10 Difference Between Embassy And Consulate

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What Is An Embassy?

An embassy is a diplomatic mission in the capital of a foreign country with the sole purpose of acting as representative of the home country. In most basic terms, ‘’embassy’’ refers to both a diplomatic mission that is set up permanently in a host country and the actual building that is home to embassy offices.

Basically, embassies are mechanisms that allow governments to form relationships with each other. The head of the embassy is referred to as an Ambassador or High Commissioner. An embassy may have a number of departments concerned with political, economic, public diplomacy, military and intelligence and liaison issues, internal embassy administration and support, and of course consular services.

Usually, if a country recognizes another as being sovereign, an embassy is established to maintain foreign relations and provide assistance to citizens of both countries in the host country.

Embassy Of USA In India

What You Need To Know About Embassy

  • Under Vienna convention for diplomatic relations 1961, an embassy is a diplomatic mission in the capital of a foreign country with the sole purpose of acting as representative of the home country.
  • An embassy represents the government of one country to the government of another country.
  • Embassies are generally located in the capital cities (seat of government) of the host country.  The reason why embassies are located in the capital city is to make them easily accessible to their citizens in case of an emergency such as a war.
  • An embassy and diplomatic employees have full and absolute inviolability and immunities towards host state authorities including its judiciary.
  • An embassy is the larger representation.
  • An embassy deals directly with the office of the head of government back home and their roles include exchange of messages between its government and the host country. Embassies also focus primarily on non-personal interactions and work on promoting a growth of relations between the two countries.
  • An embassy is headed by an ambassador or high commissioner.
  • A host country can have only one ambassador and one embassy.

What Is A Consulate?

A consulate is the representation of the public administration of a country in a foreign town. They are generally an extension of embassy/high commission to major cities of host country other than capital for specific task of social, economic and cultural ties. A consulate is headed by a consul-general or a honorary consul.        

Given that the mission of a consulate involves interacting with a wide variety of people in general, there may be a need for a consulate anywhere there are enough people. The consulate may be located at significant host country centers of population, business or other points of interest to the embassy and its home country. If the host country is large enough, a country will establish multiple consulates in that host country.

The consulates may provide only consular services or encompass a broader range of activity. In specific instances where there is no embassy, a consulate is permitted to perform diplomatic duties like negotiating policies and treaties.

 A country may even have separate diplomatic facilities in a given country that are larger than its consulates such as a mission to an intergovernmental organization or a non-resident-embassy.

Consulate Of USA In Mumbai

What You Need To Know About Consulate

  • Under Vienna convention for consular relations 1963, a consulate does not represent the sending state in front of the host state. Basically, the consulate does not attend to administrative and logistic affairs to the subjects and residents of the sending state.
  • Consulates are extensions of embassy/high commission to major cities of host country other than capital for specific task of social, economic and cultural ties. They are kind of like satellite offices for the embassy in other parts of the host country.
  • A consulate and consular employees only have limited inviolability and immunities in front of host state authorities.  
  • A consulate is only a smaller version of the embassy.
  • Consulates work primarily with individual citizens and focuses on consular services. These are things like issuing emergence passports, issuing of visas, helping citizens of the state they represent to obtain visas or any other personal services.
  • A consulate is headed by a consul-general or a honorary consul.
  • A consulate-general represents the sending country in cities outside the national or seat of government, especially in large economies like New York or Beijing.
  • Consulates may not necessarily be headed by diplomatic corps from the sending country, but rather by a honorary consul who is a citizen of the host country, who is paid for expenses rather than a salary.
  • A host country can have one or more consulates, each with their unique role dependent or independent of each other.
  • It is possible for two countries to have consular relations with each other, but not diplomatic relations.

Also Read: Difference Between Embassy And High Commission

Difference Between Embassy And Consulate In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON EMBASSY CONSULATE
Description An embassy is a diplomatic mission in the capital of a foreign country with the sole purpose of acting as representative of the home country. Consulates are extensions of embassy/high commission to major cities of host country other than capital for specific task of social, economic and cultural ties.
Accreditation Embassy is accredited under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Consulates are accredited under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. 
Nature An embassy is the larger representation.   A consulate is only a smaller version of the embassy.  
Representation Embassy is the diplomatic representation of a government in another nation. Consulate is the representation of public administration of a country in a foreign town.
Main Function Embassy is mainly responsible for handling of diplomatic relations and inter-state trade issues. Consulates work primarily with individual citizens and focuses on consular services.
Scope Of Services Offers a full range of services including consular services. Only offers consular services and a limited range of services. In specific instances where there is no embassy, a consulate is permitted to perform diplomatic duties.
Head An embassy is headed by an ambassador or high commissioner.   A consulate or consulate-general is headed by a consul-general or a honorary consul.  
Immunity Of Employees An embassy and diplomatic employees have full and absolute inviolability and immunities towards host state authorities including its judiciary.   A consulate and consular employees only have limited inviolability and immunities in front of host state authorities.   
Location Embassies are generally located in the capital cities (seat of government) of the host country.  A consulate-general represents the sending country in cities outside the national or seat of government, especially in large economies like New York or Beijing.  
Number A host country can have only one ambassador and one embassy.   A host country can have one or more consulates, each with their unique role dependent or independent of each other.  
Nature It is not possible for two countries to have embassies in one another’s country if there is no diplomatic relation. It is possible for two countries to have consular relations with each other, but not diplomatic relations.  
An embassy deals directly with the office of the head of government back home and their roles include exchange of messages between its government and the host country. A consulate does not directly deal with the head of government back home, unless circumstances call for it.  

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