Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
INVIOLABILITY OF CONSULAR ARCHIVES AND DOCUMENTS
The consular archives and documents of a consular post headed by an honorar
y consular officer shall be inviolable at all times and wherever they may
be, provided that they are kept separate from other papers and documents
and, in particular, from the private correspondence of the head of a
consular post and of any person working with him, and from the materials,
books or documents relating to their profession or trade.
EXEMPTION FROM CUSTOMS DUTIES
The receiving State shall, in accordance with such laws and regulations as
it may adopt, permit entry of, and grant exemption from all customs duties,
taxes, and related charges other than charges for storage, cartage and
similar services on the following articles, provided that they are for the
official use of a consular post headed by an honorary consular officer:
coats-of-arms, flags, signboards, seals and stamps, books, official printed
matter, office furniture, office equipment and similar articles supplied by
or at the instance of the sending State to the consular post.
If criminal proceedings are instituted against an honorary consular officer
, he must appear before the competent authorities. Nevertheless, the
proceedings shall be conducted with the respect due to him by reason of his
official position and, except when he is under arrest or detention, in a
manner which will hamper the exercise of consular functions as little as
possible. When it has become necessary to detain an honorary consular
officer, the proceedings against him shall be instituted with the minimum
PROTECTION OF HONORARY CONSULAR OFFICERS
The receiving State is under a duty to accord to an honorary consular
officer such protection as may be required by reason of his official
EXEMPTION FROM REGISTRATION OF ALIENS AND RESIDENCE PERMITS
Honorary consular officers, with the exception of those who carry on for
personal profit any professional or commercial activity in the receiving
State, shall be exempt from all obligations under the laws and regulations
of the receiving State in regard to the registration of aliens and
EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION
An honorary consular officer shall be exempt from all dues and taxes on the
remuneration and emoluments which he receives from the sending State in
respect of the exercise of consular functions.
EXEMPTION FROM PERSONAL SERVICES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
The receiving State shall exempt honorary consular officers from all
personal services and from all public services of any kind whatsoever and
from military obligations such as those connected with requisitioning,
military contributions and billeting.
OPTIONAL CHARACTER OF THE INSTITUTION
OF HONORARY CONSULAR OFFICERS
Each State is free to decide whether it will appoint or receive honorary
CONSULAR AGENTS WHO ARE NOT HEADS OF CONSULAR POSTS
1. Each State is free to decide whether it will establish or admit consular
agencies conducted by consular agents not designated as heads of consular
post by the sending State.
2. The conditions under which the consular agencies referred to in
paragraph 1 of this Article may carry on their activities and the
privileges and immunities which may be enjoyed by the consular agents in
charge of them shall be determined by agreement between the sending State
and the receiving State.
EXERCISE OF CONSULAR FUNCTIONS BY DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS
1. The provisions of the present Convention apply also, so far as the
context permits, to the exercise of consular functions by a diplomatic
2. The names of members of a diplomatic mission assigned to the consular
section or otherwise charged with the exercise of the consular functions of
the mission shall be notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the
receiving State or to the authority designated by that Ministry.
3. In the exercise of consular functions a diplomatic mission may address:
(a) the local authorities of the consular district;
(b) the central authorities of the receiving State if this is allowed by
the laws, regulations and usages of the receiving State or by
relevant international agreements.
4. The privileges and immunities of the members of a diplomatic mission
referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article shall continue to be governed by
the rules of international law concerning diplomatic relations.
NATIONALS OR PERMANENT RESIDENTS OF THE RECEIVING STATE
1. Except in so far as additional facilities, privileges and immunities may
be granted by the receiving State, consular officers who are nationals of
or permanently resident in the receiving State shall enjoy only immunity
from jurisdiction and personal inviolability in respect of official acts
performed in the exercise of their functions, and the privilege provided in
paragraph 3 of Article 44. So far as these consular officers are concerned,
the receiving State shall likewise be bound by the obligation laid down in
Article 42. If criminal proceedings are instituted against such a consular
officer, the proceedings shall, except when he is under arrest or
detention, be conducted in a manner which will hamper the exercise of
consular functions as little as possible.
2. Other members of the consular post who are nationals of or permanently
resident in the receiving State and members of their families, as well as
members of the families of consular officers referred to in paragraph 1 of
this Article, shall enjoy facilities, privileges and immunities only in so
far as these are granted to them by the receiving State. Those members of
the families of members of the consular post and those members of the
private staff who are themselves nationals of or permanently resident in
the receiving State shall likewise enjoy facilities, privileges and immunit
ies only in so far as these are granted to them by the receiving State. The
receiving State shall, however, exercise its jurisdiction over those
persons in such a way as not to hinder unduly the performance of the
functions of the consular post.
1. In the application of the provisions of the present Convention the
receiving State shall not discriminate as between States.
2. However, discrimination shall not be regarded as taking place:
(a) where the receiving State applies any of the provisions of the
present Convention restrictively because of a restrictive application
of that provision to its consular posts in the sending State;
(b) where by custom or agreement States extend to each other more
favourable treatment than is required by the provisions of the
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PRESENT CONVENTION
AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS
1. The provisions of the present Convention shall not affect other
international agreements in force as between States parties to them.
2. Nothing in the present Convention shall preclude States from concluding
international agreements confirming or supplementing or extending or
amplifying the provisions thereof.
The present Convention shall be open for signature by all States Members of
the United Nations or of any of the specialized agencies or Parties to the
Statute of the International Court of Justice, and by any other State
invited by the General Assembly of the United Nations to become a Party to
the Convention, as follows until 31 October 1963 at the Federal Ministry
for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria and subsequently, until 31
March 1964, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The present Convention is subject to ratification. The instruments of
ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United
The present Convention shall remain open for accession by any State belongi
ng to any of the four categories mentioned in Article 74. The instruments
of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United
References and Further Reading
About the Author/s and Reviewer/s