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Accreditation denotes the appointment of a person to
serve as diplomat of the sending state to the receiving
state(s). A diplomat may be concurrently accredited
to more than one country when the diplomatic mission
covers two or more countries.
An ambassador is a diplomat who has been appointed
by the sending state to represent its interests in the
receiving state. The ambassador is the top official
of an embassy.
An Apostolic Nunciature is a permanent diplomatic
mission of the Holy See (the Vatican in Rome).
Only diplomatic missions of the Holy See are named
Apostolic Nunciature, and the mission is headed by an
An Apostolic Nuncio, also known as a Papal Nuncio,
is a permanent diplomatic representative of the Holy See
to a receiving state having ambassadorial rank. In
Catholic states, representatives of the Holy See
automatically becomes Deans of the Diplomatic Corps
- a ceremonial position usually reserved for the longest
serving ambassador to a state.
An attaché is a person assigned to the diplomatic
staff of a diplomatic mission. Normally, the attaché has
specific responsibilities e.g. military air and
naval attaché, agricultural attaché etc.
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The Chancery, sometimes referred to as Chancellery,
is the building or offices that house the diplomatic
mission itself, and this is where day-to-day
diplomatic activities take place.
A consul is the head of a consulate. There are four
different types of consuls: Consul-General, Consul,
Vice-Consul and Consular Agent.
The Consular Corps, also referred to as Corps
Consulaire, is the body of foreign heads of consular
missions residing in the receiving country. The
Corps may comprise honorary as well as career consuls.
A consulate is a type of foreign representation that one country establishes
in another country. Unlike an
embassy, the consulate is not assigned any
intergovernmental diplomatic powers. Its primary function is to
promote trade and investment, and in many cases a
consulate also issues passports and visas.
There are four different types of consulates:
Consulate-General, Consulate, Vice-Consulate and Consular
Agency. The juridisction of the individual
consulate may vary, but the consulates rank as shown above.
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The title Dean of the Diplomatic Corps is, in
most countries, given to the residing ambassador or high
commissioner who has held accreditation for the
longest period of time. In many catholic countries, the Dean
of the Diplomatic Corps is usually the Apostolic
A diplomat is a person who is involved in
diplomacy. The diplomat is given special authority to act on behalf of
the sending state in the states to which he or she
The Diplomatic Corps, also referred to as Corps
Diplomatique, is the body of foreign heads of diplomatic
missions residing in the receiving country.
The diplomatic service is the body of diplomats and
other foreign service personnel of one country in other
countries. The diplomatic personnel enjoys
diplomatic immunity in the country to which it is accredited.
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An embassy is a permanent diplomatic mission that
one country establishes in another country. Its role is to
protect the interests of the sending state in the
receiving state and in the states to which the embassy is
accredited. An embassy is normally headed by an
An exequatur is an official authorisation letter
issued by the receiving state. The head of the consular post
can only perform his or her consular duties when
such letter has been issued.
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
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The diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth state to
another is called a High Commission. The High
Commission generally works in the same way as an
embassy, housing the Chancery and in some cases also
the High Commissioner's residence.
In the Commonwealth of Nations, the High
Commissioner is a senior diplomat who has been given special
authority to represent one Commonwealth government
to another on the highest level. The High
Commissioner heads the High Commission and he or
she has ambassadorial rank.
Honorary / Career (Consul)
A consulate may be headed by a career consul or by an honorary consul. The
latter type of consul is a private
individual, normally a member of the business
community in the receiving state, who has been appointed to
take care of consular matters between the sending
and receiving states. The honorary consul does not receive
any salary. An honorary consul may be a citizen of
the sending, receiving or a third state. A career consul is in
most cases a citizen of the sending states, and he
or she is employed directly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the sending state. Unlike an honorary consul, a
career consul enjoys some diplomatic privileges.
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A Legation was a term used to denote a diplomatic
mission ranking lower than an embassy. Where larger
countries would normally maintain embassies,
smaller countries would instead maintain Legations. This
distinction was, however, abandoned after the
Second World War.
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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Persona non grata
A persona non grata is a diplomatic who, for one
reason or another, is no longer accepted by the government
to which he is accredited.
A Permanent Mission is a diplomatic post of a state
to an international organisation, e.g. the United
Nations and the European Union.
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