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What is the task of an Embassy? What is the task of a Consulate?
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).

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.

Special Cases:

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".

Special Cases:

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.

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