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About the department

Roles and responsibilities of embassies and other representative offices


The usual term for the main representative office of one country in the capital city of another; usually headed by an Ambassador.

High Commission

Equivalent to an Embassy. This is the main representative office of a Commonwealth country (e.g. Australia, Canada) in the capital city of another Commonwealth country (e.g. India, the United Kingdom); headed by a High Commissioner.

Consulate or Consulate-General

A lower level representative office, usually located in a city outside the capital city (e.g. in Indonesia Australia has an Embassy in Jakarta, and a Consulate-General in Bali); headed by a Consul-General.

Consulate headed by an Honorary Consul

Some Australian Consulates are headed by an Honorary Consul.This is usually a private businessperson (mostly an Australian citizen) who agrees to perform limited consular functions on a part-time basis, in a city where Australia does not have an Australia-based representative.

Vienna Convention Treaties

Last Updated: 24 January 2013
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