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Contrary to popular belief, many of the staff of consulates may be career diplomats, but they do not generally have diplomatic immunity unless they are also accredited as such.

Foreign Affairs

Immunities and privileges for consuls and accredited staff of consulates consular immunity are generally limited to actions undertaken in their official capacity and, with respect to the consulate itself, to those required for official duties. In practice, the extension and application of consular privileges and immunities can differ widely from country to country. Consulates are more numerous than diplomatic missions, such as embassies. Ambassadors are posted only in a foreign nation's capital but exceptionally outside the country, as in the case of a multiple mandate; e.

Consuls are posted in a nation's capital, and in other cities throughout that country, especially centres of economic activity and cities where large populations of citizens from the consul's home country reside expatriates. Many countries have multiple consular offices in nations such as Germany, Russia, Canada, Brazil, and Australia. Consulates are subordinate posts of their home country's diplomatic mission typically an embassy , in the capital city of the host country. Diplomatic missions are established in international law under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations , while consulates-general and consulates are established in international law under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Formally, at least within the US system, the consular career ranking in descending order: consul-general, consul, vice-consul, honorary consul forms a different hierarchy from the diplomats in the strict sense. However, it is common for individuals to be transferred from one hierarchy to the other, and for consular officials to serve in a capital carrying out strictly consular duties within the consular section of a diplomatic post; e.

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Between Commonwealth countries, both diplomatic and consular activities may be undertaken by a High Commission in the capital, although larger Commonwealth nations generally also have consulates and consulates-general in major cities. For example, Toronto in Canada , Sydney in Australia and Auckland , New Zealand, are of greater economic importance than their respective national capitals, hence the need for consulates there.

When Hong Kong was under British administration , diplomatic missions of Commonwealth countries, such as Canada, [4] Australia, [5] New Zealand , [6] India, [7] Malaysia , [8] and Singapore [9] were known as commissions. After the transfer of sovereignty to China in , they were renamed consulates-general , [10] with the last commissioner becoming consul-general. Owing to its status as a special administrative region of China , some countries' consulates-general in Hong Kong report directly to their respective foreign ministries , rather than to their embassies in Beijing , such as those of Canada , [13] the United Kingdom [14] and United States.

A consul general is an official who heads a consulate general and is a consul of the highest rank serving at a particular location. A consul general may also be responsible for consular districts which contain other, subordinate consular offices within a country. The consul general serves as a representative who speaks on behalf of his or her state in the country to which he or she is located, although ultimate jurisdiction over the right to speak on behalf of a home country within another country ultimately belongs to the single ambassador.

It is abbreviated "CG", and the plural form is 'consuls general'. In most embassies, the consular section is headed by a consul general who is a diplomat and a member of the ambassador's country team. Some consuls are not career officials of the represented state at all; some are locally engaged staff with the nationality of the sending country, [16] and in smaller cities, or in cities that are very distant from full-time diplomatic missions, a foreign government which feels that some form of representation is nevertheless desirable may appoint a person who has not hitherto been part of their diplomatic service to fulfill this role.

Such a consul may well combine the job with his or her own often commercial private activities, and in some instances may not even be a citizen of the sending country.

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Such consular appointments are usually given the title of honorary consul. In addition, the U. Secretary of State in a memo issued on August 6, states the following concerning honorary consuls:. The United States Government appreciates that honorary consular officers provide important services both to the governments which they represent and to United States citizens and entities. Nevertheless, for reasons previously communicated to the missions, United States Government policy requires that the maintenance and establishment of consular posts headed by honorary consular officers must be supported by documentation which makes it possible for the Department of State to be assured that meaningful consular functions will be exercised by honorary consular officers on a regular basis and that such consular officers come under the supervision of, and are accountable to, the governments which they represent.

As a matter of U. Government are American citizens, or permanent resident aliens who perform consular services on a part-time basis. Such individuals do not enjoy personal inviolability, and may be arrested pending trial if circumstances should otherwise warrant. However, appropriate steps are provided to accord to such officers the protection required by virtue of their official position.

In addition, the consular archives and documents of a consular post headed by an honorary consular officer are inviolable at all times, and wherever they may be, provided they are kept separate from other papers and documents of a private or commercial nature relating to other activities of an honorary consular officer or persons working with that consular officer. Despite their other roles, honorary consular officers in the widest use of the term in some instances also have responsibility for the welfare of citizens of the appointing country within their bailiwick.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Assisting Australians overseas

Certain types of notarized certificates can be acquired through an honorary consul. An honorary consul can advise Finnish companies, for instance, in obtaining information about local business culture and in finding cooperation partners. As depicted in the book, the position of a consul for a particular country was in practice hereditary in a specific family, whose mansion bore the represented country's coat of arms, and with that country confirming the consul's son or other heir in the position on the death of the previous consul.

As repeatedly referenced by Mann, a consul's wife was known as "Consulin" and continued to bear that title even on the death of her husband. Characters in the book are mentioned as consuls for Denmark , the Netherlands and Portugal. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the uses of Consul as the chief magistrate of a city-state, see Consul. For other uses, see Consul disambiguation.


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The Consular Corps in Edinburgh & Leith

Main article: Administrative consul. Main article: Consulates in extraterritorial jurisdictions. Some international crises involving Australians overseas will require an exceptional response, such as. In an international crisis, we'll provide support to Australian citizens and permanent residents of Australia. Depending on the circumstances, we may also assist dual nationals in the country of their other nationality. DFAT's privacy policy can be accessed at dfat. DFAT may use personal information to provide consular assistance. In accordance with Australian Privacy Principle 5, the Consular Privacy Collection Statement contains information about how we collect, use, disclose and store personal information related to consular cases.

Copies of the Statement are available at dfat. The media takes a close interest in incidents involving Australians overseas, ranging from crises to individual cases.


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We welcome your comments on our services. Both positive and negative feedback helps us to identify areas that need improvement or where changes would make sense. Sharing your experiences may also help other Australians to avoid difficulties overseas and understand what level of assistance we can provide. You can comment on our services by. If you aren't satisfied with our response, you can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Office in Australia. I need help. Someone I know needs help.

Page Content. We strive to empower Australians to help themselves overseas effectively prepare for and manage overseas crises deliver a consular service focused on Australians most in need Who we can assist Australian citizens Canadian citizens in locations listed in the Australia- Canada Consular Services Sharing Agreement Schedule We only provide consular services to Australian permanent residents in the event of a crisis overseas.

We may limit assistance where, for example your actions were illegal you've deliberately or repeatedly acted recklessly or negligently you put yourself or others at risk you've demonstrated a repeated pattern of behaviour requiring multiple instances of consular assistance previously What help we may provide Each case is unique and our assistance will depend on the circumstances and availability of consular resources. We may be able to issue replacement passports and travel documents for a fee provide details of local doctors and hospitals provide advice and support if you're the victim of a serious assault , or other crime, or you're arrested , including details of local lawyers and interpreters visit or contact you to check on your welfare if you're arrested or detained , and do what we can to ensure you're treated the same as others detained under the laws of the country in which you're arrested provide advice and support in a range of other cases including the death of relatives overseas, missing persons and kidnappings if you agree, contact friends or family on your behalf.

In some circumstances we may need to contact your friends or family where we've been unable to get your consent make special arrangements in cases of international terrorism, civil disturbances and natural disasters fees may apply provide some notarial services , including witnessing and authenticating documents and administering oaths and affirmations fees apply in some locations, provide voting services for Australian federal and some state elections What we can't do Some tasks are outside the consular role.

Our assistance is guided by many considerations but we may deploy expert teams to support affected Australians liaise with the families of any Australians killed or injured work with local authorities to support affected Australians support Australians trying to leave the area and put them in contact with their families provide travel advice and crisis updates What you can do Be informed check the latest travel advice at smartraveller. Subscribe to receive updates or follow Smartraveller on social media check the expiry date of your passport before you travel.

Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country check with health professionals about recommended vaccinations and other health precautions.