The new regulations on foreign honorary consuls in Vietnam

Published on 18 - 04 - 2022
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On 14/4/2022, the Government issued the Decree No. 26/2022/ND-CP on foreign honorary consuls in Vietnam.

This Decree guides the provisions of Clause 2, Article 36 of the Ordinance on privileges and immunities for diplomatic missions, consular offices and representative offices of international organizations in Vietnam in 1993 on the procedures for accepting foreign honorary consuls in Vietnam and operating regulations of foreign honorary consuls in Vietnam.

Accordingly, honorary consular offices and honorary consuls are only allowed to perform consular functions in certain consular areas in Vietnam after being granted an Honorary Consular Acceptance by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam on the basis of conformity with international law and Vietnamese law.

Honorary consuls perform some or all of the consular functions provided for in the 1963 Vienna Convention on consular relations, as authorized by the sending State and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Honorary consuls perform consular functions not for profit or economic benefit but to promote relations between the sending State and Vietnam.

Honorary consuls may concurrently perform consular functions authorized by the sending State and carry out profitable commercial or professional activities of individuals in Vietnam; in accordance with the provisions of international treaties to which the sending State and Vietnam are parties and the laws of Vietnam.

Honorary consular offices and honorary consus are not entitled to the privileges and immunities granted to honorary consuls outside the scope of consular functions or when performing personal business and commerce in the territory of Vietnam and not use the honorary consular title for commercial and professional activities of individuals or outside the scope of consular functions.

The person who is approved to be an honorary consul must meet the following conditions: Having nationality of the sending country or Vietnam. In case a person has a nationality of a third country or the one with two or more nationalities, the consent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must be obtained according to the prescribed procedures. This consent to nationality may be withdrawn at any time without giving a reason. In this case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall send a diplomatic note to the sending State. Permanently residing in Vietnam or having resided and worked for at least 1 year in the consular area; not be a public official, public employee or employee receiving wages from the state budget of any country; arranging for a place of work or residence in the consular area of ​​the consular office of which the person is expected to be the head; having a clear criminal record; financial ability and prestige in society.

The Decree also stipulates that honorary consuls terminate their operation in the following cases: The term ends and the sending State does not notify the extension of the honorary consul's status; honorary consuls are dead, missing, detained, sentenced to prison, restricted or incapacitated for civil acts; honorary consul who wishes to discontinue his honorary consular status with the consent of the sending State; honorary consul has been revoked by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of an Honorary Consular Acceptance, which may be made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at any time without giving any reason; the sending State shall issue a diplomatic note notifying the honorary consular office of his termination.

In particular, an honorary consul may simultaneously perform consular functions authorized by the sending State and carry out profitable professional or commercial activities of an individual in Vietnam; in accordance with the provisions of international treaties to which the sending State and Vietnam are parties and the laws of Vietnam.

In addition, the honorary consul may not use diplomatic couriers, consular couriers, diplomatic bags, consular bags, and cryptographic codes to contact diplomatic missions and consular offices of the sending State or with the Government of the sending State, except in special cases after obtaining the permission of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Honorary consuls shall enjoy the rights to notify the sending State of arrest, detention or prosecution; the rights not to have to give evidence in connection with consular functions and immunity from trial in respect of official actions in the exercise of his consular functions.

Family members of the honorary consuls are not entitled to privileges and immunities.

This Decree takes effect from June 1, 2022.

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