Legal Aspects of Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges
This chart outlines the immunities afforded to foreign diplomatic personnel residing in the United States. More detailed information is provided in the publication Diplomatic and Consular Immunity: Guidance for Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities. For a free copy, please write:
Protective Liaison Division
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20522
[To print this chart, please use the pdf version.]
May Be Arrested
|Residence May be Entered Subject to Ordinary Procedures||May Be Issued Traffic Citation||
May Be Subpoenaed as Witness
May Be Prosecuted
Recognized Family Member
|Diplomatic Agent||No1||No||Yes||No||No||Same as sponsor (full immunity and inviolability).|
|Member of Administrative and Technical Staff||No1||No||Yes||No||No||Same as sponsor (full immunity and inviolability).|
|Service Staff||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No immunity or inviolability.2|
|Career Consular Officers||Yes, if for a felony and pursuant to a warrant.2||Yes4||Yes||No--for official acts. Testimony may not be compelled in any case.||No--for official acts. Otherwise, yes.2||No immunity or inviolability.2|
|Honorary Consular Officers||Yes||Yes||Yes||No--for official acts. Yes, in all other cases.||No--for official acts. Otherwise, yes.||No immunity or inviolability.|
|Consular Employees||Yes2||Yes||Yes||No--for official acts. Yes, in all other cases.||No--for official acts. Otherwise, yes.2||No immunity or inviolability.2|
|International OrganizationsStaff3||Yes3||Yes3||Yes||No--for official acts. Yes, in all other cases.||No--for official acts. Otherwise, yes.3||No immunity or inviolability.|
|Diplomatic-Level Staff of Missions to International Organizations||No1||No||Yes||No||No||Same as sponsor (full immunity and inviolability).|
|Support Staff of Missions to International Organizations||Yes||Yes||Yes||No--for official acts. Yes, in all other cases.||No--for official acts. Otherwise, yes.||No immunity or inviolability.|
1Reasonable constraints, however, may be applied in emergency circumstances involving self-defense, public safety, or the prevention of serious criminal acts.
2This table presents general rules. Particularly in the cases indicated, the employees of certain foreign countries may enjoy higher levels of privileges and immunities on the basis of special bilateral agreements.
3A small number of senior officers are entitled to be treated identically to "diplomatic agents."
4Note that consular residences are sometimes located within the official consular premises. In such cases, only the official office space is protected from police entry.