About this site
This website is for use by diplomatic missions and international organisations staff. It explains:
- How the UK approaches its obligations to persons accorded privileges and immunities.
- Responsibilities that come with these privileges and immunities.
- How missions and individuals may claim their various entitlements.
- How Her Majesty’s Government expects diplomats and diplomatic missions to conduct themselves.
Entitled staff in diplomatic missions and international organisations should bring the contents of this guide to the notice of all members of their families, as the points covered apply to all persons who have an entitlement privilege and immunity.
In the United Kingdom there are over 200 diplomatic missions and consular offices, and the headquarters of some 40 international organisations. There are around 22,500 individuals in the United Kingdom entitled to some degree of privileges and immunities. This entitlement is accorded to them under United Kingdom legislation which gives the force of domestic law to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR).
This guide explains, in summary form, how the United Kingdom approaches its obligations to individuals accorded privileges and immunities, and sets out how missions and individuals may claim their various entitlements. The guide also describes the standards of behaviour expected of ‘entitled’ persons in the United Kingdom and the action likely to be taken by Protocol Directorate in the event of either a mission or an individual being judged to be abusing their status.
This guide is not definitive and does not supersede previous guidance issued in separate notices to diplomatic missions and consular offices. This guide does not commit Her Majesty’s Government in any way, nor is it intended to be an authoritative statement of its legal position.
Protocol Directorate provides guidance to Diplomatic Missions & International Organisations within the UK. This is done in conjunction with its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 (as enacted by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964) and the International Organisations Act 1968.
Foreign missions in the UK
Need to contact a foreign mission in the UK? Our find a foreign embassy in the UK section gives contact details.
Our Royal Households and Honours Secretariat deals with the Diplomatic Service and Overseas List (published in December and June each year) and honorary British awards given to foreign nationals. To find out more visit our Honours pages.
Conferences and events
Lancaster House, on the Mall in central London, is used extensively for government hospitality, and by outside organisations for conferences, meetings and entertaining. Managed by Protocol Directorate, and close to Buckingham Palace, this historic house offers a magnificent setting, a prestigious central location and first-class facilities for all types of events and hospitality. Steeped in political history and magnificently preserved, Lancaster House has a wide range of rooms and a large garden.
If you are interested in holding an event at Lancaster House, please contact:
Lancaster House Enquiries Team
Tel: 020 7008 2711
If you have not visited Lancaster House before you can find information and pictures on our website.
For more information, see the following information on GOV.UK: