Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Done at Viennaon 18 April 1961
The StatesParties to the present Convention,Recalling that peoples of all nations from ancient times have recognized the status of diplomatic agents,
Having in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations concerning the sovereign equality of States, the maintenance of international peace and security, and the promotion of friendly relations amongnations,
Believing that an international convention on diplomatic intercourse, privilegesandimmunities would contribute to the development of friendly relations among nations, irrespective of their differing constitutionaland social systems,
Realizing that the purpose of such privileges and immunities is not to benefit individuals but toensure theefficient performanceof the functions of diplomaticmissions as representing States,
Affirming that the rules of customary international law should continue to govern questions not expressly regulatedby the provisionsof the present Convention,
Have agreed as follows:
For the purpose of the present Convention, the following expressions shall have the meanings here under assigned to them:
(a) The “head of the mission” is the person chargedby the sending Statewiththe dutyof acting in that capacity;
(b) The “members of the mission” are the head of the mission and the members of the staff of themission;
(c) The “members of the staff of the mission” are the members of the diplomatic staff, of the administrativeand technical staffand of the servicestaff of the mission;
(d) The “members of the diplomatic staff” are the members of the staff ofthemissionhavingdiplomatic rank;
(e) A “diplomatic agent” is the head of the mission or amemberofthediplomaticstaffofthe mission;
(f) The “members of the administrative and technical staff” are themembersofthestaffofthe mission employedin the administrativeand technical service of the mission;
(g) The “members of the service staff” are the members of the staff of the mission inthedomestic service ofthe mission;
(h) A “private servant” is a person who is inthe domesticserviceof amember ofthe missionandwho is not an employeeof thesending State;
(i) The “premises of the mission” are the buildings or parts ofbuildingsandthelandancillarythereto, irrespective of ownership, used for the purposes of themissionincludingtheresidenceof the head of the mission.
The establishment of diplomatic relations between States, and of permanent diplomatic missions, takes place by mutualconsent.
1. The functionsof a diplomaticmissionconsist, inter alia, in:
(a) Representingthe sendingStatein the receiving State;
(b) Protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, within thelimits permittedby international law;
(c) Negotiatingwiththe Governmentof the receiving State;
(d) Ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developmentsinthereceivingState, and reporting thereon to the Governmentof the sending State;
(e) Promoting friendly relations between the sending State and thereceivingState, anddeveloping their economic, culturaland scientific relations.
2. Nothing in the present Convention shall be construed as preventing the performance of consular functionsby a diplomatic mission.
1. The sending State must make certain that the agrément of the receiving State has been givenforthe personit proposesto accreditas head of the missionto that State.
2. The receiving State is not obliged to give reasons to the sending State for a refusal of agrément.
1. The sending State may, after it has given due notification to the receivingStatesconcerned, accredit ahead ofmission orassign any memberofthe diplomaticstaff, as the case may be, to morethan 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 chargé d’affaires ad interimin each Statewherethe head of missionhas not his permanent seat.
3. A head of mission or any member of the diplomatic staff ofthemissionmayactas representativeof the sendingStateto any international organization.
Two or more States may accredit the same person as head of mission to another State, unlessobjection is offeredby thereceiving State.
Subject to the provisions of articles 5, 8, 9 and 11, the sending Statemayfreelyappointthe members of the staff of the mission. In the case of military, naval or air attachés, 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 maynotbeappointedfrom amongpersons having the nationality of the receiving State, except with the consent of thatStatewhichmaybe withdrawnat any time.
3. The receiving State may reserve the same right withregard to nationals of a thirdState who arenot also nationalsof the sending State.
1. The receiving State may at any time and without having to explainitsdecision, notifythe sending State that the head of the mission or any member ofthediplomaticstaffofthemissionis persona non grata or that any other memberofthe staffofthe missionis not acceptable. In anysuchcase, 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 beforearriving in the territoryof 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 mayrefusetorecognizethepersonconcernedasa memberof the mission.
1. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receiving State, orsuchotherministryasmaybeagreed, shall be notified of:
(a) The appointment of members of the mission, their arrival and their final departureortheterminationof their functions with the mission;
(b) The arrival and final departureofa person belongingto the familyof a member ofthe missionand, where appropriate, the fact that a person becomes or ceases to be a memberofthe familyofa memberof the mission;
(c) The arrival and final departure of private servants in the employ of persons referred to in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph and, where appropriate, the fact that theyare leavingthe employofsuch persons;
(d) The engagement and discharge of persons resident in the receivingStateasmembersofthe mission or privateservantsentitledto privileges and immunities.
2. Where possible, priornotificationof arrivaland final departureshall also be given.
1. In the absence of specific agreement as to the size ofthemission, thereceivingStatemay require that the size of a mission be kept within limits consideredby ittobe reasonableand normal, having regard to circumstances and conditions in the receiving State and to the needs of the particular mission.
2. The receiving State may equally, within similar boundsandonanon-discriminatorybasis, refuse to accept officialsof a particular category.
The sending State may not, without the prior express consent ofthereceivingState, establish offices forming part of the mission in localities other than thoseinwhichthemissionitselfisestablished.
1. The head of the mission is considered as having taken up his functions in the receivingStateeither when he has presented his credentials or when he has notified his arrival and a true copy of his credentialshas beenpresentedto the MinistryforForeignAffairsof the receivingState, or such other ministry as may be agreed, in accordancewiththe practice prevailingin the receiving Statewhich shall be appliedin a uniform manner.
2. The order of presentation of credentials or of a true copy thereof will be determinedbythe date and time of the arrivalof the headof the mission.
1. Heads of mission are dividedintothree classes, namely:
(a) That of ambassadors or nuncios accredited to Heads of State, and other heads of mission ofequivalent rank;
(b) That of envoys, ministers and internunciosaccreditedto Heads of State;
(c) That of chargés d’affairesaccreditedto Ministersfor Foreign Affairs.
2. Except as concerns precedence and etiquette, there shall be no differentiation between heads of mission by reasonof 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 inthe orderof the dateandtime of taking up their functionsin accordancewitharticle 13.
2. Alterations in the credentials of a head of mission not involving anychange of class shall notaffecthis precedence.
3. This article is without prejudice to any practice accepted by the receiving State regarding the precedence of the representative of the Holy See.
The precedence of the members of the diplomatic staffof the mission shall be notifiedby the headof the mission to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry as may be agreed.
The procedure to be observedin eachStatefor the receptionof heads of missionshall be uniform in respectof each class.
1. If the post of head of themissionis vacant, or if the headofthe missionis unableto performhis functions a chargé d’affaires adinterimshall act provisionallyasheadof the mission. The nameofthe chargé d’affaires ad interim shall be notified, either by theheadof themissionor, incaseheis unable to do so, by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the sending StatetotheMinistryforForeign Affairsof the receivingStateor such other ministryas may be agreed.
2. In cases where no member of the diplomatic staff of themissionispresentinthe receivingState, a member of the administrative and technical staff may, with the consent of the receiving State, be designatedby the sending Stateto be in chargeof the current administrativeaffairsof the mission.
The mission and its head shall have the right touse the flagand emblemof the sendingStateonthe premises of the mission, including the residence of the head of the mission, and on his meansof transport.
1. The receiving State shall either facilitate the acquisition on its territory, in accordance withits laws, by the sending State of premises necessary for its mission or assist the latter in obtaining accommodationin some other way.
2. It shall also, where necessary, assist missions in obtaining suitable accommodation for their members.
1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except withthe consentof the headof the mission.
2. The receiving State is undera special dutyto takeall appropriatesteps to protectthe premisesof the mission against any intrusion or damage and to preventanydisturbanceofthepeaceofthe mission or impairmentof its dignity.
3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the meansof transport of the mission shall be immune fromsearch, requisition, attachmentor execution.
1. The sending State and the head of the mission shall be exempt from all national, regional or municipal dues and taxes in respect of the premises of the mission, whether owned or leased, other thansuch as representpaymentfor specific services rendered.
2. The exemption from taxation referred to in this article shall not apply to such duesand taxes payable under the law of the receiving State by persons contractingwiththe sendingState or the headof the mission.
The archives and documentsof the missionshall be inviolableat any timeand wherever theymaybe.
The receiving State shall accord full facilities for the performance of the functions of the mission.
Subject to its laws and regulationsconcerningzonesentryintowhichis prohibitedor regulated for reasons of national security, the receivingStateshallensureto all membersof the missionfreedom of movementand travelin its territory.
1. The receiving State shall permit and protect freecommunicationonthe partof the mission forall official purposes. In communicatingwiththe Governmentandthe othermissionsand consulatesof the sending State, wherever situated, the mission mayemployallappropriatemeans, includingdiplomatic couriers and messages in code or cipher. However, the mission may install and use a wireless transmitteronlywith theconsent of the receiving State.
2. The official correspondence of the missionshall be inviolable. Officialcorrespondencemeansall correspondencerelatingto the mission and its functions.
3. The diplomaticbag shall not be openedor detained.
4. The packages constituting the diplomatic bag must bear visible external marks of their character and may contain only diplomaticdocuments or articles intended for officialuse.
5. The diplomatic courier, who shall be provided withan officialdocumentindicatinghisstatus and the number of packages constituting the diplomaticbag, shall be protected by the receiving Stateinthe performance of his functions. Heshall enjoypersoninviolabilityandshall not be liableto any form of arrest or detention.
6. The sending State or the mission may designate diplomatic couriers ad hoc. In such cases the provisions of paragraph 5 of this article shall also apply, except thatthe immunitiesthereinmentioned shall cease to apply when such a courier has delivered to the consignee the diplomatic bag in his charge.
7. A diplomaticbag may be entrusted to the captain of a commercialaircraft scheduledto landat an authorizedportof entry. Heshallbeprovidedwithanofficialdocumentindicatingthenumber of packages constituting the bag but he shall not be considered to be a diplomatic courier. The mission may send one of its members to take possession of the diplomaticbag directlyand freelyfromthecaptain of the aircraft.
The fees and charges levied by the mission in the course of its officialduties shall be exempt from all dues and taxes.
The person of a diplomaticagentshallbe inviolable. He shall not be liableto anyformofarrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedomor dignity.
1. The private residence of a diplomatic agent shall enjoythe same inviolabilityand protectionas the premisesof the mission.
2. His papers, correspondence and, except as provided in paragraph3ofarticle31, his property, shall likewiseenjoy inviolability.
1. A diplomatic agent shallenjoy immunityfromthe criminal jurisdictionof the receivingState. He shall also enjoyimmunityfromits civil and administrativejurisdiction, except in the case of:
(a) A real action relating to private immovable property situated in the territory of the receiving State, unless he holdsit on behalf of the sendingStatefor the purposesof the mission;
(b) An action relating to succession in which the diplomatic agent is involved asexecutor, administrator, heir or legatee as a private person and not on behalf of the sending State;
(c) An action relating to any professional or commercial activity exercisedby the diplomaticagent in the receivingState outsidehis official functions.
2. A diplomaticagent is not obliged to giveevidenceas a witness.
3. No measures of execution may be taken in respect of a diplomatic agent exceptinthecases coming under subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c) of paragraph 1of thisarticle, andprovidedthatthe measures concernedcan be taken withoutinfringingthe inviolabilityof his personor of his residence.
4. The immunity of a diplomatic agent from the jurisdiction of the receiving State does not exempt him fromthe jurisdictionof thesending State.
1. The immunity from jurisdiction of diplomatic agents and of persons enjoying immunity under article37 may be waivedby the sending State.
2. Waiver must alwaysbe express.
3. The initiation of proceedings by a diplomatic agent or by a person enjoying immunity from jurisdiction under article 37 shall preclude him from invokingimmunityfromjurisdictionin respect ofany counterclaimdirectly connected withthe principal claim.
4. Waiver of immunity from jurisdictioninrespect of civil or administrativeproceedingsshall not be held to imply waiver of immunity in respect of the execution of the judgement, for which a separate waiver shall be necessary.
1. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 3 of this article, a diplomatic agent shall with respect to services rendered for the sending Statebe exempt fromsocial security provisionswhich may be in force in thereceiving State.
2. The exemption provided for in paragraph1ofthisarticleshall also apply to privateservantswho are in the sole employof a diplomaticagent, on condition:
(a) That they are not nationals of or permanently resident in the receiving State; and
(b) That they are covered by the social security provisionswhichmay be in forcein the sending Stateor a third State.
3. A diplomatic agent who employs persons to whom the exemption provided for in paragraph 2of this article does not apply shall observe the obligations which the social securityprovisionsofthe receiving Stateimposeupon employers.
4. The exemption provided for in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article shall not preclude voluntary participation in the social security system of the receiving State provided that such participationispermittedby that State.
5. The provisions of this article shall not affect bilateralormultilateralagreementsconcerning social security concluded previously and shall not prevent the conclusionofsuchagreementsinthe future.
A diplomatic agent shall be exempt from all dues and taxes, personal or real, national, regional or municipal, except:
(a) Indirect taxes of a kindwhichare normallyincorporatedinthe price of goods or services;
(b) Dues and taxes on private immovable property situated in theterritoryofthereceivingState, unless he holdsit on behalf of the sendingStatefor the purposesof the mission;
(c) Estate, succession or inheritance duties levied by the receiving State, subject to the provisions of paragraph4 of article 39;
(d) Dues and taxes on private income having its source in the receiving State and capital taxes on investments made in commercialundertakingsinthe receiving State;
(e) Chargeslevied for specificservices rendered;
(f) Registration, court or record fees, mortgage dues and stamp duty, with respect to immovableproperty, subject to the provisionsof article 23.
The receiving State shall exempt diplomatic agents from all personal services, fromallpublic service of any kind whatsoever, and from militaryobligationssuchasthoseconnected with requisitioning, militarycontributionsand billeting.
1. 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, cartageand similarservices, on:
(a) Articlesfor the officialuse of the mission;
(b) Articles for the personal use of a diplomatic agent or members of his family forming part of his household, including articlesintended for his establishment.
2. The personal baggage of a diplomatic agent shall be exempt from inspection, unless there are serious grounds for presuming that it contains articles not covered by the exemptions mentioned inparagraph 1 of this article, or articles theimportor export of which is prohibitedby the lawor controlled by the quarantine regulations of the receiving State. Such inspection shall be conductedonlyinthe presence of the diplomaticagentor of his authorized representative.
1. The members of the family of a diplomatic agent formingpart of his household shall, if theyare not nationals of the receiving State, enjoy the privileges and immunities specified in articles 29 to 36.
2. Members of the administrative and technical staff of themission, togetherwithmembersoftheirfamilies forming part oftheir respective households, shall, if they are notnationals of or permanently resident in the receivingState, enjoythe privilegesand immunitiesspecified inarticles 29to 35, except that the immunity from civiland administrativejurisdictionof the receiving Statespecified in paragraph 1 of article31 shall not extendto acts performedoutsidethe course of their duties. Theyshall also enjoy the privileges specified inarticle 36, paragraph 1, in respect of articlesimported at thetime of first installation.
3. Members of the service staff of the mission who are not nationals of or permanentlyresident inthe receiving State shall enjoy immunity in respect of acts performed in the course of theirduties, exemption from dues and taxes on the emoluments they receive by reason of their employment and the exemptioncontainedin article 33.
4. Private servants of members of the mission shall, if they are not nationals of orpermanently resident in the receiving State, be exempt fromdues and taxes on the emolumentstheyreceive by reasonof their employment. In other respects, they may enjoy privileges and immunities onlytotheextent admitted by the receiving State. However, the receiving State must exercise its jurisdiction overthose persons insuch a manner as not to interfereundulywiththe performanceof the functionsof the mission.
1. Except insofar as additional privileges and immunities may be granted by the receiving State, a diplomatic agent who is a national of or permanently resident inthatStateshallenjoy onlyimmunity fromjurisdiction, and inviolability, inrespect of official acts performedin the exercise of his functions.
2. Other members of the staff of the mission and private servants who arenationalsofor permanently resident in the receiving State shall enjoy privileges and immunities only totheextent admitted by the receiving State. However, the receiving State must exercise its jurisdiction overthose persons insuch a manner as not to interfereundulywiththe performanceof the functionsof the mission.
1. Every person entitled to privileges and immunitiesshall enjoy themfromthe moment he entersthe territory of the receivingStateon proceedingtotake up his post or, if alreadyin its territory, from the moment whenhis appointmentisnotified to the Ministry for ForeignAffairsor suchother ministryas may be agreed.
2. When the functions of a person enjoying privileges and immunities have come to an end, such privileges and immunitiesshallnormallycease at the momentwhenhe leaves the country, oron expiry of a reasonable period in which to do so, but shall subsist until that time, even in case of armed conflict. However, with respect to actsperformed bysuchaperson in the exerciseof his functionsas amemberof the mission, immunityshall continueto subsist.
3. In case of the death of a member of the mission, the membersof his familyshallcontinuetoenjoy the privileges and immunities to which they are entitled until the expiry of a reasonable period in which to leave the country.
4. In the event of the death of a member of the mission not a national of or permanentlyresident inthe receiving State or a member of his family forming part of his household, the receivingStateshallpermit the withdrawal of the movable property of the deceased, with the exceptionofanyproperty acquired in the country theexportof whichwas prohibitedatthe timeof his death. Estate, successionand inheritance duties shall not be levied on movable property thepresence ofwhichinthe receivingState was due solely to the presence thereof the deceased as amember of the mission or as a memberofthe familyof a member of the mission.
1. If a diplomaticagent passes throughor is in the territoryof a thirdState, whichhas grantedhim a passport visa if such visa was necessary, while proceeding to take up or to return to his post, or when returning to his own country, the third State shall accord him inviolability andsuch otherimmunitiesas may be required to ensure his transit or return. The same shall apply in the case of any members of hisfamily enjoying privileges or immunities who are accompanying the diplomatic agent, or travelling separately to joinhim or to returnto their country.
2. In circumstances similar to those specified in paragraph 1 of this article, third States shall not hinder the passage of members of the administrative and technical or service staff of a mission, and of members of their families, throughtheir territories.
3. Third States shall accord toofficialcorrespondenceandotherofficialcommunicationsin transit, including messages in code or cipher, the same freedom and protection as is accorded by the receiving State. They shall accord to diplomatic couriers, who have been granted a passportvisa if suchvisa was necessary, and diplomatic bags in transit, the same inviolability and protection as the receivingState is boundto accord.
4. The obligations of third States under paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of this article shall also apply to the persons mentioned respectively in those paragraphs, andtoofficialcommunicationsanddiplomaticbags, whose presencein the territoryof the thirdStateis due to force majeure.
1. Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulationsof the receivingState. Theyalsohavea duty not to interferein the internal affairsof that State.
2. All official business withthe receiving State entrusted tothe mission by the sending Stateshallbe conducted with or through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receivingStateorsuchotherministryas may be agreed.
3. The premises of the mission must not be used in any manner incompatiblewiththe functionsof the mission as laid down in the present Conventionor by otherrulesof generalinternationallaw or byany special agreementsinforcebetween thesending and the receiving State.
A diplomatic agent shall not in the receiving State practice for personal profit any professional or commercial activity.
The function of a diplomaticagent comesto an end, interalia:
(a) On notification by the sending State to thereceivingStatethatthefunctionofthediplomatic agent has cometo an end;
(b) On notification by the receiving State to the sending State that, in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 9, it refusesto recognizethe diplomaticagentas a member of the mission.
The receiving State must, even in case of armedconflict, grantfacilitiesinordertoenablepersons enjoying privileges and immunities, otherthannationals of the receiving State, and membersof the families of such persons irrespective of their nationality, to leave at the earliest possible moment. It must, in particular, in case of need, place at their disposal thenecessarymeansoftransportforthemselvesand their property.
If diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled:
(a) The receiving State must, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the premises of the mission, together withits propertyand archives;
(b) The sending State may entrust the custody of the premises of themission, togetherwithitsproperty and archives, to a third State acceptable to the receiving State;
(c) The sending State may entrust the protection of its interestsand thoseof its nationalsto athirdState acceptableto the receiving State.
A sending State may with the prior consent of a receivingState, and at the request of a thirdStatenot represented in the receiving State, undertake the temporaryprotectionoftheinterestsofthe third Stateand of its nationals.
1. In the application of the provisions of the present Convention, the receiving State shall not discriminateas between States.
2. However, discriminationshall not be regardedas taking place:
(a) Where the receiving State applies any of the provisions of the present Convention restrictively because ofa restrictiveapplicationof that provision to its mission in the sending State;
(b) Where by custom or agreement States extend to each other more favourable treatmentthanis requiredby the provisionsof the present Convention.
The present Convention shall be openfor signature byall States Membersof the UnitedNationsor of any of the specialized agencies Parties to theStatuteof theInternationalCourtof Justice, and byany other State invited by the General Assembly of the United Nations to become a Partytothe Convention, as follows: until 31 October 1961 at the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Austria and subsequently, until31 March 1962, at the UnitedNations Headquarters in New York.
The present Convention is subject to ratification. Theinstrumentsofratificationshallbedeposited withthe Secretary-Generalof the United Nations.
The present Convention shall remain open for accession by any State belonging to any of the four categories mentioned in article 48. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary- General of the UnitedNations.
1. The present Convention shallenter intoforceon the thirtiethday followingthe dateof deposit of the twenty-second instrument of ratification or accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. For each State ratifying or acceding to the Convention after the deposit of the twenty-second instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtiethdayafter deposit by such Stateof its instrumentof ratificationor accession.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States belonging to any of the four categoriesmentionedin article 48:
(a) Of signatures to the present Convention and of the deposit of instrumentsofratificationor accession, in accordancewitharticles48, 49 and 50;
(b) Of the date on which the present Conventionwill enter into force, in accordancewitharticle 51.
The original of the present Convention, of which the Chinese, English, French, RussianandSpanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall send certified copies thereof to all States belonging to any of the four categories mentioned in article 48.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto by their respectiveGovernments, havesigned the present Convention.
DONE at Vienna this eighteenthday of Aprilone thousand nine hundred andsixty-one.