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Preface

This publication is by no means an exhaustive review of protocol matters and diplomatic etiquette. Its objective is to formulate basic guidelines and fundamental norms and practices of protocol and administrative requirements accepted at the United Nations Headquarters.

Much of what is written in the following pages has been gathered over the years from practical experience and common sense successfully applied at the United Nations since its inception. In preparing this manual, important documents such as the Headquarters Agreement between the United Nations and the United States of America and legal texts such as United Nations resolutions and other relevant documents have been used. It is recommended that every Permanent Mission and Observer Office keep a copy of this publication, for it contains important information on administrative and diplomatic procedures, compliance with which will greatly facilitate the activities of the diplomatic community stationed at the United Nations Headquarters.

The United Nations Protocol and Liaison Service sincerely hopes that this manual will enhance the co-operation between Permanent Missions, Observer Offices, and the Protocol and Liaison Service, which serves the international community at the United Nations Headquarters.

This manual includes, whenever necessary, references to relevant information provided by third parties, which maybe subject to change in the future by those parties. While continuously striving to maintain the accuracy of the information provided, the Protocol and Liaison Service cannot be held responsible for any such changes.

I. Functions and Duties

The Protocol and Liaison Service is a division of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM) of the United Nations. It is located on the west side of the second floor of the Secretariat Building, near the low-rise elevator bank, in Room S-0200 (Tel: 212-963-7171; Fax: 212-963-1921; website: https://protocol.un.org/).

In accordance with the mandate given by the Secretary-General to the Protocol and Liaison Service, its basic functions and duties include the following:

(a) To register all diplomatic personnel and support staff of Permanent Missions and Observer Offices; their dependents and household employees; to provide them with proper United Nations grounds passes; to certify applications for parking decals; to process requests for diplomatic privileges and immunities for diplomatic personnel of Permanent Missions; and to maintain and update files with relevant data on all the members of the Permanent Missions and Observer Offices;

(b) To register members of the governmental or intergovernmental delegations, representatives of specialized agencies, and associate members of regional commissions participating in the sessions of the General Assembly or other meetings held at the Headquarters and at other relevant multilateral conferences held away from the Headquarters, and to provide them with appropriate grounds passes;

(c) To assist Permanent Missions and Observer Offices with the preparation of official visits to Headquarters by Heads of State, Heads of Government and other high state officials or dignitaries; to coordinate major official observances such as the presentation of credentials to the Secretary-General by newly-appointed Permanent Representatives, as well as the presentation of letters of appointment by Permanent Observers; to aid Permanent Missions and Observer Offices with the organization of official, cultural and social functions at Headquarters; to assist with arrangements for flag-raising ceremonies for newly admitted Member States, the observance of official mournings, etc.;

(d) To maintain and update comprehensive lists of heads of State, heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the United Nations, heads of the Permanent Missions and their spouses as well as senior officials of the United Nations, etc. These lists are available on the Protocol and Liaison Service website at https://protocol.un.org/;

(e) To maintain an up-to-date comprehensive list (the "Blue Book") of the diplomatic personnel of all Permanent Missions and Observer Offices, available at https://protocol.un.org/dgacm/pls/site.nsf/BlueBook.xsp ;

(f) To advise Permanent Missions and Observer Offices, specialized agencies and the departments/offices of the United Nations Secretariat on matters of protocol usage and practice and norms of diplomatic etiquette accepted at the United Nations; and to provide briefings and lectures on matters of protocol and diplomatic etiquette.

II. Establishing a New Permanent Mission in New York

When a country has been admitted by the General Assembly as a Member State of the United Nations, it is expected that it will establish a Permanent Mission at the United Nations Headquarters or at other major United Nations centres, such as Geneva or Vienna, and appoint a Permanent Representative. By its Resolution 257 A (III), the General Assembly expressed its opinion that the presence of the Permanent Mission and the Permanent Representative of a Member State at the seat of the Organization would serve to assist in the realization of the purposes and principles of the United Nations and to keep the necessary liaison between the Member States and the Secretariat.

In conformity with international law and United Nations practice, the term "Permanent Representative" has a clear interpretation. At the United Nations, this term was institutionalized by the General Assembly in its Resolution 257 A (III) wherein it recommended, inter alia, that credentials of newly appointed Permanent Representatives be issued by either the Head of State or Government or Minister for Foreign Affairs and that in the case of the temporary absence of the Permanent Representative from the seat of the Organization, the Secretary-General of the United Nations be notified of the name of the person who would be in charge of the Mission as Chargé d'Affaires a.i.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that the term "Permanent Representative of a Member State to the United Nations" defines a person of the appropriate diplomatic rank who permanently (as distinct from temporarily) resides at the seat of the Organization and is the head of an established permanent representation (Mission) with a postal address, a telephone number and an e-mail address.

III. Letters of Credentials

On 3 December 1948, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 257 (III) A regarding permanent missions of the Member States to the United Nations. The resolution reads as follows:

"The General Assembly,

"Considering that, since the creation of the United Nations, the practice has developed of establishing, at the seat of the Organization, permanent missions of Member States,

"Considering that the presence of such permanent missions serves to assist in the realization of the purposes and principles of the United Nations and, in particular, to keep the necessary liaison between the Member States and the Secretariat in periods between sessions of the different organs of the United Nations,

"Considering that in these circumstances the generalization of the institution of permanent missions can be foreseen, and that the submission of credentials of permanent representatives should be regulated,

"Recommends

"1. That credentials of the permanent representatives shall be issued either by the Head of the State or by the Head of the Government or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and shall be transmitted to the Secretary-General;

"2. That the appointments and changes of members of the permanent missions other than the permanent representative shall be communicated in writing to the Secretary-General by the head of the mission;

"3. That the permanent representative, in case of temporary absence, shall notify the Secretary-General of the name of the member of the mission who will perform the duties of head of the mission;

"4. That Member States desiring their permanent representatives to represent them on one or more of the organs of the United Nations should specify the organs in the credentials transmitted to the Secretary-General;

"Instructs the Secretary-General to submit, at each regular session of the General Assembly, a report on the credentials of the permanent representatives accredited to the United Nations."

The annex to the report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly at its fourth session on the Permanent Missions to the United Nations gave a form of credentials which, in the light of the above resolution, appears to be satisfactory and which, accordingly, has been used to create the following form as a guide to the drafting of such instruments.

It should be noted that all letters of credentials must be addressed by name to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Accreditation to all organs of the United Nations has become the accepted standard practice.


Standard form of the letter of credentials

“[Name and title of the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister of Foreign Affairs]


to
His / Her Excellency
Mr./Ms. [First Name] [Last Name],
Secretary-General of the United Nations

Mr./Madam Secretary-General,

Whereas the Government of ... has set up at the seat of the United Nations a permanent mission to maintain necessary contact with the Secretariat of the Organization,

Now therefore we ... [name and title] … have appointed and by these presents do confirm as Permanent Representative to the United Nations His/Her Excellency ... [name and title] Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

His/Her Excellency ... is instructed to represent the Government of ... in all organs of the United Nations. He/She is also authorized to designate a substitute to act temporarily on his/her behalf after due notice to the Secretary-General.



In faith whereof we have signed these presents at . . . . . on . . . . .
[Signature][title]
[Head of the State, Head of the
Government or Minister of Foreign Affairs]

It is important to note that where a Government desires to accredit its Permanent Representative to specific organs of the United Nations only, the beginning of the third paragraph of this standard form of the letters of credentials (shown above) might be altered to read:

“His/Her Excellency . . . . . is instructed to represent the Government of . . . . . in the following organs of the United Nations: ..."

In accordance with past institutional practice, Member States elected to the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the Trusteeship Council are required under the relevant rules of procedure to submit separate credentials for their representatives in each of these organs.

It has become the standard for the Governments of Member States to appoint Permanent Representatives to the United Nations with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

IV. Appointment of a New Permanent Representative

When appointing a new Permanent Representative, it is not necessary to secure agreement from the Secretary-General. It is advisable that the Permanent Mission concerned submit, at the earliest opportunity, details of the Permanent Representative's arrival date, means of transport and port of entry into the United States of America to the Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the United Nations, so that the necessary customs and immigration clearances may be obtained from the United States authorities and arrangements can be made for extending to him/her the usual diplomatic courtesies upon arrival.

The Permanent Mission should submit the curriculum vitae and a copy of the letter of credentials of the new Permanent Representative to the Chief of Protocol as soon as possible, in order to ensure that the letter of credentials corresponds to the accepted standard.

Upon the arrival of the new Permanent Representative in New York, he/she should arrange an appointment with the Chief of Protocol in order to be briefed on the details of the established procedure for the presentation of credentials to the Secretary-General. The official portrait of the new Permanent Representative will normally be taken by the United Nations photographer on the same day of the new Permanent Representative’s meeting with the Chief of Protocol. After this meeting, the Chief of Protocol will finalize the necessary arrangements, such as confirming the date and time, for the new Permanent Representative to present his/her letter of credentials to the Secretary-General.

The recommended attire for the ceremony of the presentation of credentials is business suit, preferably dark, or national dress.

On the day and time agreed upon, the Chief of Protocol will escort the new Permanent Representative to the office of the Secretary-General for the ceremony of the presentation of credentials. The new Permanent Representative may be accompanied by one or two members of his/her Permanent Mission during the ceremony of the presentation of credentials. The presentation will be recorded by the United Nations visual media.

It is expected that, at the time of the presentation of credentials, the new Permanent Representative will make a brief statement to the Secretary-General.

A press release containing biographical data on the new Permanent Representative and announcing his/her presentation of credentials to the Secretary-General will be issued by the Department of Global Communications on the same day.

It is customary for a newly appointed Permanent Representative to call on the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council, as well as on senior officials of the Secretariat. It is suggested that the new Permanent Representative inform all other Permanent Representatives in writing that he/she has presented his/her letter of credentials to the Secretary-General and assumed his/her duties. Apart from that, the Chief of Protocol informs all departments and offices of the United Nations of the presentation of credentials of the new Permanent Representative.

As to the procedure of the accreditation of a Permanent Representative of a Member State to the offices of the United Nations at Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut and Santiago, a letter of credentials should be addressed, by name, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and presented to the Secretary-General’s representative at the aforementioned duty stations, who will accept it on behalf of the Secretary-General. A copy of the letter of credentials should be forwarded to the Chief of Protocol at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

V. Establishing a New Observer Office in New York and Appointment of a New Permanent Observer

When an organization or entity, which has been granted observer status by the General Assembly of the United Nations, proceeds with the establishment of an Observer Office at the seat of the United Nations in New York, the head of the respective observer organization or entity should inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations of its decision in a letter and include the name of the official appointed as Permanent Observer of the organization or entity to the United Nations. The letter should be copied to the Protocol and Liaison Service.

The Protocol and Liaison Service should also be communicated the address and other contact information of the new Observer Office of the organization or entity in New York, including the telephone/facsimile numbers and an e-mail address.

On the day and time agreed upon, the Chief of Protocol will escort the new Permanent Observer to the office of the Secretary-General for the ceremony of the presentation of his/her letter of appointment to the Secretary-General. The ceremony is very similar to the one described above for the presentation of credentials of new Permanent Representatives.

VI. Letters and Notes Verbales

All correspondence addressed to the Protocol and Liaison Service at United Nations Headquarters should be addressed to the Chief of Protocol. Diplomatic appointments, promotions, departures, etc., as well as any personnel movements, should be announced in a letter (not a note verbale) addressed to the Secretary-General. Any official communication containing important information regarding the Governments of the Member States, changes in the official name of the Member States, changes in the national flag of the Member States, etc., should also be communicated in a letter by the head of the Mission.

Notes verbales addressed to the Protocol and Liaison Service are normally used to communicate routine administrative matters other than personnel matters, such as updates of Mission contact information and closures of a Mission due to a national holiday. Such notes should depict the official seal of the Mission and bear the initials of the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer.

VII. Registration of Members of the Permanent Missions and Observer Offices

The names of all members of Permanent Missions and Observer Offices, whether diplomatic or non-diplomatic, and of their accompanying family members and/or household employees should, upon their arrival at the United Nations Headquarters, be communicated to the Protocol and Liaison Service. For this purpose, the following documents, as applicable, should be sent to the Protocol and Liaison Service.

(a) Persons with diplomatic status:

(i) An official letter (not a note verbale) addressed to the Secretary-General and signed by the Permanent Representative or Chargé d'Affaires a.i., stating:

a. Name, diplomatic rank, functional title (if any), and date of appointment;

b. Request for corresponding diplomatic privileges and immunities;

c. Order of precedence at the mission;

(ii) A duly completed typed “Registration of Members of Permanent Missions or Observer Offices” form (Form SG.5), including the requested information on all family members and/or household employee(s) accompanying and residing with the diplomat, signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer and affixed with the mission’s official seal;

(iii) Two colour passport-size photographs taken within the last six months for diplomats, their spouses and children between the ages of 16 and 21; one colour passport-size photograph taken within the last six months for household employees;

(iv) Original of the diplomatic passport, with a valid arrival/departure record (Form I-94) for the most recent entry into the United States, for the diplomat and all members of the diplomat's household accompanying and residing with the diplomat, including the original of the corresponding passport for household employee(s);

(v) A duly completed typed “Request for United Nations Grounds Pass for Members of Permanent Missions or Observer Offices” form (Form SG.32) for the principal and spouse only, signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative office and affixed with the mission’s official seal.

(b) Support and technical staff without diplomatic status (except household employees):

(i) An official letter (not a note verbale) addressed to the Chief of Protocol and signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer, stating the name, functional title and date of appointment;

(ii) A duly completed typed registration form (Form SG.5), including the requested information on all family members and household employee(s) accompanying and residing with the staff member, signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer and affixed with the mission’s official seal;

(iii) Two colour passport-size photographs taken within the last six months;

(iv) Original of the passport, with a valid arrival/departure record (Form I-94) for the most recent entry into the United States, for the staff member and all members of the staff member’s household accompanying and residing with the staff member, including household employee(s);

(v) A duly completed typed application form for a United Nations grounds pass (Form SG.32) for the staff member only, signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer and affixed with the mission’s official seal.

(c) Household employees (if registered separately):

(i) An official letter (not a note verbale) addressed to the Chief of Protocol and signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer, stating the name, occupational title and effective date of appointment;

(ii) A duly completed typed registration form (Form SG.5), including the requested information on all family members accompanying and residing with the household employee (if any), signed by the employer and affixed with the mission’s official seal;

(iii) One colour passport-size photograph taken within the last six months;

(iv) Original of the passport, with a valid arrival/departure record (Form I-94) for the most recent entry into the United States, for the household employee and all members of his/her family (if any);

(v) A copy of the employment contract between the employer and the household employee.

(d) Persons with dual accreditation:

When a Permanent Representatives of a Member States is dually accredited to the United Nations and the United States of America, in addition to the procedures outlined in section (a) above, such dual accreditation must be indicated on the registration form (Form SG.5) after being cleared by the United States Department of State. All other mission personnel, both diplomatic and non-diplomatic, who may work simultaneously at the missions and embassies, consulates or other diplomatic, commercial or media representations, should also obtain a prior clearance for dual accreditation from the United States Department of State and submit a copy thereof to the United Nations Protocol and Liaison Service at the time of registration. Those who have dual accreditation will retain their A-1 visa status.

(e) Interns:

Interns should be registered with the Protocol and Liaison Service like any other member of the Permanent Missions and Observer Offices. Interns should be at least 18 years of age at the time of registration. Internship is for a short term and the appointment letter must specify the duration of internship and whether or not the intern will be remunerated.

(i) An official letter (not a note verbale) addressed to the Chief of Protocol and signed by the Head of Chancery or principal administrative officer, stating the name, functional title, starting date and duration of internship;

(ii) A duly completed typed registration form (Form SG.5) pertaining to the intern, including the requested information on the intern and any family members accompanying and residing with the intern (if any), signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer and affixed with the Mission’s official seal;

(iii) Two colour passport-size photographs taken within the last six months;

(iv) Original of the passport for the intern, with a valid arrival/departure record (Form I-94) for the most recent entry into the United States;

(v) A duly completed typed application form for a United Nations grounds pass (Form SG.32) for the intern only, signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer and affixed with the Mission’s official seal.

Interns at the Permanent Missions should have the correct visa status (G2). Please note that in most cases, the Host Country will not accept the registration of interns admitted to the United States on a B1/B2 visa status or under a Visa Waiver Program.


It is important to note the following:


(a) For the registration of a new Permanent Representative, no letter from the mission is required. A copy of the previously-issued letter of credentials signed by the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister of Foreign Affairs of the sending State is sufficient;

(b) United Nations grounds passes are not issued to the spouses of the non-diplomatic staff members or the household employees. United Nations grounds passes are not issued to the children of either diplomatic or non-diplomatic staff members of the Missions;

(c) All diplomats and non-diplomats are required to register with the Protocol and Liaison Service all members of their immediate families (who are accompanying and residing with the principal) and household employees;

(d) The registration form should contain the current private address located within the tri-state area and the telephone number of the person to be registered. The address of the Permanent Mission as the private address is not acceptable unless the person being registered actually resides in a residential unit on the premises of such Permanent Mission;

(e) Permanent residents of the United States must include the original passports of their countries of citizenship and a copy of their alien registration card along with the registration form (Form SG.5);

(f) When a staff member is married to another member of the mission, who is also employed by another or the same mission, both must be registered separately in their corresponding functional capacities.

(g) Non-immigrant household employees are granted G-5 visas. If the I-94 forms of those employees are near expiration, employees may apply to the Permanent Mission of the United States of America for extensions prior to the expiration of their authorized duration of stay in the United States. The United States Mission performs that service for G-5 visa holders. There is therefore no need for employees to go directly to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Such extensions require a completed and signed application (form I-539), an arrival and departure record (form I-94) and a letter from the employer confirming continuation of employment of the household employee in question together with a copy of the employment contract.

VIII. Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities

Diplomatic personnel of Permanent Missions of Member States are entitled to the privileges and immunities laid down in Article V, Section 15, of the “Agreement between the United Nations and the United States of America regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations” ("Headquarters Agreement"), which applies to:

"1. Every person designated by a Member as the principal Permanent Representative to the United Nations of such Member or as a Permanent Representative with the rank of ambassador or minister plenipotentiary;

2. Such resident members of their staff as may be agreed upon between the Secretary-General, the Government of the United States and the Government of the Member concerned;".

The procedure to be followed in this case is as follows:

(a) Permanent Representatives and their spouses do not need to request that special arrangements be made for obtaining diplomatic privileges and immunities. Upon receipt of the registration papers and passports, together with the necessary number of photographs, the Protocol and Liaison Service, on behalf of the Secretary-General, will take the necessary steps to include the names of the Permanent Representatives and their spouses on the list of members of Permanent Missions with diplomatic privileges and immunities;

(b) Diplomatic personnel of Permanent Missions who perform diplomatic functions and hold diplomatic ranks are entitled to the privileges and immunities mentioned above. Permanent Representatives should, in a letter addressed to the Secretary-General, request that all necessary arrangements be made, specifying the member's diplomatic rank and order of precedence in his/her Mission. The Protocol and Liaison Service will not process applications submitted in the form of a note verbale.

Documents certifying that diplomatic personnel of Permanent Missions are entitled to diplomatic privileges and immunities are issued by the United States Mission to the United Nations within approximately two weeks of the date of the original request.

It is important to note that diplomatic privileges and immunities are not granted to members of diplomatic personnel who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

IX. Categories of United States Visas for Diplomatic and Non-Diplomatic Members of Permanent Missions and Observer Offices, Their Families and Household Employees

In order to avoid complications on the part of the United States immigration authorities, it is necessary that all staff members of Permanent Missions and their families and household employees have the correct United States visa status. The appropriate categories of non-immigrant visas are as follows:

(a) G-l status is accorded to diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff members of the Permanent Missions, representatives of Governments to international organizations recognized by the United States, and members of their immediate families;

(b) G-2 status is accorded to temporary staff members of the Permanent Missions and temporary members of delegations participating in meetings at United Nations’ Headquarters and members of their immediate families, as well as to interns and trainees of the Permanent Missions;

(c) G-3 status is accorded to members of Permanent Missions and members of their immediate families whose Governments are not recognized by the United States or whose Governments are not members of the United Nations. G-3 visas are also accorded to representatives of such Governments so as to participate in temporary meetings of designated international organizations;

(d) G-4 status is accorded to members of those Observer Offices designated as international organizations under the United States “International Organizations Immunities Act”, and members of their immediate families;

(e) G-5 status is accorded to personal employees of G-1 through G-4 classes, and members of their immediate family;

(f) B-1 status is accorded to members of other Observer Offices.

It should be noted that any status that does not fall under the above-mentioned categories should be referred, through the Protocol and Liaison Service, to the United States Mission to the United Nations for adjustment.

If for any reason the passport of any member of a Permanent Mission/Observer Office, or any of his/her dependents, does not contain a visa of an appropriate category, the passport, together with a valid arrival/departure record (Form I-94) must be sent, prior to the expiration date on the Form I-94 and together with a letter signed by the Permanent Representative, to the Protocol and Liaison Service requesting that the necessary adjustment of the visa status be arranged. The Protocol and Liaison Service will forward the request to the United States Mission to the United Nations.

This procedure takes approximately two to three weeks. The United States Mission to the United Nations will notify the Permanent Mission/Observer Office when the passports can be collected. If the applicant has to travel outside the United States to adjust his/her visa status, the Permanent Mission/Observer Office should inform the applicant to apply abroad for the appropriate visa. Once the applicant enters the United States, the Permanent Mission/Observer Office should notify, through the Protocol and Liaison Service, the United States Mission to the United Nations of the change in status.

X. Changes in Permanent Missions and Observer Offices

All Permanent Missions and Observer Offices are requested to promptly notify the Protocol and Liaison Service, in writing, of any changes in the address, telephone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of their office.

All changes and movements affecting diplomatic and non-diplomatic members of the Permanent Missions or Observer Offices, such as appointments, promotions in diplomatic rank, changes of functional title or designation, departures, changes of address, changes of office telephone number or extension should also be communicated as soon as possible by a letter (not a note verbale) to the Secretary-General through the Protocol and Liaison Service.

XI. Temporary Absence of a Permanent Representative / Observer from Headquarters

Before absenting himself/herself from a Permanent Mission for any length of time, a Permanent Representative is required, in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 257 (III) A, to notify the Secretary-General, by a letter signed by the Permanent Representative, of the name of the member of the mission who will perform the duties of head of the mission in the capacity of Chargé d'Affaires a.i. during the absence of the Permanent Representative.

If the Chargé d'Affaires a.i. is not designated in the aforementioned manner, his/her appointment may not figure in any document of the United Nations and he/she will not be accorded the precedence to which he/she would otherwise be entitled in the official functions in which he/she may participate.

A Chargé d'Affaires a.i. cannot appoint himself/herself or another Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Therefore, if more than one consecutive Chargé d'Affaires a.i. is needed during the absence of the Permanent Representative, their names and the dates of their respective appointments should be communicated to the Secretary-General by the Permanent Representative before his/her departure. However, if the Permanent Representative is already away from New York and it is impossible to obtain a letter from him/her, the appointment of a Chargé d'Affaires a.i. should be made by a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country in question to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Permanent Representative should also notify the Secretary-General of the date of his/her resumption of duties upon the return to the Headquarters.

Heads of Observer Offices are encouraged to follow the same procedures.

XII. Notification of End of Duty of Members of the Permanent Missions or Observer Offices

Permanent Representative

Before relinquishing his/her post, a Permanent Representative should inform the Secretary-General in an official letter, and at the same time, communicate the effective date of his/her end of duty at the Permanent Mission and the name of the member of the mission who will act as Chargé d'Affaires a.i. pending the arrival of a new Permanent Representative. It is of special importance to note that a Chargé d'Affaires a.i. can not appoint himself/herself and can hold this function only after being appointed by the Permanent Representative or by the ministry of foreign affairs of the Member State concerned.

Heads of Observer Offices are encouraged to follow the same procedures.

Diplomatic personnel and support staff

Upon the conclusion of duty of the diplomatic personnel, support staff, their families and/or household employees of the Permanent Mission or Observer Office, the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer should send an official cover letter on the subject, addressed to the Chief of Protocol and accompanied by the duly completed typed “Notification of End of Duty of Members of Permanent Missions or Observer Offices to the United Nations” form (form SG.8). Both dates (the date of departure from the mission and the date of departure from the United States) need to be accurately stated in the corresponding sections of form SG.8. If the departure is for another location in the United States, it should be indicated accordingly on the form. When a departing staff member of a Permanent Mission is accompanied by his/her family members and/or household employee(s), particulars of each dependent person should be entered on the form SG.8 (in the designated section of the form reserved for dependents). All documents issued to a staff member of a Permanent Mission and his/her qualifying family members during the staff member’s tenure of office at the mission, namely, the United Nations grounds pass(es) and the United States Department of State identification and/or tax exemption cards should be surrendered for security reasons to the Protocol and Liaison Service together with form SG.8. Diplomatic license plates should be returned directly to the Office of Foreign Missions, whereas the United Nations Parking Decals should be returned to the Garage Administration.

Household employees

If a household employee leaves the service of a staff member of a Permanent Mission or Observer Office, his/her employer is responsible for ensuring that an official covering letter on the subject, accompanied by the duly completed typed form SG.8, are forwarded to the Protocol and Liaison Service.

XIII. United Nations Grounds Passes

A United Nations grounds pass is required for entry into the Headquarters. Passes for members of the Permanent Missions and Observer Offices differ as to their colour symbols and includes a photograph of the bearer.

In order to obtain a United Nations grounds pass, the Permanent Missions and Observer Offices are requested to proceed as follows:

(a) Diplomatic personnel

Applications for grounds passes for diplomatic personnel of Permanent Missions and Observer Offices, as well as their spouses, are authorized by liaison officers of the Protocol and Liaison Service upon receipt of the duly completed typed “Request for United Nations Grounds Pass for Members of Permanent Missions or Observer Offices” form (form SG.32). The form must be accompanied by the official cover letter addressed to the Chief of Protocol, signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer, and affixed with the Mission’s official seal. Once the application has been authorized, the diplomat and/or spouse must take the application form in person to the United Nations Pass and ID Office where a photograph will be taken, and the pass issued. Passes for diplomatic personnel and their spouses are issued for an initial period of four years and must be renewed accordingly, as necessary.

(b) Support staff

In order to obtain a United Nations grounds pass for support staff of Permanent Missions and Observer Offices, a duly completed typed application form (form SG.32) (see the requirements in the section “a” above) must be submitted to the Protocol and Liaison Service. Once these requirements have been met, the grounds pass application will be authorized and must be taken in person to the United Nations Pass and ID Office where a photograph will be taken, and a pass issued. Passes for support staff are issued for an initial period of two years and must be renewed accordingly, as necessary. Missions that require the service of the non-diplomatic staff in restricted areas should make an official written request to the Chief of Protocol to that effect and a special "CONF" pass will be issued.

(c) Lost grounds passes

If a grounds pass is lost or stolen, a request for issuance of a duplicate pass must be made in the form of an official letter signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer and addressed to the Chief of Protocol. The letter must be accompanied by the duly completed typed “Request for United Nations Grounds Pass for Members of Permanent Missions or Observer Offices” form (form SG. 32). Additionally, a special Department of Safety and Security “Lost Grounds Pass Report” form must be filled prior to the processing of the United Nations duplicate grounds pass.

(d) Renewal of expired grounds passes

The renewal of an expired grounds pass for any member of a Permanent Mission or Observer Office must be requested in writing by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer of the mission. The request must mention the duration of time for which the pass should be renewed and accompanied by the duly completed typed form SG.32.

(e) Former Permanent Representatives

Former Permanent Representatives and their spouses are entitled to a United Nations grounds pass. Upon a request from the current Permanent Representative or Charge d’Affaires a.i. to the Chief of Protocol, accompanied by the duly completed typed “Request for United Nations Grounds Pass for Former Permanent Representatives” form (form SG.38), the application will be authorized by the Protocol and Liaison Service. The pass is valid for one year and can be renewed as necessary.

XIV. Registration of Temporary Delegates to Meetings

Request for United Nations grounds passes for temporary delegates
Registration of the members of official delegations (including any support staff** Request for a United Nations grounds pass for a support staff member, who may form part of the accompanying delegation, must also include a copy of the valid passport and the visa page, the alien registration card, or the United States birth certificate (whichever may be applicable in each such case).) from Member States, non-Member States, intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly, specialized agencies and related organizations, as well as of the associate members of the regional commissions, attending official calendar meetings or meetings with the senior Secretariat officials at United Nations Headquarters in New York is effected by the Protocol and Liaison Service via the online registration system known as “eRegistration” at http://delegate.un.int .

Authorized users at the Permanent Missions, Observer Offices, intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies and related organizations in New York are requested to submit an online request for a United Nations grounds pass via the “eRegistration” system for each member of their official delegation, including requests for VIP passes for high state officials (see the following Section XV for the VIP passes). Detailed information on the “eRegistration” system and process, can be found in the “Guidelines” and the “Frequently Asked Questions” sections available on the Protocol and Liaison Service website at https://protocol.un.org/dgacm/pls/site.nsf/AboutAccreditations.xsp. All grounds pass applications require at least two (2) business days for processing after their submission.

Organizations which do not maintain permanent offices in New York should refer to the “Guidelines for IGOs away from New York” section on the “Meetings” page of the Protocol and Liaison Service website. It is to be noted that the United Nations grounds pass application process for intergovernmental organizations away from New York may require up to ten (10) days following the receipt of the request by the Protocol and Liaison Service. Upon approval of the registration application, an automated e-mail approval for each member of the delegation will be sent to the authorized users (or the focal points in the case of the intergovernmental organizations which do not maintain a permanent office in New York). Delegates are then required to present the received e-mail approval to the United Nations Pass and Identification Unit (located at 320 East 45th Street, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10017) for processing. It is to be noted that it takes one (1) business day for the data and photographs of the approved applications to be transmitted to the Pass and Identification Unit. United Nations grounds passes for returning delegates whose personal data and photographs had already been previously uploaded to the computer system of the Pass and Identification Unit may be collected by a representative of the Permanent Missions, Observer Offices, intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies and related organizations in the absence of such delegates. Photographs of the delegates stored in the computer system of the Pass and Identification Unit are valid up to five years. After this period, a new photograph either has to be uploaded to the online system or needs to be taken in the Pass and Identification Unit Office.

Permanent Missions and Observer Offices are advised to send, in a timely fashion, an official cover letter, addressed to the Chief of Protocol and signed by the Head of Chancery or the principal administrative officer, informing of the forthcoming visits of high state officials (Cabinet Ministers and above) who will attend official calendar meetings of the United Nations or meetings with Secretariat officials at the United Nations Headquarters, followed by the online registration process referred to in Section XV.

Grounds pass applications for visiting media and security personnel are processed, respectively, by the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit of the Department of Global Communications and the Special Services Unit of the Department of Security and Safety, also via the eRegistration system at http://delegate.un.int .
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* Request for a United Nations grounds pass for a support staff member, who may form part of the accompanying delegation, must also include a copy of the valid passport and the visa page, the alien registration card, or the United States birth certificate (whichever may be applicable in each such case).

XV. VIP Passes

VIP passes without a photograph are issued to Heads of State, Heads of Government, Vice-Presidents, Crown Princes/Princesses and spouses thereof. VIP passes with photographs are issued to Cabinet Ministers, Speakers of Parliaments and spouses thereof.

Requests for VIP passes must be submitted to the Protocol and Liaison Service via the online registration system, “eRegistration”, referenced above in the section XIV. A digital photograph of the dignitary (in “.jpeg” format) must be attached to the online request for a VIP pass at the time of submission. Photographs for Heads of State, Heads of Government, Vice-Presidents, Crown Princes/Princesses and spouses thereof are not required. Requests for VIP passes should be submitted at least two (2) business days in advance so that the VIP pass can be ready upon the arrival of the dignitary. VIP passes may be collected from the Protocol and Liaison Service by a member of the Mission with a valid United Nations grounds pass.

Members of the parties of the visiting dignitaries should register following the steps specified above in the preceding section XIV.

XVI. Composition of Governments of Member/Observer States

Permanent Missions of all Member/Observer States are requested to inform the Secretary-General, through the Protocol and Liaison Service, about the composition of their respective Governments and of all changes thereof at the levels of Heads of State, Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs. Communications from the Missions on this subject serve as the basis for all official correspondence between the United Nations and the Governments of the respective Member States. Therefore, missions should pay the utmost attention to the spelling of the names, the correct rendering of the official titles and the effective dates of the appointment of these categories of high-level state officials. The Missions are requested to communicate the aforementioned changes in the composition of their respective Governments in a timely fashion. Considerations of protocol and social etiquette demand that the names of the spouses of the Heads of State, Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs also be listed.

The Protocol and Liaison Service maintains an up-to-date reference list of the Governments of all Member States with the corresponding names and official titles for their respective Heads of State, Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs. This information is available on the Protocol and Liaison Service website.

XVII. Change of the Official Name or the National Flag of a Member State

Permanent Missions of Member States are requested to inform the Chief of Protocol of any change to the official name or the national flag of their respective State.

In the event of a change in the national flag of a Member State, the Permanent Representative or the Chargé d'Affaires, a.i. must inform the Chief of Protocol of the change by letter, including the effective date of the change with a description and interpretation of the colours and symbols of the new national flag. Two samples of the new national flag that correspond to the United Nations flag dimensions of 6 feet (length) by 4 feet (width) for outdoor use and 5 feet (length) by 3 feet (width) for indoor use must also be sent to the Chief of Protocol.

XVIII. National Holidays

Permanent Missions are requested to inform the Protocol and Liaison Service of any changes concerning the date and designation of the national holiday of their respective countries. Forthcoming special observances should be conveyed to the Protocol and Liaison Service by the Permanent Mission. On the occasion of the national holiday, cable messages from the Secretary-General will be sent to the Head of State or to the Governor-General.

XIX. The “Blue Book”

The Protocol and Liaison Service publishes on its website, for information purposes only, a document entitled “Permanent Missions to the United Nations”, known as the "Blue Book". In this document, Permanent Missions are listed with their addresses, telephone and telefax numbers, e-mail and website addresses, dates of national holidays, language of correspondence, as well as the names, diplomatic ranks and functional titles, forms of address, etc., of all members of their diplomatic personnel and their spouses. Observer Offices and specialized agencies are also listed in this document. The listings relating to the Permanent Missions, Observer Offices and specialized agencies are based on information communicated to the Protocol and Liaison Service by these Missions and offices and are intended for the use of the delegations and the Secretariat. In order for the listings to be accurate, the names, diplomatic ranks, functional titles and forms of address of the diplomats should be written according to the wishes of the Mission concerned and in conformity with the established norms of the United Nations. The electronic, real-time, version of the “Blue Book” is updated constantly. Additionally, this document will be published in a hardcopy form in a limited quantity.

XX. Official Visits of Dignitaries to United Nations Headquarters

Permanent Representatives are requested to inform the Chief of Protocol, at the earliest possible date, of official visits which their Heads of State or Government, Crown Princes/Princesses and Vice-Presidents intend to pay to United Nations Headquarters, so that the necessary arrangements can be made to ensure the successful outcome of the visit.

The Chief of Protocol will receive the dignitary upon his/her arrival at the United Nations Headquarters.

The Permanent Mission should inform the Protocol and Liaison Service in writing as early as possible of the following:

(a) The dates of arrival and departure to and from New York of the Heads of State, Heads of Government, Crown Princes/Princesses and Vice Presidents;

(b) If accompanied by a spouse, the complete name of the spouse as well as his/her length of stay, should it be different from the principal;

(c) The date and time of a planned visit to United Nations Headquarters, and the date scheduled to address the General Assembly or any other United Nations organ;

(d) A list of officials accompanying the dignitary to the United Nations with their names and functional titles.

When a Head of State or Government visits the Secretary-General, the Chief of Protocol will greet the Head of State as he/she alights from his/her vehicle and will escort him/her to the office of the Secretary-General.

At the end of the meeting, the Secretary-General will bid farewell to the Head of State or Government. The Chief of Protocol will escort the Head of State or Government either to the General Assembly Hall or to another designated area.

XXI. Official Mourning

Whenever the Secretary-General of the United Nations proclaims that the United Nations is in official mourning, the United Nations flag, wherever displayed, will be flown at half-mast during the period of the official mourning.

In the event of the death of a Head of State or Government of a Member State, after the official communication has been received by the Chief of Protocol, the United Nations flag will be flown at half-mast, in accordance with the United Nations Flag Code and Regulations. No other flags will be flown at that time. If the communication is received after 7:00 a.m., the United Nations flag will be flown at half-mast the following day or on the day of the official funeral, in consultation with the Government concerned.

Pursuant to the relevant regulations, the United Nations flag may also be flown at half-mast on special instruction of the Secretary-General.

XXII. Special Arrangements for Sessions of the General Assembly

Each Permanent Mission is requested to provide, at the earliest possible date, a complete list, as well as the credentials, of its official delegation to the respective General Assembly session. According to rule 27 of the “Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly”, credentials must be addressed to the Secretary-General and are to be signed either by the Head of State or Government or the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The original hard copy of the credentials should be delivered to the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations. In addition, a scanned copy of the credentials, as well as other communications containing the names of representatives to the respective session of the General Assembly (such as letters and notes verbales from the Permanent Missions), should be submitted through the online platform “e-Credentials” which can be accessed at the e-deleGATE portal (https://delegate.un.int).

According to rule 25 of the “Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly”, the delegation of a Member State shall consist of not more than five representatives and five alternate representatives and as many advisers, technical advisers and experts as may be required by the delegation. If the chairperson of a delegation is either the Head of State or Government, Vice-President or Minister for Foreign Affairs, he/she is considered as the chairperson of the delegation while present in New York (head of delegation ex officio) and, as such, is not counted as one of the five representatives. The heads of delegation ex officio are always listed before the remaining members of the delegation. With the exception of the Heads of State or Government, Vice-Presidents or Ministers for Foreign Affairs, all other heads of delegation will be counted as one of the five representatives.

The list of delegates provided by each Permanent Mission should reflect the exact names of the delegates, their diplomatic ranks (ambassador, counsellor, etc.), functional titles, and representational capacities (representative, alternate representative, special adviser, or expert).

During the general debate, seats will be reserved in the VIP area of the General Assembly Hall for the spouses of the Heads of State or Government, Vice-Presidents, Crown Princes or Princesses participating in the general debate, provided that the Chief of Protocol is notified in advance of their attendance at the Session.

In addition, depending on availability, a limited number of seats will be reserved for the guests of delegations in VIP Section A (up to 15 seats) and on the 4th floor balcony of the General Assembly Hall. The seats in VIP Section A will only be allocated for the duration of the address of the head of delegation at the plenary meeting.

Access to the VIP areas in the General Assembly Hall requires a special courtesy ticket (for the VIP Section A) or a special event ticket (for the 4th floor balcony) distributed by the Protocol and Liaison Service. To request these tickets, Permanent Missions are required to submit a corresponding request by completing form SG.40, specifying the names and titles of all attendees (including, where relevant, the spouse of the dignitary speaking) to the Chief of Protocol. These requests can be submitted by facsimile at +1 (212) 963-1921 or by e-mail at unprotocol@un.org and should be submitted at least one week prior to the address. The electronic version of form SG.40 is available on the Protocol and Liaison Service website at https://protocol.un.org (under “Forms”). The special courtesy tickets and special event tickets will then be available for collection from the office of the Protocol and Liaison Service in Room S-0200 one day prior to the address of the head of delegation.

XXIII. United Nations Garage Parking Decals

Diplomatic personnel of Permanent Missions in possession of vehicles with the United Nations diplomatic license plates ("D" plates) are entitled to special vehicle identification decals permitting them to enter into and park their vehicles at the United Nations Headquarters.

Identification decals for vehicles with diplomatic plates are issued for a period of 12 months and are renewed before the commencement of each regular session of the General Assembly.

Applications for parking decals of vehicles registered to individual delegates of Permanent Missions should be submitted to the Protocol and Liaison Service (Room S-0200) with the required attachment of a copy of a valid motor vehicle registration and a current United Nations grounds pass. After certification by the Protocol and Liaison Service, the application should be hand-carried to the Garage Administration (UNITAR Building, Room U-210) for processing. Applications for vehicles registered to the Mission should be submitted in bulk directly to the Garage Administration Office with the valid motor vehicle registrations attached. All applications must bear the signature of the authorizing Mission official and be affixed with the Mission’s official seal. Only one decal will be issued per delegate for use on a vehicle with “D” plates. Decals will be issued only to the members of delegations duly registered with the United Nations.

Diplomatic personnel of Observer Missions or intergovernmental organizations or other organizations with full observer status and maintaining permanent offices at the Headquarters are entitled to a limited number of identification decals per delegation with the understanding that each application for a parking decal will be considered on an individual basis.

Prior to the issuance of the parking decals for the new General Assembly session, all previously issued decals to delegations must be returned to the Garage Administration (UNITAR Building, Room U-210). Also, the decals in possession of delegates who are departing from the Permanent Mission must be returned to the Garage Administration office prior to their end of duty at the mission. Diplomatic license plates should be returned directly to the Office of Foreign Missions (located at 799 United Nations Plaza, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10017). Any changes in vehicle usage must be reflected on the respective decals and as such should be brought to the Garage Administration for processing.