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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Diplomatic and Consular Immunities


International law requires that law enforcement authorities of the United States extend certain privileges and immunities to members of foreign diplomatic missions and consular posts. The purpose of these privileges and immunities is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient and effective performance of their official missions on behalf of their governments. Most of these privileges and immunities are not absolute, and law enforcement officers retain their fundamental responsibility to protect and police the orderly conduct of persons in the United States.

For information on the arrest and detention of foreign nationals not possessing any form of diplomatic or consular immunity, please refer to Department of State Publication, Consular Notification and Access: Instructions for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement and Other Officials Regarding Foreign Nationals in the United States and the Rights of Consular Officials to Assist Them.

Additional information on this subject can be obtained at the following web page:

http://travel.state.gov/consularnotification

State Department representatives are available 24-hours daily to assist in emergency situations and when immediate confirmation of a perion's status is required. See Immunity Issues: Telephone Numbers.


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