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Protocol Guidelines

15.6 Accompanying security personnel

Australian authorities provide comprehensive protective security arrangements for Internationally Protected Persons, including heads of state, heads of government, guests of government and other VIPs against whom an assessed security threat exists. This includes the use of close protection police officers and the implementation of appropriate transport, accommodation and venue security arrangements.

It is a long-standing policy of the Australian Government that foreign security personnel accompanying foreign dignitaries on visits to Australia are not permitted to carry firearms. This policy is based on the very high standard of protective security arrangements provided by Australian authorities. Foreign security personnel are also not permitted to import or carry prohibited items which include ballistic vests, or any other type of weapon, including batons, tasers, handcuffs and sprays. Any security personnel accompanying a foreign dignitary may be subjected to electronic security screening and may also be required to allow Australian officials to inspect their bags. In the event that a weapon or prohibited item is detected, it could be immediately impounded by Australian security authorities. Any person who breaches Australian law through the undeclared importation, carriage or use of prohibited items may be liable to prosecution.

Where foreign security personnel are carrying weapons for other purposes, such as visits to other countries, those firearms and other weapons must be handed over to ABF officers on arrival for safe keeping. The weapons will be returned to the security personnel at the point of departure from Australia. Prior arrangements must be made with ABF. It should be noted that it is an offence to carry firearms and/or ammunition in the passenger compartment of any commercial passenger aircraft entering, leaving or flying within Australia.

Visiting foreign dignitaries should be accommodated in a security-approved hotel. Where the dignitary wishes to stay at a mission or private residence, the additional cost of guarding the mission/residence will be at the expense of the relevant mission.

15.6.1 Hand-held radios

If foreign security personnel wish to bring hand-held radios into Australia, approval must be sought in advance for the proposed frequencies. For visits by heads of state or heads of government, the request, containing full details of the equipment, should be submitted to the Protocol and International Visits Division (PIVD) of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at well in advance of the visit. For other senior foreign visitors, the request should be submitted to the Australian Federal Police for approval: email -

Last Updated: 13 February 2019
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