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HMRC internal manual

Diplomatic Privileges Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Diplomatic bags: overview

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, as enacted by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, all correctly marked diplomatic bags have full inviolability.

All missions are provided with dedicated guidance from the FCO on the subject of the identification requirements for diplomatic bags and what they may contain. For procedures on clearing diplomatic bags, please refer to DIPPRIV2200.

All diplomatic bags although subject to the usual prohibitions and restrictions should be cleared without internal examination, scanning or detention unless very strong grounds for suspecting abuse exist. See DIPPRIV2300. Where there is suspicion of abuse the Protocol Directorate at the FCO should be contacted on 0207 008 1011 immediately. If this team cannot be contacted then the VAT International Team should be contacted.