Use the correct term when referring to ambassadors, high commissioners, nuncios and other diplomatic staff.

Use the correct term when referring to diplomats

The title for diplomats depends on what they represent:

  • High commissioners represent Commonwealth countries.
  • Ambassadors represent non-Commonwealth countries.
  • Nuncios represent the Holy See, the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church.

Use initial capitals for the titles of high commissioners, ambassadors and nuncios

Use initial capitals when writing to ambassadors, high commissioners and nuncios.


  • His Excellency Mr Babar Amin, High Commissioner for Pakistan

The pronouns ‘His’ and ‘Her’ are part of the title. Write these with an initial capital as well.

Address high commissioners, ambassadors and nuncios with ‘His Excellency’ or ‘Her Excellency’

Use ‘His Excellency’ or ‘Her Excellency’ to address high commissioners, ambassadors and nuncios.


  • Her Excellency the Hon Dame Annette Faye King, High Commissioner for New Zealand
  • Her Excellency Ms Francesca Tardioli, Ambassador of Italy
  • His Excellency Mr Tim Kane, Ambassador to Brazil
  • His Excellency Archbishop (Most Rev) Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio for Holy See

Emails and letters to ambassadors, high commissioners and nuncios

In formal correspondence with ambassadors, high commissioners and nuncios:

  • Open with ‘Your Excellency’.
  • Conclude with ‘Yours faithfully’.

In informal correspondence:

  • Open with ‘Dear High Commissioner’ or ‘Dear Ambassador’.
  • Conclude with ‘Yours sincerely’.

Address other diplomatic staff by name and appointment

Use the name and official position to address:

  • diplomatic staff (such as chargés d’affaires and counsellors)
  • consular appointees (such as consuls general, vice-consuls and honorary consuls).


  • Mr John Smith, Chargé d’Affaires
  • Ms Susan Grace, Consul General in Chennai

Release notes

The digital edition consolidates information from the sixth edition and provides updated examples.

The Content Guide did not have specific information about titles and forms of address for diplomats.

About this page


DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) (n.d.) Australian ambassadors and other representatives, DFAT website, accessed 8 June 2020.

DFAT (n.d.) Foreign embassies and consulates in Australia, DFAT website, accessed 8 June 2020.

DFAT (n.d.) Protocol guidelines, DFAT website, accessed 8 June 2020.

Queensland Government Department of the Premier and Cabinet (2020) Protocol handbook: a guide for Queensland government officers, Department of the Premier and Cabinet website, accessed 8 June 2020.

This page was updated Monday 6 September 2021.

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