Diplomatic couriers inspecting the unloading of diplomatic bags
Diplomatic couriers inspecting the unloading of diplomatic bags

A diplomatic courier is an official who transports diplomatic bags as sanctioned under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Couriers are granted diplomatic immunity and are thereby protected by the receiving state from arrest and detention when performing their work. Couriers may be assigned on an ad hoc basis, but in those cases they are released from immunity once their bags have been delivered. All couriers are provided documentation that reports their status as couriers and the number of packages currently being transported in the diplomatic bag. Diplomatic bags may be transported under the authority of commercial airline captains, but they are not diplomatic couriers.

United Kingdom

Diplomatic bags of the United Kingdom are carried by the King's Messengers, who work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, transported unaccompanied by the FCDOS Secure Logistics service[1] and by Postal and Courier Operators of the Royal Logistic Corps.[citation needed]

United States

The Diplomatic Courier Service transported 116,351 items weighing approximately 5,353,000 pounds in 2017. To date, its only incident involving an item that failed to reach its destination occurred in 1919, when a baby grand piano was lost during transit aboard the Orient Express.[2]

"Foreign Service Diplomatic Courier" has a starting salary at Foreign Service grade FP-6.[3] Couriers are trained for roughly twelve to fourteen weeks in Washington, D.C., and during their careers may be assigned to one of various offices around the world, including the following: Dakar, Senegal; Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire; Bangkok, Thailand; Frankfurt, Germany; Manama, Bahrain; Pretoria, South Africa; Seoul, South Korea; Washington, D.C.; São Paulo, Brazil and Miami, Florida.[3]


  1. ^ "Secure logistics".
  2. ^ Adams, Eric (9 January 2018). "Riding With the Diplomatic Couriers Who Deliver America's Secret Mail". Wired. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Department of State Careers - Diplomatic Courier". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2009-11-23.