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Protocol Guidelines

4. Visas and accreditation

All home-based staff must be formally nominated and accepted by the Australian Government before travelling to Australia to take up their appointments. This is done through the request for and grant of visas. For diplomatic and consular officials, visas must be formally requested by the sending state's foreign ministry; for staff of international organisations, visa requests must be made by the organisation's headquarters. The Australian diplomatic mission or consulate with responsibility for the sending country or organisation can advise what details are required for the visa request to be considered by Protocol Branch. Additional information such as a full job description and CV may be required.

For defence attachés/advisers and their deputies, who must be serving military personnel, a nomination and full curriculum vitae must be provided four to six weeks before planned travel to Australia. Confirmation of acceptance must be obtained before visas are requested. Defence attachés/advisers and their deputies will be given diplomatic accreditation.

Clerical support staff/assistants to defence attachés/advisers (who may be military personnel or civilians) do not have to be nominated and approved in advance. They will be given Administrative and Technical accreditation.

Prior approval must also be obtained for career heads of consular posts. A note verbale nominating the head of post and a full curriculum vitae must be provided at least four weeks before proposed commencement in the role. Once acceptance of the appointment is confirmed by Protocol Branch, a diplomatic visa should be requested. Exequaturs are not issued to career consuls.

Transfers within Australia e.g. from a diplomatic mission in Canberra to a consular post interstate – are treated as new postings, and formal nomination by the foreign ministry is required. Once the transfer is approved by Protocol Branch, departure and arrival documentation must be submitted before the new accreditation can be finalised.

An incoming official's accreditation should match that of the person they are replacing. For a new position, a full description of the role and duties is required to enable the correct accreditation to be determined. If an official is assigned to a position that has been vacant for more than two years, this will be treated as a new position, and comprehensive information will be required.

The Australian Government does not accept the appointment of Australian citizens or permanent residents as diplomatic or consular representatives of another country unless there are exceptional circumstances. If consent is given, privileges and immunities will be strictly limited in accordance with Article 38.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or Article 71 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Any person who chooses to renounce their Australian citizenship or permanent resident status to assume a diplomatic or consular role for another country would need to apply to the Department of Home Affairs on completion of their assignment to have their citizenship or permanent residency reinstated. There is no guarantee that such an application would be successful.

Last Updated: 25 June 2019
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