Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
For the purpose of the present Convention, the following expressions shall
have the meanings hereunder assigned to them:
(a) the “head of the mission”is the person charged by the sending State
with the duty of acting in that capacity;
(b) the “members of the mission”are the head of the mission and the
members of the staff of the mission;
(c) the “members of the staff of the mission”are the members of the
diplomatic staff, of the administrative and technical staff and of
the service staff of the mission;
(d) the “members of the diplomatic staff”are the members of the staff of
the mission having diplomatic rank;
(e) a “diplomatic agent”is the head of the mission or a member of the
diplomatic staff of the mission;
(f) the “members of the administrative and technical staff”are the
members of the staff of the mission employed in the administrative
and technical service of the mission;
(g) the “members of the service staff”are the members of the staff of
the mission in the domestic service of the mission;
(h) a “private servant”is a person who is in the domestic service of a
member of the mission and who is not an employee of the sending
(i) the “premises of the mission”are the buildings or parts of buildings
and the land ancillary thereto, irrespective of ownership, used for
the purposes of the mission including the residence of the head of
The establishment of diplomatic relations between States, and of permanent
diplomatic missions, takes place by mutual consent.
1. The functions of a diplomatic mission consist inter alia in:
(a) representing the sending State in the receiving State;
(b) protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State
and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international
(c) negotiating with the Government of the receiving State;
(d) ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the
receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the
(e) promoting friendly relations between the sending State and the
receiving State, and developing their economic, cultural and
2. Nothing in the present Convention shall be construed as preventing the
performance of consular functions by a diplomatic mission.
1. The sending State must make certain that the agrÂ‚ment of the receiving
State has been given for the person it proposes to accredit as head of the
mission to that State.
2. The receiving State is not obliged to give reasons to the sending State
for a refusal of agrÂ‚ment.
1. The sending State may, after it has given due notification to the
receiving States concerned, accredit a head of mission or assign any member
of the diplomatic staff, as the case may be, to more than one State, unless
there is express objection by any of the receiving States.
2. If the sending State accredits a head of mission to one or more other
States it may establish a diplomatic mission headed by a charge d’affaires
ad interim in each State where the head of mission has not his permanent
3. A head of mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission
may act as representative of the sending State to any international
Two or more States may accredit the same person as head of mission to
another State, unless objection is offered by the receiving State.
Subject to the provisions of Articles 5, 8, 9 and 11, the sending State may
freely appoint the members of the staff of the mission. In the case of
military, naval or air attaches, the receiving State may require their
names to be submitted beforehand, for its approval.
1. Members of the diplomatic staff of the mission should in principle be of
the nationality of the sending State.
2. Members of the diplomatic staff of the mission may not be appointed from
among persons having the nationality of the receiving State, except with
the consent of that State which may be withdrawn at any time.
3. The receiving State may reserve the same right with regard to nationals
of a third State who are not also nationals of the sending State.
1. The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its
decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any
member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that
any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such
case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person
concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. A person may be
declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of
the receiving State.
2. If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to
carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this Article, the receiving
State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the
1. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receiving State, or such other
ministry as may be agreed, shall be notified of:
(a) the appointment of members of the mission, their arrival and their
final departure or the termination of their functions with the
(b) the arrival and final departure of a person belonging to the family
of a member of the mission and, where appropriate, the fact that a
person becomes or ceases to be a member of the family of a member of
(c) the arrival and final departure of private servants in the employ of
persons referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph and, where
appropriate, the fact that they are leaving the employ of such
(d) the engagement and discharge of persons resident in the receiving
State as members of the mission or private servants entitled to
privileges and immunities.
2. Where possible, prior notification of arrival and final departure shall
also be given.
1. In the absence of specific agreement as to the size of the mission, the
receiving State may require that the size of a mission be kept within
limits considered by it to be reasonable and normal, having regard to
circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and to the needs of the
2. The receiving State may equally, within similar bounds and on a
nondiscriminatory basis, refuse to accept officials of a particular
The sending State may not, without the prior express consent of the
receiving State, establish offices forming part of the mission in
localities other than those in which the mission itself is established.
1. The head of the mission is considered as having taken up his functions
in the receiving State either when he has presented his credentials or when
he has notified his arrival and a true copy of his credentials has been
presented to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receiving State, or
such other ministry as may be agreed, in accordance with the practice
prevailing in the receiving State which shall be applied in a uniform
2. The order of presentation of credentials or of a true copy thereof will
be determined by the date and time of the arrival of the head of the
1. Heads of mission are divided into three classes, namely:
(a) that of ambassadors or nuncios accredited to Heads of State, and
other heads of mission of equivalent rank;
(b) that of envoys, ministers and internuncios accredited to Heads of
(c) that of charges d’affaires accredited to Ministers for Foreign
2. Except as concerns precedence and etiquette, there shall be no
differentiation between heads of mission by reason of their class.
The class to which the heads of their missions are to be assigned shall be
agreed between States.
1. Heads of mission shall take precedence in their respective classes in
the order of the date and time of taking up their functions in accordance
with Article 13.
2. Alterations in the credentials of a head of mission not involving any
change of class shall not affect his precedence.
3. This article is without prejudice to any practice accepted by the
receiving State regarding the precedence of the representative of the Holy
The precedence of the members of the diplomatic staff of the mission shall
be notified by the head of the mission to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
or such other ministry as may be agreed.
The procedure to be observed in each State for the reception of heads of
mission shall be uniform in respect of each class.
1. If the post of head of the mission is vacant, or if the head of the
mission is unable to perform his functions, a charge d’affaires ad interim
shall act provisionally as head of the mission. The name of the charge
d’affaires ad interim shall be notified, either by the head of the mission
or, in case he is unable to do so, by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of
the sending State to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receiving
State or such other ministry as may be agreed.
2. In cases where no member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is
present in the receiving State, a member of the administrative and
technical staff may, with the consent of the receiving State, be designated
by the sending State to be in charge of the current administrative affairs
of the mission.
The mission and its head shall have the right to use the flag and emblem of
the sending State on the premises of the mission, including the residence
of the head of the mission, and on his means of transport.
1. The receiving State shall either facilitate the acquisition on its
territory, in accordance with its laws, by the sending State of premises
necessary for its mission or assist the latter in obtaining accommodation
in some other way.
2. It shall also, where necessary, assist missions in obtaining suitable
accommodation for their members.
References and Further Reading
About the Author/s and Reviewer/s
Mentioned in these Entries
Conventions: Chronological Index 1951-1970, Diplomacy, Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, International Court of Justice tags, International Law Encyclopedia 10, International law index V, International law index, MPEPIL: Diplomacy and consular relations, MPEPIL: Public Law: V, MPEPIL: Specific treaties and instruments, Regina v. Bartle and the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Others, Treaty on Open Skies 10.
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
Embracing mainstream international law, this section on vienna convention on diplomatic relations explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.
- The entry “vienna convention on diplomatic relations” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press