International Offices

Crime and terror have a global reach. And so do we. 

For more than eight decades, the FBI has stationed special agents and other personnel overseas. We help protect Americans back home by building relationships with principal law enforcement, intelligence, and security services around the globe. Now, at a time when virtually all major FBI investigations have a significant international nexus, these partnerships have never been more crucial.

Our 63 legal attaché offices—commonly known as legats—and 15 smaller sub-offices are located in key cities around the globe and provide coverage for more than 180 countries, territories, and islands. About 250 special agents and support personnel are stationed in FBI legats worldwide.

International Operations 

Our legal attaché program is managed by the International Operations Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

Through the legal attaché program and other efforts, the International Operations Division serves as a bridge to our overseas partners and a conduit for strengthening the global rule of law. It regularly works through elements of the international law enforcement community such as Interpol and Europol and numerous working groups, task forces, and training initiatives.

The office coordinates meetings with international leaders and keeps in close contact with other federal agencies, foreign police, and security officers in Washington, D.C., and national and international law enforcement associations.

Authorities and Jurisdiction 

A number of U.S. federal laws give the FBI authority to investigate extraterritorial criminal and terrorist activity. The FBI, however, conducts investigations abroad only when invited by the host country. In most cases, our international partners gather evidence and make arrests on behalf of, or in close cooperation with, the Bureau. 

Each legat is established through mutual agreement with the host country and is located in that nation’s U.S. embassy or consulate. FBI personnel abroad serve under the authority of the Department of State, chief of mission at U.S. embassies, at the pleasure of ambassadors and host country governments.

International liaison and information sharing are conducted in accordance with executive orders, laws, treaties, attorney general guidelines, FBI policies, and interagency agreements.

The Role of the Legal Attaché Agent 

The FBI agent who heads an international office is also called a legal attaché or legat. They serve as the FBI Director’s personal representative in the country where they have regional responsibilities.

Legal attachés are experienced, highly trained investigators who work directly and openly with their international colleagues. They do not conduct foreign intelligence gathering or counterintelligence investigations. Most legal attachés are supported by a deputy or assistant legal attaché and other staff.

Typical duties of a legal attaché include:

  • coordinating requests for FBI or host country assistance overseas
  • conducting investigations in coordination with the host government
  • sharing investigative leads and information
  • coordinating FBI training classes for police in their geographic areas
  • briefing embassy counterparts from other agencies, including law enforcement agencies and ambassadors
  • managing country clearances
  • providing situation reports concerning cultural protocol
  • assessing political and security climates
  • coordinating victim and humanitarian assistance

How Legal Attaché Offices Help Protect Our Nation 

  • Relationship Building: Since FBI agents do not have traditional law enforcement powers overseas, they must rely on strong, mutually beneficial relationships with their foreign counterparts. Legal attachés maintain regular, often face-to-face contact with foreign officials and security agencies that enables the prompt and continuous exchange of information and reciprocal assistance in investigations. Legal attachés also provide critical and timely support in the defense of our homeland through direct coordination with the Department of Justice, the Department of State, Interpol, and other law enforcement and security entities.

  • Physical Proximity: Legal attachés are positioned to enable agents to reach virtually anywhere in the world in a few hours, allowing the FBI to respond more quickly and effectively to terrorist attacks, cyber crime, fugitive sightings, crisis situations, natural disasters, and other global security matters.

  • Training/Rule of Law: Through international training facilitated by legal attachés, the FBI provides foreign law enforcement officers with skills in both basic and advanced investigative techniques and principles that promote cooperation and aid in the collection of evidence. These efforts help create more capable and democratic police institutions around the world, strengthening the global rule of law. Funded by the Department of State or Department of Defense, significant training programs include the International Law Enforcement Academies in Budapest, Hungary; Bangkok, Thailand; Gaborone, Botswana; and San Salvador, El Salvador, as well as bilateral training programs targeting anti-terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist financing. 

  • Detection and Prevention: By keeping their fingers on the pulse of criminal activity, national security threats, and emerging trends in the nations and regions they serve, legal attachés function as an early warning system to help keep crime and terrorism from reaching our shores.

Our International Offices 

Africa 

  • Abuja, Nigeria

    Nations covered: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria

  • Accra, Ghana

    Nations covered: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Nations covered: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan

  • Dakar, Senegal

    Nations covered: Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Sao Tome’ and Principe, Sierra Leone

  • Nairobi, Kenya

    Nations covered: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda

  • Pretoria, South Africa

    Nations covered: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte (French Territory), Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion (French Territory), Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

  • Rabat, Morocco

    Nations covered: Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara

  • Tunis, Tunisia

    Nations covered: Algeria, Libya, Niger, Tunisia

Americas 

  • Bogota, Colombia

    Nations covered: Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela

  • Brasilia, Brazil

    Nations covered: Brazil

  • Bridgetown, Barbados

    Nations covered: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, French West Indies, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Montserrat, Nassau (Islands of St. Barthelemy and French St. Martin), Netherland Antilles (islands of Bonaire and Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Dutch St. Maarten), St. Christopher, St. Kitts/Nevis (British West Indies), St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Nations covered: Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay

  • Mexico City, Mexico

    Mexico mexico

  • Ottawa, Canada

    Nations covered: Canada

  • Panama City, Panama

    Nations covered: Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua

  • San Salvador, El Salvador

    Nations covered: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

  • Santiago, Chile

    Nations covered: Bolivia, Chile, Peru

  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

    Nations covered: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica

Asia 

  • Bangkok, Thailand

    Nations covered: Laos, Myanmar, Thailand

  • Beijing, China

    Nations covered: Mongolia, People’s Republic of China

  • Canberra, Australia

    Nations covered: Australia, Christmas Island, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia (includes Austral Islands, Bora Bora, Marquesas Islands, Moorea, Society Islands, Tahiti), Kiribati (includes Canton, Caroline, Flint, Gilbert Islands, Malden, Phoenix, Starbuck, Vosttok), Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Niue, Pitcairn Island, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands (French), Samoa

  • Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Nations covered: Bangladesh, Nepal

  • Hong Kong, China

    Nations covered: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan

  • Jakarta, Indonesia

    Nations covered: Indonesia, Timor-Leste

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Nations covered: Brunei, DIego Garcia, Malaysia, Singapore

  • Manila, Philippines

    Nations covered: Philippines

  • New Delhi, India

    Nations covered: Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    Nations covered: Cambodia, Vietnam

  • Seoul, South Korea

    Nations covered: South Korea

  • Tokyo, Japan

    Nations covered: Japan

Eastern Europe and Eurasia 

Europe 

Middle East