Guide for foreign diplomats serving in France

This guide presents the various advantages, guarantees and facilities granted to Staff of diplomatic missions posted to France, as well as the modalities of application on a day-to-day basis of their privileges and immunities.

It gives a broad description of the practices followed in France, in particular in accordance with the the Vienna Conventions of 1961 and 1963 on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

The guide offers guidance and advice on required administrative steps. It describes formalities on arrival in and departure from France, the various status categories, immunities, and customs and tax privileges. Information on daily life and useful addresses are also given.

General provisions

The rules described in this Vade Mecum apply to all categories of Staff of diplomatic missions and consular posts.

They also apply to family members of certain categories of agents, namely:

  • the spouse (excluding couples having entered into a Civil Solidarity Pact (PACS) or bound by any comparable legal ties, polygamous couples, common law spouses and spouses having French nationality)
  • unmarried children under 21 years of age and living in their parents’ household, i.e. legitimate and illegitimate children and children having been the subject of full adoption (excluding children under guardianship or legally received children)
  • dependant relatives in the ascending line (parents and parents-in-law)

These provisions do not systematically apply to French nationals, to dual nationals (i.e. citizens of a foreign country as well as French citizens), and to long-term residents. The details concerning such persons will be given in other sections.

Glossary of terms

In this Guide:

  • Missions : means diplomatic missions and consular posts.
  • Diplomatic Corps means all diplomatic agents, i.e. all heads of diplomatic missions and all diplomats
  • Consular officers means any person, including the head of a consular post, entrusted in that capacity with the exercise of consular functions.

updated : july 2012