Registering with the local U.S. consulate is a task every expatriate should do. I have been thinking and forgetting to do so for months now. It came to mind last night and I made a point to pull up the U.S. State Dept. website and complete their information request on behalf of myself and my partner, Eric. Visit the website if you haven't. There are several legitimate reasons to shout out to your government where beyond the U.S. border you are traveling or residing and for what duration.
All of this had me thinking about the protections granted the citizens of Rome when traveling. Apparently one needed only to announce that they were a Roman citizen when traveling to guarantee their own safety. No one dare cause a citizen of the Empire (Republic?) harm least a legion of Roman soldiers arrive to raze the hamlet or teach proper respect to the offending kingdom. Or so the story goes.
While not expecting an army sent to defend me or inflict punitive damages on those who dare to offend, the consulate is indeed there to help with unexpected and possibly serious concerns. They have even listed on the website the most commonly presented expat life challenges recognized as their usual day at the office.
So if you are an expat and haven't yet introduced yourself to your local consulate, consider doing so. Once you have completed the original series of information requests, there will be a box at the bottom which reads "add a foreign address" or something like that. If you are living outside the U.S. this would be the place to state where and for how long. One person can do this for all fellow travelers and/or relatives residing with them. Detailed passport information will be required.
Relationship status information is done by way of pull-down boxes. They need to be updated as four states now allow same-gender marriage. While the U.S. federal government may not, as yet, recognize such marriages, I invite anyone concerned, straight or gay, to use the "comment" sections provided to question the state department's lack of comprehensive relationship categories.