What the State Department Is:
The State Department was created in 1789, and is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency. It employs over 15,000 workers. Of these, over 9,000 Foreign Service workers live abroad as emissaries and ambassadors of the U.S.
The Secretary of State is the President's principal adviser on foreign policy and the person chiefly responsible for U.S. representation abroad. Furthermore, the Secretary is the highest-ranking member of the President's Cabinet and fourth in line of presidential succession.
What the State Department Does:
The State Department manages relationships with 180 countries out of the 191 countries with which the U.S. maintains diplomatic relations. It maintains nearly 260 embassies, consulates, and missions around the world.
In addition, the State Department provides services for citizens traveling and living abroad, including passports for U.S. citizens and visas for foreigners visiting the U.S.
The State Department also supports U.S. businesses by acting as experts in host-country markets and identifying opportunities for American firms.
How the State Department Affects the U.S. Economy:
The State Department affects the U.S. economy by helping with trade relations, reducing the economic volatility associated with terrorism, and promoting economic stability within other countries throughout the world.
How the State Department Affects You:
If you plan to travel outside of the U.S., the State Department will issue you a passport. It provides assistance for travelers, such as tips for traveling abroad, country briefings, and travel warnings.
If you are a foreigner wishing to visit the U.S., you need to apply for a visa for short stays.