Everything you need to know about consulates

Hagigat Alizade 29 April 2021 549 views 4 min. read

Did you know that the first diplomatic relation was between Egypt and Amurru kingdom during the 14th century BC? "Amarna Letters", which are the proof of this fact, have been considered the earliest instances for diplomatic affairs such as tradable objects, interstate marriages, and strategic friendships. The word "diplomacy" is derived from a French term that means "an object in folded two." We can state that diplomacy is a tool to create interstate connections and relations and represent the government's presence in the international area. Even though the global system is anarchic, and countries do not follow any superior power to run their governments, negotiation and trades can make the world peaceful, according to neoliberalism's ideology. 

Throughout history, countries have tried to discover new ways to deal with each other. However, it was never easy, and it even caused tensions, conflict, and wars. As you know, it is impossible to continue a withdrawn relationship forever. Because the world population was increasing day by day within the nations and tribes, it became necessary to create trade and diplomatic relations between countries. 

The diplomatic policy has different types to affect. For establishing interaction, countries need to open an office that determines the government's foreign policy, such as embassies and consulates. Yet, what's the difference between an embassy and a consulate?

The Function of an Embassy

embassy staffs

An embassy is wider purposeful than consulates. Embassies mostly are located in the capital of the country.  For example, Turkey's embassy is located in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. The Ambassador, who is on duty at the embassy, is responsible for every step of government policy. He or she can intervene in the process even as a president. Ambassadors are available to represent their homeland and prevent the break of human rights in the located country. Embassies and consulates are diplomatic missions in the country, and they are obliged to create linkage with the host country. 

What's the difference between an embassy and a consulate?

1. Both of them are diplomatic offices, but consulates are smaller.

2. There is only one embassy in a country, but there can be one and more consulates.

3. An embassy is located only in the capital of the country.

4. An embassy is responsible for political relations and the informatization of cases about the country.

5. Consulates are responsible for citizens' visas, the safety of citizens in a host country.

What is a Consulate?

consulate staff

The word "consul" is derived from the Latin language, which means "to consult, think." In ancient times the consul was a civil servant who discussed important government matters with the senate. However, in the middle ages, it gained different meanings, so that it meant a kind of commercial delegate in a foreign country. Consulates are smaller and less privileged than an embassy. It is usually located in larger tourist cities, but sometimes it can be found in the capital. The rationale behind it is that the location of the consulates depends on touristic zones of the country. The reason behind it is that consulates are responsible for tourism issues, problems, and visa matters. It's available to more than one consulate to locate in a single country. For instance, there are 168 embassies in the USA, while the number of consulates is 732.

The mission of Consulates

red passeport

Let's talk about the mission of consulates. One of the consulate's critical tasks is obliged to deliver identification and renewal of passports and, at the same time, other official documents. Furthermore, as the consulate's second mission is to notify some events such as marriage, birth, death, divorce, and adoption of their citizens in a foreign country is crucial. 
In addition to previous ones, informing about the social security situation and providing them to be secured far away from their homes is the priority for every government. Always sharing the news with citizens about military cases, controls, and supporting citizens in the case of emergency and a problem is another mission of the consulate. Moreover, negotiating about detention or arrest issues of citizens of their own country and following fair trials can be shown as a duty that consulates are responsible for. 

Additionally, issuing entry visas for foreign citizens and notifying their immigration, residence, or work permits is an essential part of the consulates' job.

As we said, one of the missions of the consulate is to provide foreign citizens with entry visas. Yet, what is a visa? Visa is a permit document for foreign citizens who want to go to the destination country. It can be given by the consulates, intermediary institutions at the airport or border gates. 

Types of Visa

visa stamps

The types of visa vary according to the purpose of the visit: leisure or business trips or travel permission for athletes. Every country has its specific requests for giving visas. For example, some European Union members are included in one visa system called "Schengen." The Schengen Area is the largest free travel destination. It is a short-term visa that allows travellers to stay up to 90 days. The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables the tourist to travel to any country member of the Schengen Agreement signed between the European states in 1985. There are no customs controls in this area. However, if you plan to stay in this area for more than 90 days, you should apply for a long term Schengen visa. The Schengen Countries are Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. The price of a visa is also variable. Obtaining visa terms are different, but some documents are standard for the majority of the countries. The common documents that are required for the visa application process are listed below:

  • Passport
  • Biometric photo
  • Full certificate of identity register copy
  • Bank account statement
  • Certificate of residence Occupational status certificate
  • Marriage certificate for those who are married

Special Conditions for Visa Procedures

blue passport

Some special conditions are created, allowing travel without a visa - for example, grey passport, green passport, diplomatic passport, transit visa, etc.

A grey passport is a type of passport given only for the dun's duty to implement government service. This type of passport allows them to pass without any visa, those who have a grey passport.

A green passport is given to contracted civil servants' former bureaucrats for five years and allows visa-free entry to more countries than a standard passport. It is also called a special passport.

A diplomatic passport is a kind of international identity document given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It defines the status of diplomats. Diplomatic passports are issued to government officials for attending congress and conferences. It is black and has 28 pages.

A transit visa is a short-term visa type required to cross the borders of the transferred country. If we travel by aeroplane, it should be checked. Transit visas vary from country to country and depending on transit time.