The Foreign and Commonwealth Office – ‘the FCO’ or ‘the Foreign Office’ for short – is the government department responsible for promoting British interests overseas and supporting our citizens and businesses around the globe.

In today’s economic climate, international relations are more important than ever.

There are major changes under way in the world. For example, economic power is moving eastwards into Asia. The spread of democracy and the power of the internet are giving non-government groups and the individual new opportunities to contribute to decisions affecting them. And the need for global solutions to the great issues of our time, such as climate change, terrorism and social inequality, means that international institutions are more important than ever.

The UK is well placed to benefit from these changes. We are an influential member of key international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and the Commonwealth, and we have strong links with many parts of the world. Britain is emerging as a global hub for ideas and a primary force in the search for answers to global problems.

The FCO and its worldwide network of embassies and consulates is a unique national asset.

Our diplomats have world-class skills in understanding and influencing what is happening abroad, supporting our citizens who are travelling and living overseas, helping to manage migration into Britain, promoting British trade and other interests abroad and encouraging foreign investment in the UK.