For the past few weeks, Mr. Crab has been enrolled in Consular Training course, affectionally known as ConGen (Consular General). All Foreign Service Officers, regardless of "cone," must serve a Consular tour in one of their first two tours. But unlike most of my classmates, I am actually a consular-coned officer.
The six-week ConGen course introduces officers to U.S. immigration law. In fact the course seems more like a law course, sprinkled with lecture hall, study hall, computer application courses and more. FSI even has a mock jail and embassy consulate section where students practice their tradecraft. Students focus on topics such as Non-Immigrant Visas (NIV), Immigrant Visas (IV), and American Citizen Services (ACS). There is a test every week, which students MUST pass in order to pass the course.
In the middle of ConGen, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. Suddenly, much of what we learned in the first half of ConGen changed -- for the better. It's an exciting time to be working Consular Affairs!
Incidentally, Mrs. Crab took ConGen in December & January as an EFM (Eligible Family Member)! Yes, spouses can take ConGen, so they will be eligible to find employment overseas in roles such as Consular Associates or Consular Assistants.
Also in case you're wondering, the photo at the top of the page is the official flag of the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. It's the only bureau within in the DOS that has it's own flag!
Apart from ConGen, we are busy sorting through our belongings, and getting our house ready for our new tenants. We pack out this weekend. More on that later!
We leave you with this, a consular section video from U.S. Embassy San Jose, Costa Rica: