legation at Tangier, 1905 .

Diplomatic relations were established on March 8, 1905, when the American consulate at Tangier was elevated to the status of a legation, and Samuel Gummere was named American Minister Plenipotentiary, with a letter of credence dated March 21. Gummere presented his credentials on September 29, 1906.

Who to Select for a Reference?

Character references of this variety should be written by someone who is close to the individual, someone who can provide direct examples and specific anecdotes to help support the argument for the requester’s moral character. A prime candidate would be a neighbor, a family member, a friend, an employer, or a member of their church. In this case, the more of an emotional impact the individual in question has had on the life of the writer, and vice versa, the better. For those being detained and facing removal from the country, a reference from their children (if applicable) often provides the strongest case.

Nineteenth Century

1810s: The Opium Trade Began

British merchants, seeking a commodity to trade for Chinese goods, began to smuggle Indian opium into China. Seeing that this raised the profit margins of the British, most American firms followed suit, although most obtained their opium from Persia, rather than India.

1821: The Terranova Affair

A Chinese woman selling items to an American ship was killed when a sailor on the American vessel threw a pitcher overboard that struck her, knocking her out of her small boat into the water, where she drowned. Local authorities demanded that the guilty party be surrendered for trial and punishment, but at first the ship’s captain and other merchants refused to comply. However, when it became clear that their resistance was damaging trade, the Americans relented and offered up an Italian crewman named Terranova. Soon thereafter, Terranova was executed, and trade resumed.

1830: First American Protestant Missionaries Arrived in China

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, one of the earliest missionary organizations of the United States, sent the first two American missionaries to China, the Reverends Elijah Bridgman and David Abeel. They reached Guangzhou in February of 1830. Bridgman was one of the first Americans to undertake the study of China’s history and culture, and also wrote a Chinese language history of the United States.

1834: British East India Company Disbanded

For some time this company had held a near monopoly on the China trade and had served as the main contact point between all foreigners and Chinese officials. When it lost its charter and dissolved in 1834, the trade at Guangzhou opened up to more private traders. This destabilized trade relations over the next few years, but American merchants benefited from the company’s demise.

1835: First American Clinic Established

In 1834, Dr. Peter Parker arrived at Guangzhou as America’s pioneer medical missionary. After spending some time in Singapore studying language, he returned to Guangzhou and on November 4, 1835, established a small dispensary in the foreign quarter. He began treating so many Chinese patients, the majority of them for eye ailments, that he expanded the dispensary into an Ophthalmic Hospital, which later expanded again to become the Guangzhou Hospital.

1839: First Major Chinese Exhibition Opens In United States

After spending 12 years in the China trade, Philadelphia merchant Nathan Dunn returned from China with an enormous collection of art, artifacts, botanical samples, and other items. In 1839 he put them on display in his native city in a “Chinese Museum” that was designed to present the items in as natural a manner as possible, so as to give visitors a picture of life in China. Over 100,000 people visited the exhibit before he moved it to London in 1841.

1839: Outbreak of the First Opium War

In 1838 the Chinese Emperor sent Commissioner Lin Zexu to Guangzhou, with a goal to stamp out the opium trade. Lin demanded that the British merchants surrender their supplies of opium for destruction, and after an initial refusal they agreed to do so, after which they left Guangzhou for Macao. The following year, the dispute over these actions exploded into war. While the British traders were temporarily absent from Guangzhou, Americans did exceptionally good business, some of it on contract for the British.

1842: Signing of the Treaty of Nanjing (Nanking)

After several years of conflict, British forces emerged victorious and negotiated with the Qing Government to sign the Treaty of Nanjing. This treaty ended the existing system of trade through officially licensed merchants, opened four new treaty ports to trade (including Shanghai), granted most favored nation status to Britain, and provided the basis for the expansion of trade. It served as the model for subsequent treaties between China and other Western nations.

1844: Signing of the Treaty of Wangxia (Wang-hsia/Wang-hiya)

In 1843, Secretary of State Daniel Webster sent Caleb Cushing to China as Minister Plenipotentiary to negotiate a treaty with the Qing. Cushing hoped to journey to Beijing to conduct these negotiations, but the Qing refused to grant an imperial audience, which delayed the negotiations. He thus spent several months waiting in Macao for permission to travel to Beijing before finally giving up on that hope. Once he did so, the Qing negotiator, Qi Ying, quickly agreed to all the American terms (which were mostly the same as the British) and the two countries signed a treaty. The terms included extraterritoriality for U.S. citizens in China, most favored nation status, and a guarantee for treaty revision in twelve years. This marked the beginning of official diplomatic relations between the United States and China.

1847: The Coolie Trade Began in the New World

The first ship carrying Chinese laborers, known as “coolies,” arrived in Cuba with workers for the sugar plantations. Soon thereafter, coolie traders began to dock at U.S. ports, prompting the U.S. Congress to pass a law prohibiting U.S. citizens from engaging in the trade and guaranteeing the freedom of all Chinese laborers who came to the United States. After the California Gold Rush broke out in 1849, more and more Chinese laborers arrived to work in mines, on railroads, and in other mostly menial tasks. Over 100,000 Chinese came to the United States within the first 20 years.

1850-1864: Taiping Rebellion in China

A man named Hong Xiuquan, who had briefly studied with an American missionary in Guangzhou, launched a massive rebel movement in Southeastern China. Within a few years, the Taiping rebels marched north to Nanjing and almost completely separated Northern from Southern China for a decade, causing extreme destruction and loss of life. The Qing ultimately managed to suppress the rebellion, thanks in part to the assistance of American soldier-of-fortune Frederick Townsend Ward and other foreigners, but the dynasty never fully recovered.

1858: Treaties of Tianjin (Tientsin) Signed

Under the threat of an attack on Beijing from British and French forces, the Qing court agreed to sign new treaties with several foreign powers, including the United States. These new treaties opened more treaty ports to foreign trade and settlement, granted additional trading privileges to foreign merchants, legalized the opium trade, gave missionaries the right to proselytize throughout inland China, and allowed the establishment of permanent diplomatic legations in Beijing.

1860: Treaties of Tianjin Enforced

Frustrated with Qing delays in the implementation of the Treaties of Tianjin, British and French forces marched on Beijing and destroyed the Summer Palace on the city’s outskirts. In this way, Britain and France forced the Qing to carry out its obligations under the recently signed treaties, and gained a few new privileges, which the United States acquired under the terms of most favored nation status.

1862: First U.S. Legation Established in China

For two decades the chief U.S. representative in China had resided in either Guangzhou or Shanghai (along with all of the other foreign ministers), but after the implementation of the Treaties of Tianjin foreign legations were finally set up in the capital. Anson Burlingame became the first U.S. minister to reside in Beijing, establishing his post in the legation quarter close to the Forbidden City.

1868: The First Chinese Mission Abroad

In 1867 the Qing decided to send China’s first diplomatic mission to the Western nations in order to renegotiate its treaties, and asked U.S. envoy Anson Burlingame to head the mission. With permission from the U.S. Government, Burlingame resigned his post and led two Qing officials to the United States and Europe. Burlingame negotiated and signed a new treaty with U.S. Secretary of State William Seward that allowed for mostly unrestricted Chinese migration to the United States, among other stipulations. However, the agreements Burlingame reached were never fully implemented. He died in Russia before the mission ended, leaving the Qing officials to complete it on their own.

1872: First Official Delegation of Chinese Students Came to United States

Yung Wing (Rong Hong), a naturalized U.S. citizen who received a degree from Yale University in 1854, formed the Chinese Education Mission (CEM) in 1870 with approval and support from the Government of China. The program hoped to train Chinese to work as diplomats and technical advisors to the government. He brought a group of 30 students, all teenaged males, from China to the United States for a comprehensive American education and to live with American families. The Qing ended the program in 1881, due to rising anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States, fears that the students were becoming too Americanized, and frustration that they were not being granted the promised access to U.S. military academies. Before the program ended, about 120 students took part, and some chose not to return to China.

1875: First Restrictions Placed on Chinese Immigration

The U.S. Congress passed the Page Act, which barred entry for Chinese coolie laborers and women brought in for prostitution. This law contradicted the treaty of 1868, but it was merely the first in a series of increasingly restrictive acts on the part of the United States

1878: First Chinese Legation Established in the United States

China finally established a diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., with Chen Lanping appointed as the chief of mission. This marked the beginning of full bilateral ties between the United States and China. Chen had been appointed in 1875, but did not establish the post until 1878. During these three years, Yung Wing served as acting chief of mission while also running the Chinese Educational Mission.

1882: Chinese Exclusion Act Passed

After more than a decade of anti-Chinese lobbying, mostly from the West Coast, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, and it was signed by President Chester A. Arthur. The Act suspended Chinese immigration to the United States for ten years, which violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the 1868 treaty. In recent years several attempts had been made to pass a similar bill, but prior Presidents had vetoed them because they had contravened the existing agreements with China. This marked the beginning of some sixty years of exclusion.

1885: Anti-Chinese Violence Broke Out

A mob of white residents of Rock Springs, Wyoming, launched a vicious attack on Chinese miners in the area on September 2, 1885, killing 28 and destroying their property. This sparked a wave of similar assaults in other parts of the American West over the next several years.

1888: Additional Exclusionary Measures Instituted

Early in 1888, the United States and China signed the Bayard-Zhang Treaty, by which the Qing agreed to prohibit all new Chinese migration for 20 years and limited the classes of Chinese who could return to the United States after a trip home. The agreement did not violate the Burlingame Treaty of 1868 because the United States did not institute the prohibitions, but it drew opposition from the Chinese populace. However, before the treaty was ratified, Congress passed the Scott Act, which canceled the right of return for Chinese residents who left the United States for any reason. Chinese in the United States challenged the Act as being unconstitutional because it contravened prior treaties, but with no success. The California Circuit Court ruled that Congress could modify any treaty at any time, and the Supreme Court found that, although the Scott Act did contravene the treaties, control over immigration was a sovereign right and thus Congress had the authority to act as it saw fit regardless of any international agreements. This position stood in stark contrast to the U.S. insistence on extraterritorial rights and trading privileges in China that had been enshrined in prior treaties.

1892: Geary Act Passed

This Act extended the Chinese Exclusion Act’s prohibition on Chinese immigration for another ten years (until 1902), and required all Chinese and Chinese descendents in the United States to carry residence permits or face deportation. It stripped Chinese in the United States of additional legal rights.

1894-95: First Sino-Japanese War

Japanese and Chinese forces clashed over influence in Korea, and Japan emerged with a stunning victory. As part of the settlement, Japan took control of Taiwan and established colonial rule over the island, and also gained several new privileges in China including the right to build factories. The United States gained this right as well, through the most favored nation principle, but at the same time it lost its rights in Taiwan and soon had greater competition from Japan in Southeast China.

1898: Hundred Days Reform Movement

A group of reform-minded Chinese literati became concerned that China was in danger of collapsing if it did not institute a range of modern reforms to the government and educational system. They joined with the Guangxu Emperor in an effort to bring about change, but conservatives within the imperial court, including the Empress Dowager Ci Xi, opposed these measures. They seized the Emperor and placed him under house arrest and arrested and executed several literati while others fled into exile. There was no immediate impact on U.S.-China relations, but the triumph of conservatives in China made treaty revision much less likely in the near future.

1899-1900: The Open Door Notes

In September 1899 and July 1900, Secretary of State John Hay issued the two Open Door Notes to all foreign powers with interests in China. The United States had become concerned over recent developments in China, where many foreign powers had claimed exclusive spheres of influence. Fearful that the long-standing free trade system in China would be compromised and that a weakening China might be carved up like Africa had been, Hay acted to defend U.S. interests in the area. The Notes aimed to preserve both the existing system of trade, with equal opportunity for all foreign powers, and to maintain China’s territorial integrity so that no foreign power would have an advantage. This was the first clear and official statement of U.S. China policy.

Naturalization Requirements Today

Today's general naturalization requirements state that you must have 5 years as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. prior to filing, with no single absence from the U.S. of more than 1 year. In addition, you must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the previous 5 years and resided within a state or district for at least 3 months.

It is important to note that there are exceptions to the 5-year rule for certain people. These include: spouses of U.S. citizens employees of the U.S. Government (including the U.S. Armed Forces) American research institutes recognized by the Attorney General recognized U.S. religious organizations U.S. research institutions an American firm engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the U.S. and certain public international organizations involving the U.S.

USCIS has special help available for naturalization candidates with disabilities and the government makes some exceptions on requirements for elderly people.

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Japan

U.S. Immigration law assumes that a person admitted to the United States as an immigrant will live in the United States permanently. Remaining outside the United States for more than 12 months may result in a loss of lawful permanent resident status.

U.S. Government personnel (military and direct-hire civil service employees), their spouses and minor children who hold lawful resident status of the United States may remain outside of the United States for the duration of an official overseas assignment plus four months without losing their resident status. Exceptions for family members of military service members.

All other immigrants who hold permanent resident status and reside outside of the United States for more than 12 months without prior approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must obtain a new immigrant visa to return to the United States. Prior approval from USCIS consists of a re-entry permit which can only be applied for in the United States. The holder of a USCIS re-entry permit may remain outside of the United States during validity period of re-entry permit normally up to 24 months. For more details on applying for a reentry permit please visit the USCIS website.

A former immigrant who has lost permanent resident status and desires to return to the United States as an immigrant must obtain a new immigrant visa based on either an approved immigrant petition or returning resident status. A U.S. relative (spouse, parent, offspring or sibling) or U.S. employer may file an immigrant petition on behalf of the former immigrant in the normal manner. Information on the various types of immigrant and employment based petitions are contained elsewhere in this website.

The second way is for the immigrant to apply for returning resident status. An application for returning resident status requires evidence of the applicant’s continuing, unbroken ties to the United States, that the stay outside the United States was truly beyond the applicant’s control and that the intent of the applicant was to always return to the United States. Evidence may consist of continuous compliance with U.S. tax law, ownership of property and assets in the United States and maintenance of U.S. licenses and memberships. Having U.S. relatives, attending school overseas or stating an intent to return is generally insufficient.

To apply for returning resident status, see Returning Resident Visas Checklist.

Expired/Expiring Green Card
If you are outside the United States and your green card will expire within six months (but you will return within one year of your departure from the United States and before the card expires), you should file for your renewal card as soon as you return to the United States.

If you have one of the following items, a boarding foil is not required:

  1. An expired Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date
  2. An expired Permanent Resident Card (with a two-year validity), and a Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended
    If you have an expired Green Card with a 2-year expiration date AND a Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that they have filed a Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status, the Form I-797 extends the validity of the card for a specified length of time, generally one year.
  3. Orders from the U.S. government (civilian or military) showing that time outside the Unites States was on official government business.
  4. A valid Reentry Permit

These individuals should consult their air carrier prior to completion of an I-131A and payment of the fee.

RE-Entry Permit

If you plan to stay outside of the United States for more than one year but less than two years in duration, a re-entry permit is needed for readmission. You must be physically present in the United States when you file the application (Form I-131). A re-entry permit may be sent to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad for you to pick up, if you request it when you file your application. Departure from the Unites States before a decision is made on a re-entry permit application does not affect the application.

Generally, a re-entry permit is issued for two years from the date of issuance. However, a re-entry permit issued to a conditional resident shall be valid either for two years from the date of issuance or to until the date by which the conditional resident must apply for removal of the conditions on his or her status, whichever date comes first. There are other exceptions, please contact USCIS for details.

What changed under the new DHS public charge rule?

DHS dramatically expanded the definition of “public charge,” so that green card and other visa applicants would be denied not for being “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence” (the current standard) but instead for being “more likely than not” to use certain public benefits at any point in the future.

Under the final regulation, DHS created the following new criteria for denying a green card application from within the United States:

(1) Prior use of certain government benefits. Instead of limiting the definition of off-limits government benefits to welfare payments and subsidized long-term institutionalization, the policy expanded the definition to include a wider range of common government benefits:

  • All of the status quo benefits list above (SSI, TANF, general assistance, and long-term institutional care)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly knowns as “Food Stamps”
  • Section 8 housing and rental assistance
  • Federal housing subsidies
  • Nonemergency Medicaid benefits (with exceptions for children under 21, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and mothers within 60 days after giving birth)

A “public charge” denial would be triggered if someone received one or more of the above public benefits, for more than 12 months in aggregate within any 36-month period. Receipt of two benefits in one month counted as two months.

(DHS did not penalize applicants for use of these benefits by a spouse or child, in a departure from previously reported drafts.)

It’s important to note that DHS did not have the authority to make anybody ineligible for these benefits, which are administered by other federal agencies under various acts of Congress. DHS was, in effect, be penalizing visa applicants for using benefits they wwere allowed to take advantage of under existing law.

And it’s also important to understand that the great majority of people applying for green cards are not even eligible for the very benefits that the DHS public charge rule sought to penalize. Unfortunately, this rule created a “chilling effect” that scared many people into dis-enrolling from public benefits even though they didn’t need to.

(2) Likelihood of future use of government benefits. Although the following general criteria are defined by Congress, DHS greatly expanded the number of specific factors that immigration officers had to take into account when determining whether or not a visa applicant was likely to become a “public charge” at any point in the future.

  • Age: Applicants could be denied if they were younger than the minimum age for full-time employment (18), older than the minimum “early retirement age” for social security purposes (61), or otherwise at an age that impacted their “ability to work.”
  • Health: DHS scrutinized any medical condition and assessed whether this condition could affect the applicant’s ability to work.
  • Family size: Having more children or other dependents could increase the likelihood of a visa denial.
  • Skills: DHS determined whether an applicant had “adequate education and skills to either obtain or maintain employment” (if authorized to work), by looking at employment history, high school degree and higher education, “occupational skills, certifications, or licenses,” and proficiency in English or other languages.
  • Financial status: Above and beyond looking at an applicant’s income and assets (see below), DHS assessed credit history, credit score, and financial liabilities, plus whether the applicant had private health insurance or enough resources to cover “any reasonably foreseeable medical costs” that could interfere with work or study.

(3) Insufficient financial resources. Even if an applicant had never used government benefits in the past and met all of the above criteria to demonstrate low likelihood of using benefits in the future, they could still be blocked by an entirely new requirement: personal financial resources. DHS required a new form called the “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” (Form I-944) to accompany most applications for green cards. This form collected information intended to help immigration officers determine whether the applicant was a “public charge” under the new, more expansive criteria outlined above.

This new form is not to be confused with the “Affidavit of Support” (Form I-864), which Congress has mandated since 1996 to demonstrate the financial resources of the person sponsoring the applicant for a green card or other visa. Until now, immigration officers have typically given great deference to an Affidavit of Support showing that the sponsor has an income (or asset equivalent) of at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, since this is a statutory threshold indicating that the visa applicant will have sufficient financial resources to avoid becoming dependent on government benefits.

Under the new policy, however, DHS imposed similar financial requirements on the applicant, not just the sponsor. At a minimum, applicants had to demonstrate household income (or asset equivalent) of at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. But in addition, DHS set an entirely new and higher household income threshold at 250% of the poverty guidelines, establishing this much higher hurdle as a “heavily weighted positive factor.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The ACS unit provides information and assistance to U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Egypt.

For detailed description of our services, hours of service and links of useful resources, please visit our website at:

Most ACS services require an appointment. To schedule an appointment, please visit the Embassy’s website at:

I have a question about Visas?

The ACS unit is unable to provide information regarding U.S. visas and will not respond to messages regarding those issues.

For information regarding visas, please:

  • Call the GSS Call Center at: +20-2-3531-1460 or 16872 (from within Egypt) visit the embassy website at: or
  • Email: [email protected] for immigrant visas

My passport expired, what should I do to renew it?

To renew your passport, you must schedule an appointment in advance. You may schedule an appointment through the link:

Required at the time of the appointment:

Applicant must make an appointment to present him or herself at the American Citizen Services Office.

2. The Passport application [Form DS-82].

  • Ensure that it is properly filled out with your address (item number 6) and telephone number IN EGYPT (item number 7) and your social Security number.
  • Please sign the application.

3. The applicant’s last U.S. Passport and a copy of the first page.

5. The sum of $110.00 USD or equivalent in Egyptian pounds.

It takes approximately ten working days to receive your new passport.

My child’s passport expired, what should I do to renew it?

To renew your child’s passport, you must schedule an appointment in advance through the link:

At the time of the appointment, you need:

1. A Personal Appearance by the child.

2. The Passport application [DS-11]

  • Ensure it is properly filled out with your address (item number 6) and telephone number in Egypt (item number 7) and your social security number.
  • DO NOT sign the application.

3. The applicant’s last U.S. Passport and a copy of the first page.

4. The original U.S. birth certificate and a photocopy.

6. The sum of $115.00 USD or equivalent in Egyptian pounds.

7. Applicant parents’ photo IDs

  • Egyptian or U.S. passport, Egyptian national ID, Permanent Resident Card, or Driving License
  • Photocopies of these IDs

8. The applicant’s parents must make an appointment to appear at the ACS Office.

  • To authorize issuance, both parents should be present and give consent if one parent is absent, their consent is required to be verified.
  • If a parent is not present, that parent should submit a photocopy of their passport and a notarized statement of Consent [form DS-3053] with the application.
  • If the parents are divorced, the applying parent may submit a copy of the divorce certificate and a court order giving sole legal custody of the child.
  • If one of the parents is deceased, a copy of the death certificate is required.

It takes approximately ten working days to receive the new passport.

I lost my passport, how can get a replacement?

If you require an emergency passport due to a lost/or stolen passport AND have an urgent travel need contact the ACS section by email or phone. ACS staff will then instruct you to approach the ACS Office during working hours from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday and to take the steps listed below. If you do not have an urgent travel need follow the link to schedule a regular passport appointment.

1. Appear personally at the ACS Office.

2. Passport application [form DS-11]

  • Ensure that it is properly filled out with your address (item number 6), telephone number IN EGYPT (item number 7), and your social Security number.
  • DO NOT sign the application.

3. Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport [form DS-64] properly filled out.

4. A copy of an Egyptian police report with the details of the loss or theft of the passport.

5. Proof of U.S. citizenship (an original U.S. birth certificate or Certificate of Naturalization) and also a copy of it.

6. Additional original photo ID and a photocopy of it

8. The sum of $145.00 USD or equivalent in Egyptian Pounds.

9. A copy of the lost U.S. passport, if available.

Please note that you must present the police report to the Egyptian Immigration Office to replace the entry stamp onto your new passport. You should obtain this report from the police station closest to the area where the passport was lost or stolen.

How do I add visa pages to my valid U.S. passport?

The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. Previously, U.S. passport holders had the option to pay for the insertion of additional 24-page visa inserts when valid passports lacked adequate space for entry or exit visa stamps. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards.

To mitigate the impact on frequent travelers, the Department began issuing 52-page passports to all applicants outside the United States starting October 1, 2014 for no additional cost. Applicants within the United States may choose a 28-page or 52-page book.

If I’m a U.S. citizen, living in Egypt, and my child was born in Egypt, how can I transmit citizenship?

In order for a U.S. citizen parent to transmit citizenship to his/her child, the U.S. parent should apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). The CRBA is an official record of U.S. citizenship issued to a person under the age of 18 who was born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent(s) and acquired U.S citizenship at birth.

The U.S. parent is required to prove that that they have the sufficient physical presence in the United States prior the birth of the child. The required time of physical presence does not have to be consecutive and for naturalized U.S. citizens, this time could have been before or after naturalization.

The Department of State takes the physical presence legal requirement very seriously and the evidence submitted is closely examined. The required period of physical presence cannot be waived or reduced.

  • Some forms of evidence that may support sufficient physical presence are:
  • U.S. and foreign entry and exit stamps on old and current passports
  • Tax withholding statements (W2s) from time working in the United States
  • Academic credentials and school records (transcripts) from the United States
  • Social Security earning statements.

For additional information about CRBAs and the forms needed, please visit the Birth Abroad page.

What is the Child Citizenship Act of 2000?

The Child Citizenship ACT, effective February 27, 2001, provides for automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship and passport for children who have legal permanent resident status (green card holders) and who meet the following conditions:

  • One parent is an American citizen.
  • The child is under 18 years old.
  • The child traveled in the United States as a lawful permanent resident alien or on an immigrant visa in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent.
  • The child applicant must prove that they resided in the United States.
  • This entails analysis of both the character and duration of the stay.
  • A stay of three to six months might qualify as “residing in the United States” depending upon its character, and supporting evidence may be required.
  • A stay in excess of six months generally would qualify as “Residing in the United States”.

I’m a U.S. citizen, however, never applied for a Social Security Number how do I apply for one?

For any questions regarding applications for Social Security numbers please visit:

If after reviewing the Social Security Administration webpage and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Social Security Site you still have a question or would like to schedule a social-security related appointment please email the ACS section at [email protected] The ACS Unit will not answer phone calls related to social security questions.

How do I authenticate a U.S. birth certificate/U.S. marriage certificate/U.S. death certificate to be able to use it in Egypt?

In order for a document issued in the United States to be used in Egypt, it must be:

  • Notarized at a notary from the United States
  • Certified by the Egyptian Embassy/Consulate serving that state
  • Information on the Egyptian embassy and its consulates in the United States can be found at: Click here for a list of Egyptian Consulates in the United States.
  • Upon arriving in Egypt, this document will need to be authenticated by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before submitting any to any Egyptian authority for use in Egypt.
  • There several authentication offices in different places in Egypt.

If I studied in the United States and wish to authenticate my academic credentials for use in Egypt, what do I do?

The ACS Office cannot authenticate U.S. school records, educational certificates, degrees, or transcripts. Such documents must be authenticated either by an Egyptian embassy or consulate in the United States and then by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Egypt.

Those documents may be accredited by the AMIDEAST Office in Cairo. The AMIDEAST website is:

How do I authenticate my Egyptian documents for use in the United States?

The ACS Unit can authenticate Egyptian documents (excluding academic credentials and school records and certificates of experience) only if the documents are:

  • issued in English by the issuing ministry, and
  • authenticated by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • an Egyptian birth certificate can be issued in English by the Egyptian Ministry of Health, authenticated by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then finally by the ACS Office.
  • an Egyptian Marriage certificate can be translated by the Ministry of Justice, authenticated by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then by the ACS Unit.

Alternately, a private translator can translate any document into English (excluding academic credentials and school records and certificate of experience). The translator must schedule an appointment and appear in person at the ACS office to get his signature acknowledged. The ACS Unit can notarize the signature of private translators. For an appointment:

I am travelling to Egypt can you provide advice regarding the safety and security situation?

The decision to travel is a personal one and the decision should be taken in light of personal circumstances and the various worldwide and regional public announcements.

We always advise citizens to visit the State Department website at: to read general information about travel to Egypt, Safety and precautions. The Department of State issues a Consular Information Sheet for each country of the world. The Consular Information Sheet provides the American citizen with useful information about the country in regards to entry visa requirements, currency used, health facilities, safety and security, location of the American embassy and consulate, etc.

We highly recommend that all U.S. citizens sign up with State Department “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)” available through the link:

I am coming to Egypt to marry my fiancé what are the requirements?

The U.S. government imposes no requirements on American citizens wishing to marry in Egypt. However, the Egyptian government asks American citizens intending to marry in Egypt to obtain an affidavit from the ACS Office of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that states there is nothing preventing the American citizen from marrying in Egypt. To obtain this affidavit, the American citizen must make a notarial appointment online and come in person to the ACS Office.

The affidavit can be completed on the same day as the appointment and costs $50.00.

Please note demand for notarial services is high and notarial services are not generally considered for emergency appointments. Please schedule your notarial appointment early and plan travel and other arrangements accordingly.Please see the marriage in Egypt section of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt website for additional information.

How do I obtain a driver’s license in Egypt?

Unless the U.S. citizen has an Egyptian resident visa, the citizen cannot apply for an Egyptian driver license. Among the requirements is an Affidavit, signed by the citizen and notarized by the ACS Office, including his name, passport number and address in Egypt.

1. The U.S. citizen should schedule an appointment for a notarial.

2. Make a personal appearance.

3. Pay the sum of $50.00 USD or equivalent in Egyptian pounds.

4. Present his/her current U.S. passport.

The Affidavit is required to be in both English and Arabic. Please note that international driver’s licenses are only issued at the country of origin.

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