Foreign Missions enjoying diplomatic or consular privileges and immunities have a duty under international law to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. The operation of a motor vehicle in the United States by such persons is not a right, but a privilege that may be withdrawn in cases of abuse. Foreign Missions must resolve by either prepayment of fines or by adjudication by local judicial authorities all violations of U.S. traffic regulations. Failure to do so may result in the suspension of driving privileges. OFM maintains official driving records on members of the Foreign Missions Community issued Department of State driver's licenses, and utilizes a demerit point system to record motor vehicle law violations.
All Mission members receiving a minor traffic ticket that carries a fine are expected to either pay the fine or contest the ticket in the appropriate court. If the ticket is contested, a court appearance is required. If appropriate, the Department of State will request that applicable immunities be waived by the sending government so that the member of the Foreign Mission Community may appear in court to contest the ticket. An express waiver of immunity must be granted before this can happen.
When a Mission member is cited for a more serious traffic violation that requires a court appearance, the Department will request an express waiver of immunity by the sending government to allow adjudication by the local court. If immunity is waived, the Department will abide by the court's disposition of the case and annotate the member's driving record accordingly. If the waiver of immunity is denied, the Department will certify the individual's immunity status to the court, and assess the appropriate demerit points on the mission member's driving record.
Alcohol-related driving offenses are of particular concern to the Department because of the serious threat they present to public safety. Adjudication of these types of offenses by either local judicial authorities or by separate administrative action by the Department usually results in the suspension of driving privileges. Repeat alcohol-related driving offenses or other serious driving violations will result in a request to have the mission member depart the United States.
Point System: An accumulation of eight points on a driving record in a two-year period will cause a review and possible administrative action. A twelve-point accumulation within a two-year period will cause all license and driving privileges to be suspended. Habitual violation of traffic laws also will result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges. The Department of State will request the recall of any person who demonstrates a serious disregard for U.S. law or public safety.
The Department requests that mission members fax all citations received for any moving violation to the DMV Enforcement Program at 202-895-3646.
For questions and concerns regarding the DMV Enforcement Program, please forward requests to the contact information listed below:
Diplomatic Motor Vehicle Office
3507 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008-3025
PHONE: (202) 895-3500
FAX: (202) 895-3646