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
SA-33
Washington, DC 20522

[To print this chart, please use the pdf version.]





Category

May Be Arrested
or Detained
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           
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
Consular           
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 Organizations           
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.

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     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.