Some countries have ceded, to the United States, some control in the application of their own laws within their own borders.

A historical example would be the Treaty of Wanghia, signed with China in 1844, that granted extraterritoriality to US citizens. Article XXI:

... citizens of the United States, who may commit any crime in China, shall be subject to be tried and punished only by the Consul, or other public functionary of the United States, thereto authorized according to the laws of the United States ...

A more limited present-day example would be when a US soldier stationed in Japan commits a crime against a US citizen in Japan. In that case, Japanese courts do not have jurisdiction for the crime committed in Japan because of the (controversial) U.S.–Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that grants extraterritoriality to specific US military members.

The question is: In which foreign countries does the United States currently have the right to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction in cases where an American is accused of wrongdoing?

In particular, I am interested in treaties that are still in force, and signed between the United States and another country that grant extraterritorial rights for all US citizens (and not just military members as in the case of SOFA).


A preliminary search reveals that the Brunei Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty still grants extraterritoriality to US citizens. The treaty was signed in 1850, and is still in force as of January 1, 2018 according to the Treaties in Force (TIF) publication of the US Department of State. Article IX:

... in all cases where a citizen of the United States shall be accused of any crime committed in any part of His Highness' dominions the person so accused shall be exclusively tried and adjudged by the American Consul, or other officer duly appointed for that purpose ...

Are there any more such examples?

  • 3
    I would be surprised if there were many. Extraterritoriality is often associated with colonialism and unequal treaties, and it is a rather hard pill to swallow for the country granting it.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 15:55
  • @SJuan76 That is precisely the reason I asked this question. The rarity of such treaties in the 21st century makes it hard for amateurs (like me) to "discover" the treaties without outside help (e.g. from the Law Stack Exchange site).
    – Flux
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 16:01
  • 1
    @Flux This is hard even for experts. Treaties are not well indexed and most lawyers have limited resources to even consult them. There is a publication called U.S. Treaties In Force state.gov/documents/organization/282222.pdf but this is just a list without content that is summarized in any way. One could use it to narrow the list down to a couple hundred, but then you'd have to read them all.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 2:16
  • Isn't the question not in which jurisdictions does the United States have the right to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction when a US American is accused of wrongdoing but rather, where a US American is accused of wrongdoing against another US American? Otherwise, how could you not be suggesting that US citizens abroad could not be charged with offences against locals? Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 18:04


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