The objective of this outline is to produce a working model from which a certification program will be established to enable notary members of the NNA to facilitate and promote identity verification processes provided by the Consular Chamber of Commerce and Identify.nu.
The principals of the Consular Chamber believe that the exclusive ability of NNA member notaries public to facilitate the proprietary and unprecedented identity and document verification services provided hereby will serve to bring substantial value to the NNA membership.
Consuls and Their Function
Passports and Passport Cards
The Hague Apostille and its Acceptance
The Consular Chamber of Commerce
Identity Fraud and Identification Abuse
The Identify.nu Solution
Identify.nu & Consular Chamber of Commerce Affiliation
Certified Consular Notary Affiliation and Duties
Certified Consular Notary Opportunity
Consular Emissary Opportunity
SECTION 1: CONSULS AND THEIR FUNCTION
Consuls are government representatives assigned to diplomatic posts in foreign countries, and are recognized diplomats. Each consul represents his or her government (the “sending country”) in a foreign land (the “host country”). A consul of Mexico in Los Angeles, for example, would be a government official of the country of Mexico, authorized to carry out specific duties on behalf of the Mexican government in the U.S. There are many thousands of consuls, residing in virtually every country in the world, representing their sending country’s interests in the host country.
Consuls operate from official offices called consulates. Consulates are part of the diplomatic foreign mission of the sending country, and are officially recognized by the receiving country as diplomatic in nature, and exempt from certain laws in the receiving country. You may have seen such things as consular license plates, flags or residences. These are used with specific permission of the receiving country in its recognition of the foreign mission of the sending country. Various immunities, exemptions and special treatments are designed to enable the consul to expeditiously carry out the duties required by both the sending and receiving countries, and in recognition of the importance of international business and diplomatic relations by most nations.
Larger consulates are headed by a Consul General. A Consul general typically reports directly to his or her ministry of foreign affairs, and their embassy in the receiving country. In the U.S, embassies are typically in Washington, D.C. Diplomatic duties carried out by consuls and consuls general are typically delegated by their embassies or ministries of foreign relations. Such duties may include such tasks as hosting the head of state, ambassador, business magnates or other dignitaries of the sending country when they are visiting the area of the consulate. These visits often involve a close working relationship between the consul and local government officials, as well as U.S. government officials such as the Secret Service.
Consuls advocate for their citizens located in the host country, including specific duties and privileges when criminal charges are brought against the citizenry of the consulate in the host country. In such events, consuls have a right to visit incarcerated nationals to be sure they have received legal representation, among other things.
Consulates may be very large, with hundreds of employees, or very small, with only the consul working from a small office, depending on the size of the sending country’s population in the area of the consulate, and depending on the budget of the sending country.
Most countries have diplomatic relations with each other. Those which do not have diplomatic relations do not send foreign missions to one another.
SECTION 2: CONSULAR ID AND DOCUMENT LEGALIZATION
One of the primary functions of consulates which serve larger populations of their citizens is Identification. The Consular ID is sometimes the only form of local identification available to a person in a country where he or she does not have permanent residence.
Validity of consular ID is provided for by international treaty such as the Vienna Conventions on Consular Relations, to which most developed countries subscribe.
Not all consulates issue consular ID. Some retain only intra-office ID documentation, so that they may re-issue the sending country ID (such as a passport) when a citizen in the host country is in need of identity documentation.
Another major function of Consulates is to provide sending country legalization of documents in the host country. A consul of France in Chicago, for example, may assist a French national visiting Chicago, who needs to legalize paperwork for the sale of a property back in France. Foreign legalization (notarization) is required in hundreds of thousands of such cases in the U.S. each year. These legalizations are a major part of the daily operations of a typical consulate.
SECTION 3: PASSPORTS AND PASSPORT CARDS
Passports are the standard of identity documentation in every country in the world except the USA. Issued according to international treaty and recognized throughout the world, the passport is your government’s confirmation that you are who you say you are, and that you are in fact a citizen of the issuing country.
In all countries but the USA, passports are necessary to obtain utility services, driver licenses and privileged licenses, as well as to transact banking services, travel by air, or travel internationally by any means. Every country has the capability to process passport identification, and every country issues passports in like format. It is and has been the standard for international identification and travel for centuries.
Despite its reluctance in recent years to utilize the passport for ID purposes, the U.S. has the most advanced passport and passport derivative ID in the world. Each U.S. passport issued since 2008 contains an RFID chip which can be scanned when the passport is open, at short distances. The U.S. has provided countries the world over with the ability to scan its passports at ports of entry, providing the data to the Department of Homeland Security.
While no form of ID is completely foolproof, screening by the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, as well as the design of the actual document itself, make the U.S. passport by far the most reliable form of identification.
Despite its strong reliability, your passport contains little for an identity thief to utilize. Passport numbers are not used for credit purposes, and neither your mailing nor home address is included in the printed document. In fact, your name, photo and birth date are the only items of what would typically be considered personally identifiable information.
Recently, the Department of Customs and Border Control within the Department of Homeland Security developed the Passport Card. This is simply an ID-sized card, issued by the United States of America, containing your photo, name, passport number, birth date, issue date and date of expiration. The card also contains an RFID chip which can be read at relatively short distance.
The passport card is a federal ID which, unlike other forms of ID, provides little for an identity thief to utilize. Tougher to fake than a state-issued drivers license, it provides first rate confirmation of your identity and citizenship, as well as passport capability for Americans traveling by land or sea to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean Islands.
SECTION 4: THE HAGUE APOSTILLE AND ITS ACCEPTANCE
As many NNA members are already aware, the Hague Apostille has become the standard in international document authentication.
The Hague is an international court located in the Netherlands, Europe. The Hague Apostille was developed when various countries decided to speed up and simplify the process of legalizing their documents around the world. What they came up with on October 5, 1961 is called the Hague Apostille.
The Hague Apostille is an officially recognized legalization in much of the world, including China, India, Russia, Mexico, all of Europe and most of Central America, the USA and other countries and regions. A map of ratifying countries can be found at http://countries.consul.cc
Even among non-ratifying countries which do not officially recognize the Hague Apostille as being as valid as their own legalizations, many will honor the Hague Apostille for many types of transactions.
The NNA has long been the US leader in development of the Hague Apostille as a standard in document authentication in the US, and is the driving force behind the digitization of the Hague Apostille.
SECTION 5: HONORARY CONSULS
Like their counterparts the standard consuls and consuls general (often referred to as “career consuls”), the honorary consul is an official of the sending country. Unlike regular consuls however, the honorary consul is not a government employee of the sending state, and therefore does not change posts based on changes of administration in the sending country.
Honorary consuls are generally dignitaries or persons of position in business and society in the receiving state, while having some connection to the sending state. Honorary consuls are not necessarily citizens of the sending states; rather, they are recognized by the sending states as persons of influence, capable of furthering the objectives of the sending state in the receiving state.
Honorary consuls may represent large and densely populated counties, or, as is often the case, small countries in the developing world which seek to promote business diplomacy. As big business often seeks to establish itself in the developing world, honorary consuls are often chosen for their acumen in such environs.
Most honorary consuls are people of means or independent wealth who do not receive monetary compensation for their service as consul. They may have other business interests. Many hold the title for life. Such long term establishment of official representation is invaluable to the sending state. Honorary consuls are often called upon to provide back channel information or communications, diplomatic advance team logistics, local reputation perceptions and government relations. Many come from previous careers in trade, business or elected office.
Honorary consuls are unique in that they are officials of both the sending state and the host state. Honorary consuls in the U.S. are confirmed by the State Department and issued a State Department Consular ID. They are provided many of the immunities of standard consular position. Most honorary consuls are appointed by the president of their sending state, rather than the minister of foreign relations as is the case with standard consuls. Effective standard consuls will often call upon honorary consuls to familiarize and introduce the standard consul within an area where the honorary consul resides.
Many honorary consuls have the same capabilities as standard consuls regarding identification and document legalization. This capability is referred to in the honorary consular community as “powers”. Those with powers legalize documents and provide identification (passport) assistance to the citizens of the sending countries. Honorary consuls without powers will often refer such needs to the nearest consul general of their sending state, or will help citizens obtain Hague apostilles when appropriate.
In cases when a developing or small country does not have the budget to maintain an embassy in a given country, they may establish an honorary consul instead. In such cases, the honorary consul fulfills the duties otherwise assigned to ambassadors or consuls general. Such individuals usually hold the title of Honorary Consul General.
SECTION 6: CONSULAR ORGANIZATIONS
Consuls of various countries will often organize themselves into a corps or society within their metropolitan areas. Such organizations are designed to enable and enhance international relations within the local community. Most corps and societies include both honorary and standard consuls.
In the U.S, the Consular Corps College (www.consular-corps-college.org) helps to educate honorary and career consuls on the procedures consular endeavors and documentation within the U.S.
Globally, the World Federation of Consuls NGO (www.ficacworld.org) is a federation of consular corps founded in 1982. This international group works to build the use and public recognition of the honorary consul around the world.
In 2007, the Consular Chamber of Commerce (www.consul.cc) was formed to enhance world wide consular accessibility, ease identity and document authentication, and to promote international business and good will. The Consular Chamber of Commerce forms local consul chapters within the US and other countries. These chapters themselves are often members of the World Federation of Consuls and the Consular Corps College.
SECTION 7: THE CONSULAR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
WHO WE ARE
The Consular Chamber of Commerce is a global, non-political, not-for-profit organization incorporated in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2007. We have over 1100 diplomatic members directly, and another 3000 diplomatic members by extension of our own organizational memberships. Our corporate, data management and financial structure spans three continents. The Consular Chamber has only just begun opening its membership to businesses and affiliates (individual businesspeople).
To establish, standardize, maintain and promote a global community of honorary consuls, in organized support of international fair trade, business initiatives and cultural awareness;
To establish, standardize, maintain and promote a global community of consular emissaries who advocate for the honorary consuls and their status according to the Vienna Conventions and protocols;
To implement and promote standards of practice and technology in identity verification, reputation assessment and transparency, for facilitation of less encumbered and more transparent transaction of business across international borders, and across cultures.
To promote secular education, which welcomes all religions and races, in areas where education is most lacking.
To promote gender equality in all dealings, in all regions.
To celebrate and promote cultural appreciation and diversity in all dealings.
To elevate the subject of global business diplomacy in business, diplomatic and academic circles.
To elevate the Consular Chamber of Commerce mission wherever the subject of global business diplomacy is spoken.
To establish, standardize, maintain and promote a global community of businesses which strive to adhere to this mission statement in their dealings.
The Consular Chamber of Commerce website hosts its online communities and data access for membership at www.consul.cc. We do not accept any form of advertising on any part of the website.
WHY THE CONSULAR CHAMBER? KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
When doing business across international borders, especially in the developing world, the challenge, naturally, is knowing your customer. Are they who they say they are? Do they have the relationships the claim to have? Are they as capable as they say? The Consular Chamber of Commerce utilizes trusted diplomats - honorary consuls, on the ground in locations the world over, to verify these criteria. Because of our unprecedented and unmatched ability to document identity and reputation, we are the premier means of ensuring that you know who you are dealing with.
WHY HONORARY CONSULS?
Honorary Consuls are the front line of early and back channel diplomacy, international business promotion and on-the-ground diplomatic advance teams. Honorary Consuls are usually appointed by the head of state of the country they represent, are officials of both the sending country which they represent, and the receiving country in which they live. They are not government employees and, unlike career consuls, are not tied to a single administration and bound to change posts. Honorary consuls therefore are the 'go-to' people for the countries they represent, when infiltrating the market where the honorary consul lives.
The Consular Chamber of Commerce is the only institution combining the talents of thousands of honorary consuls, representing countries from all over the globe, living in every corner of the earth, in your firm's market penetration or market improvement. Please click the link below for more benefits of membership.
In Las Vegas, the Consular Chamber has hosted visiting dignitaries including Ambassadors, Heads of State and business magnates. The Consular Chamber is the sponsor of Dine with Dignitaries, where our members dine privately with such visitors. We also developed and funded the Royal African Ball to benefit secular school development in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2006, scheduled again for the fall of 2010 with hundreds already committed.
The Consular Chamber of Commerce Las Vegas Chapter was the first consular organization from North America to obtain member status in the World Federation of Consuls, a U.N.-recognized Brussels NGO (www.ficac-world.org) which supports honorary consuls around the world. Our officers have had observer status with the World Federation's Board of Directors for 4 years on 6 continents. The Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Consular Chamber is also the North American Membership Chairperson for the World Federation of Consuls in Brussels. At the meeting of the World Federation in Monte Carlo in February, 2009, 7 delegates from the Consular Chamber Las Vegas Chapter were in attendance, injecting our business interests directly into desired markets by one-to-one contact with the key facilitators in the many countries represented.
SECTION 8: IDENTITY FRAUD AND IDENTIFICATION ABUSE
By now, all notaries should be intimately familiar with identity theft, the most common crime in the U.S. and still fastest growing.
Identity theft is most often referred to regarding the practice of fraudulently obtaining credit in the name of someone else. Other, lesser known identity theft practices include health care identity theft, address theft, corporate officer falsification and drivers license assumptions. Perpetrators will run up medical bills on your health insurance, list you as officer of a corporation which commits crimes, and more. The tales of woe abound.
Most identity theft stems from identification abuse. This takes place when identification is required of consumers in unwarranted and insecure environs. The cashier who holds your credit card and asks for your ID, for example, is the primary perpetrator of theft of the very information you are handing them.
Identification abuse examples include:
a) Cashier ID checking
b) Social Security number use in ID
c) Drivers License use as ID other than for driving
d) Careless faxing or unsecured digital transfer of ID
e) Requirements of home addresses on ID
Falsifying identification when transacting long distance or international business has been very easy to do. This has seriously impeded the ability of business in the developed world from dealing in lesser developed countries.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States, which guarantees payments by foreign buyers of US exports, has in recent years successfully prosecuted hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud cases, perpetrated in the US and abroad, largely involving identity falsification. Many other institutions have similar stories.
SECTION 9: PRIVACY VIOLATIONS
Privacy violations are serious. In the U.S, most such violations by commercial entities constitute FTC violations, with stiff penalties available to the harmed parties.
The Chief Information Officer of the Consular Chamber of Commerce is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPPS, www.privacyassociation.org). We go to great lengths to protect privacy of our members.
In general, a privacy violation occurs whenever any of a person’s personally identifiable information, such as name, address, birth date, photo, social security number, etc. is provided to someone else, without the consent of the person identified. Such instances may be much more common than you think.
Circumstances provide for ample opportunity for privacy violations and identity abuse whenever a person seeks to transact business long distance or across state or international borders. The lack of a standard tends to cause the request for unnecessary documents, and an inability to verify what documents are received.
These are the reasons the Identify.nu identity authentication standard was implemented.
SECTION 10: THE IDENTIFY.NU SOLUTION
Identify.nu utilizes the consular members of the Consular Chamber of Commerce to verify the identification of Chamber members.
Each member provides to a certified confirmed member consul a copy of the member’s passport which has been notarized by a Certified Consular Notary of the NNA. The consul then reviews the documents and either (a) legalizes them in the country where the passport was issued, or (b) obtains a Hague Apostille for the notarized copy. The member Consul then uploads the final document to the Identify.nu system via secure internet connection.
Upon receipt of the upload, the Consular Chamber of Commerce Due Diligence Dept. reviews the documents for accuracy, and enters them into the system. Once in the system, the identified individual may authorize the download of the apostilled or legalized passport copy to any member he or she chooses.
In addition, Identify.nu interfaces with OpenID.org to allow for authorized digital confirmation of verified ID to any website accepting the OpenID platform. Such sites include financial sites, email servers and social networking sites, among others.
Identify.nu allows a user to verify all of the data provided, or only a part thereof. Age may be verified for example, without address. Country of citizenship may be verified without anything else. Name may be the only component verified if you like. All of this is delivered via secure internet connection.
SECTION 11: IDENTIFY.NU AND CONSULAR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AFFILIATION
In addition to the identify.nu standard, the Consular Chamber of Commerce securely stores other credentials for its business members, including banker’s reference, attorney or accountant reference, criminal & regulatory name screening, and consular letter of recommendation. Each of these is most credible when notarized as true and correct by a Certified Consular Notary prior to uploading by the consul member.
SECTION 12: CERTIFIED CONSULAR NOTARY AFFILIATION AND DUTIES
Certified Consular Notaries (CCN’s) of the NNA are the only notaries recognized by the Consular Chamber of Commerce and Identify.nu as competent to facilitate the client explanations and notarizations required to fulfill the identification standard of Identify.nu, and the credentials of the Consular Chamber of Commerce.
Consul members of the Consular Chamber of Commerce will seek Certified Consular Notaries from the NNA database. CCN’s are recognized for their familiarity with the consular positions, as well as their practices & procedures, such as foreign country legalizations and obtaining the Hague Apostille.
In the coming years, millions of individual Chamber members will seek to input their identification to facilitate long distance business transactions, as well as to simply be able to securely provide online verification of their ID, age, national citizenship or other personally identifiable information to their intended recipients. Certified Consular Notaries will provide multiple notarizations for each such request, and will be invaluable in providing expertise concerning the entire process.
The number of consuls in the U.S. is equal to approximately 1% of the number of notaries public. It is therefore critical that the CCN becomes familiar with the local consuls identified at consul.cc. The CCN should not hesitate to be the catalyst in bringing new membership to the member consuls to confirm and upload identification, while providing all of the necessary notarizations.
SECTION 13: OPPORTUNITY
The CCN has a unique opportunity to attract a great deal of previously unseen business by introducing yourself to the consul members of the Consular Chamber of Commerce in your area. Each of these is listed at www.consul.cc, with contact capability, free of charge.
Consuls typically generate a tremendous amount of notarial acts. There is opportunity for a Certified Consular Notary to officiate vast numbers of acts unrelated to the Consular Chamber and Identify.nu from any one consul. Consul members of the Consular Chamber of Commerce are routinely reminded of the proficiency of those holding the CCN certification. Please don’t hesitate to let them know a CCN is in the area and able to assist.
SECTION 14: CONULAR EMISSARY OPPORTUNIY
Trusted individuals upon whom honorary consuls come to depend to transact sensitive business on behalf of the constituents of the consul, or the consulate itself, are sometimes bestowed the title of Consular Emissary.
The order of Consular Emissaries sets standards and avails the Emissaries of other consuls or their constituents by directory and transparent endorsement tracking at consul.cc. Emissaries may elect to accept missions from consuls for nominal fees.
Consular Emissaries also partake in international affairs and Consular Chamber activities in their regions.
Certified Consular Notaries may become Consular Emissaries by earning the title from a member honorary