A vital diplomatic network to France’s foreign policy


Embassies, consulates, Instituts Français, cooperation and cultural action services… who does what in the diplomatic network?

Ambassadors represent “all of France”. As such, they are responsible for everything that interests France vis-à-vis local authorities.
They mobilize and coordinate all those working for France in their areas of competence in their countries of residence. They may also be responsible for managing a cultural institution (local Institut Français) and play an active role in French lycées abroad.
Consuls are in charge of services provided to the French community as well as administrative procedures, voter registration, and the issuance of birth and marriage certificates.
Consulates also intervene when French nationals are arrested to ensure that their rights are respected. Working with the Ministry of the Interior, consulates also process applications for visas to enter France for foreigners wishing to study, work, or travel for pleasure or business.
• In embassies, cooperation and cultural action counsellors devise a strategy and implement cooperation actions. They work in the areas of culture, education, promotion of the French language, academic cooperation, sciences and technologies, and sustainable development. They also provide support to civil society in implementing or supporting solidarity policies (development assistance), outreach, influence and France’s appeal abroad.

For more information on the main roles of the diplomatic network

What are the main roles of the diplomatic network?

• Representing France, defending and promoting its interests in all areas
• Working for peace, security and human rights throughout the world
• Helping to organize globalization to ensure balanced and sustainable development
• Overseeing and protecting French nationals residing abroad

In what areas does it work?

Political diplomacy

• Defending France’s interests and positions including defence and security, human rights, economic diplomacy, development, cultural diplomacy and Francophonie
• Helping to craft and conduct France’s foreign policy
• Representing France in international organizations
• Defending France’s interests in the European Union

Economic diplomacy

• Defending the interests of France and its companies
• Promoting international development of companies to boost employment in France
• Defending France’s interests in the drafting of European and international rules
• Promoting France’s appeal to attract companies and investments

Soft diplomacy

• Promoting the French culture, Francophonie and contributing to development
• Disseminating French culture

Consular services

• Providing services to French nationals abroad (administrative and civil status procedures, assistance to French people experiencing difficulties, social assistance, protection)
• Issuing visas and providing services to French nationals wishing to enter France and the Schengen Area

Last update: Nov. 2021