Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
FACILITIES, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES RELATING TO CONSULAR POSTS,
CAREER CONSULAR OFFICERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF A CONSULAR POST
FACILITIES, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES
RELATING TO A CONSULAR POST
FACILITIES FOR THE WORK OF THE CONSULAR POST
The receiving State shall accord full facilities for the performance of the
functions of the consular post.
USE OF NATIONAL FLAG AND COAT-OF-ARMS
1. The sending State shall have the right to the use of its national flag
and coat-of-arms in the receiving State in accordance with the provisions
of this Article.
2. The national flag of the sending State may be flown and its coat-of-arms
displayed on the building occupied by the consular post and at the entrance
door thereof, on the residence of the head of the consular post and on his
means of transport when used on official business.
3. In the exercise of the right accorded by this Article regard shall be
had to the laws, regulations and usages of the receiving State.
1. The receiving State shall either facilitate the acquisition on its
territory, in accordance with its laws and regulations, by the sending
State of premises necessary for its consular post or assist the latter in
obtaining accommodation in some other way.
2. It shall also, where necessary, assist the consular post in obtaining
suitable accommodation for its members.
INVIOLABILITY OF THE CONSULAR PREMISES
1. Consular premises shall be inviolable to the extent provided in this
2. The authorities of the receiving State shall not enter that part of the
consular premises which is used exclusively for the purpose of the work of
the consular post except with the consent of the head of the consular post
or of his designee or of the head of the diplomatic mission of the sending
State. The consent of the head of the consular post may, however, be
assumed in case of fire or other disaster requiring prompt protective
3. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this Article, the receiving
State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the
consular premises against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any
disturbance of the peace of the consular post or impairment of its dignity.
4. The consular premises, their furnishings, the property of the consular
post and its means of transport shall be immune from any form of
requisition for purposes of national defence or public utility. If
expropriation is necessary for such purposes, all possible steps shall be
taken to avoid impeding the performance of consular functions, and prompt,
adequate and effective compensation shall be paid to the sending State.
EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION OF CONSULAR PREMISES
1. Consular premises and the residence of the career head of consular post
of which the sending State or any person acting on its behalf is the owner
or lessee shall be exempt from all national, regional or municipal dues and
taxes whatsoever, other than such as represent payment for specific
2. The exemption from taxation referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article
shall not apply to such dues and taxes if, under the law of the receiving
State, they are payable by the person who contracted with the sending State
or with the person acting on its behalf.
INVIOLABILITY OF THE CONSULAR ARCHIVES AND DOCUMENTS
The consular archives and documents shall be inviolable at all times and
wherever they may be.
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
Subject to its laws and regulations concerning zones entry into which is
prohibited or regulated for reasons of national security, the receiving
State shall ensure freedom of movement and travel in its territory to all
members of the consular post.
FREEDOM OF COMMUNICATION
1. The receiving State shall permit and protect freedom of communication on
the part of the consular post for all official purposes. In communicating
with the Government, the diplomatic missions and other consular posts,
wherever situated, of the sending State, the consular post may employ all
appropriate means, including diplomatic or consular couriers, diplomatic or
consular bags and messages in code or cipher. However, the consular post
may install and use a wireless transmitter only with the consent of the
2. The official correspondence of the consular post shall be inviolable.
Official correspondence means all correspondence relating to the consular
post and its functions.
3. The consular bag shall be neither opened nor detained. Nevertheless, if
the competent authorities of the receiving State have serious reason to
believe that the bag contains something other than the correspondence,
documents or articles referred to in paragraph 4 of this Article, they may
request that the bag be opened in their presence by an authorized
representative of the sending State. If this request is refused by the
authorities of the sending State, the bag shall be returned to its place of
4. The packages constituting the consular bag shall bear visible external
marks of their character and may contain only official correspondence and
documents or articles intended exclusively for official use.
5. The consular courier shall be provided with an official document indicat
ing his status and the number of packages constituting the consular bag.
Except with the consent of the receiving State he shall be neither a
national of the receiving State, nor, unless he is a national of the
sending State, a permanent resident of the receiving State. In the
performance of his functions he shall be protected by the receiving State.
He shall enjoy personal inviolability and shall not be liable to any form
of arrest or detention.
6. The sending State, its diplomatic missions and its consular posts may
designate consular couriers ad hoc. In such cases the provisions of
paragraph 5 of this Article shall also apply except that the immunities
therein mentioned shall cease to apply when such a courier has delivered to
the consignee the consular bag in his charge.
7. A consular bag may be entrusted to the captain of a ship or of a
commercial aircraft scheduled to land at an authorized port of entry. He
shall be provided with an official document indicating the number of
packages constituting the bag, but he shall not be considered to be a
consular courier. By arrangement with the appropriate local authorities,
the consular post may send one of its members to take possession of the bag
directly and freely from the captain of the ship or of the aircraft.
COMMUNICATION AND CONTACT WITH NATIONALS OF THE SENDING STATE
1. With a view to facilitating the exercise of consular functions relating
to nationals of the sending State:
(a) consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the
sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending
State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with
and access to consular officers of the sending State;
(b) if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State
shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State
if, within its consular district, a national of that State is
arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is
detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the
consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention
shall also be forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The
said authorities shall inform the person concerned without delay of
his rights under this sub-paragraph;
(c) consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the
sending State who is in prison, custody or detention, to converse and
correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation. They
shall also have the right to visit any national of the sending State
who is in prison, custody or detention in their district in pursuance
of a judgment. Nevertheless, consular officers shall refrain from
taking action on behalf of a national who is in prison, custody or
detention if he expressly opposes such action.
2. The rights referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be exercised
in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving State, subject
to the proviso, however, that the said laws and regulations must enable
full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under
this Article are intended.
INFORMATION IN CASES OF DEATHS, GUARDIANSHIP OR TRUSTEESHIP,
WRECKS AND AIR ACCIDENTS
If the relevant information is available to the competent authorities of
the receiving State, such authorities shall have the duty:
(a) in the case of the death of a national of the sending State, to
inform without delay the consular post in whose district the death
(b) to inform the competent consular post without delay of any case where
the appointment of a guardian or trustee appears to be in the
interests of a minor or other person lacking full capacity who is a
national of the sending State. The giving of this information shall,
however, be without prejudice to the operation of the laws and
regulations of the receiving State concerning such appointments;
(c) if a vessel, having the nationality of the sending State, is wrecked
or runs aground in the territorial sea or internal waters of the
receiving State, or if an aircraft registered in the sending State
suffers an accident on the territory of the receiving State, to
inform without delay the consular post nearest to the scene of the
COMMUNICATION WITH THE AUTHORITIES OF THE RECEIVING STATE
In the exercise of their functions, consular officers may address:
(a) the competent local authorities of their consular district;
(b) the competent central authorities of the receiving State if and to
the extent that this is allowed by the laws, regulations and usages
of the receiving State or by the relevant international agreements.
References and Further Reading
About the Author/s and Reviewer/s