What is the task of an Embassy?
- An Embassy is the diplomatic representation of a country's government in another country.
- It transmits messages of its home government to the government of the host country and vice versa.
- It informs its home government about important political, social, economical, military and other events happening in the host country.
- It prepares international treaties and official state visits.
- It promotes its own home culture, economy and science in the host country.
- The military attaché is responsible for contacts between the two armed forces and for arms business.
- Many embassies (but not all of them) have a consular section exercising the functions of a consulate (see the green column on the right side).
- The diplomatic representation to an international organization (e.g. the United Nations or the European Union) is mostly called Mission, Permanent Mission or Delegation.
- A High Commission is the Embassy of a member country of the British Commonwealth in another Commonwealth country.
- A Nunciature ist the name of the embassy of the State of Vatican.
- Till the middle of the 20th Century, there was a difference between an embassy and a legation. Only the diplomatic representation of a monarchy were called "embassy". Republican countries had "legations". Nowadays this distinction is antiquated. All countries, wheter monarchies or republics call their diplomatic representations "embassies".
What is the task of a Consulate?
A Consulate is the representation of the public administration of a country in a foreign town.
First of all it is responsible for its own fellow- citizens, living or travelling in the host country. The most important duties of a consulate are:
- To establish and renew passports and other official documents.
- To report Births, Deaths, Marriages, Divorces, Adoptions etc. happened in the host country to the competent authorities home.
- To inform its own citizens living abroad about the social security situation
- To handle the military formalities and control for its own citizens liable to military service.
- To help its own citizens in distress or other emergency situations.
- To look after its own citizens in detention or arrest and to watch over the rule of law and fair trials.
- To establish entry visas to foreign citizens and to inform them about immigration-, residence- and work permits.
- A Consulate General is a big and important consulate, mostly in a large city.
- A Honorary Consulate or a Consular Agency has only limited competences. It is not managed by professional consular officers, but by a honorary consul. Most of them are distinguished business men or women or other trustworthy persons.
- In Capital Cities, the duties of a consulate are carried out often (but not always) by the Consular Section of the Embassy.