How to Address Diplomats?



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HONOR & RESPECT

Abbess,
    Christian Orthodox       
Abbot,
    Christian Orthodox        
Accountant        
Acting Official       
Adjutant General     
Admiral
        

Admiral, Texas Navy   
Adventist Minister       
Alderman
        

Archbishop, Catholic        
Archbishop,
   Christian Orthodox        
Archdeacon, Episcopal        
Archimandrite        
Architect
Archpriest        
Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador of one country
   to another country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to another country
   by a U.S. citizen       
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to the U.K.  
American Indian Chief        
Assemblyman
   U.S., State / or           

   Assemblywoman            
Assistant Secretary
Associate Justice,
   U.S. Supreme Court          
Associate Justice of a
   State Supreme Court
Astronaut      
Attorney
         
Attorney General           
Attorney General,
       Assistant   
Attorney, U.S.         
Australian Officials    
Awards, Name on an

Baron, Baroness           
British Officials,
   Royalty, Nobility     
Brother, Catholic
         
Brother,
   Christian Orthodox          
Bishop, Catholic            
Bishop,
   Christian Orthodox         
Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Boy        
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
Candidate    
Captain,
   USA, USAF, USMC     
Cardinal
             
Certificate, Name on a 
Chairman
    Federal Reserve      
Chairwoman      
Chancellor      
Chaplain in the
    Armed Services        
Chaplain of Congress          

Chargé d’Affaires         
Chief Executive Officer 
Chief Judge          
Chief Justice,
      U.S. Supreme Court 
Chief Justice, of a State
      Supreme Court             

Chief of Police          
Chief of Staff     

Chief Operating
   Officer          
Child
           
Chiropractor     
City Manager
   
Clergy & Religious
    Officials     
Club Official          
Colonel, Kentucky      
Colonel, USA, USAF,
    or USMC     
Commandant       
Commissioner, Court     
Commissioner
         
Commodore of a         
      Yacht Club         
Congressman, U.S.               
Congresswoman, U.S.   
Consul and or
   Consul General   
 
Consultant      
Corporate Executive         
Councilman
    Councilwoman      
Counselor (Diplomat)      
Countess     
County Officials       
Couples     
    U.S. Military
    U.S. Officials
    Private Citizens    
    Same Sex
Curator        

Dalai Lama          
Deacon         
Dean, academic            
Dean, clergy            
Deceased Persons        
Degree, honorary      
Delegate, U.S., State
            

Dentist             
Deputy Chief of Mission
Deputy Marshal

Deputy Secretary      
Designate,
Elect,
    Pro Tempore      
Diploma, Name on a   
Diplomats
     

Director      
District Attorney
          
Doctor, Chiropractor     
Doctor of Dentistry
          
Doctor of Medicine              
Doctor, Military           
Doctor of
   Veterinary Medicine          
Doctor, Optometrist   
Doctor of Osteopathy            
Doctor, Other Disciplines     
Doctorate        
Doctorate, honorary      

Earl            
Elect, Designate
  
Pro Tempore      
Emeritus/emerita
     
Eminence     
Emperor    
Engineer    
Esquire, Esq.       
Excellency           

Family     
Fiancee      
Firefighter    
First, Second,
   Third , etc .        
First Lady, Spouse
   of the President of
   the United States 
First Lady, Member
    of Her   
    White House Staff      
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Mayor    

First Lady
   of a Church      

First Lieuten
ant
   
Former Officials    
Freeholder       

Gay Couple      
Geshe

General
    USA, USAF, USMC
Girl       

Goodwill Ambassador      
Governor General         
Governor, Lieuten
ant
 
Governor, Lt., Spouse   

Governor, Tribal Council          
Governor, U.S. State       
Governor, Former    
Governor
    Spouse of     
Governor's Staff,
    Member of
     
Governors, Board of 

High Commissioner    
Honorable, The
          
Honorary Ambassador       
Honorary degrees
Honorary doctorate
   
Honourable, The
   
 
   

Indian Chief         
Inspector General    
Interim Official   
Introductions       
Invitations
  
   Writing &  
   Addressing  
Invitations
   
Military:
    Writing &
    Addressing

Judge, former     
Judge of US City

     County or State     
Judge, US Federal            
Junior, Senior,
    I, II, III, etc
.       

Justice, Associate

     Federal
     Supreme Court

Justice, Associate

     State
     Supreme Court

King     
Knight      

Late, The
   (deceased persons)
       
Lawyer      
Lesbian Couple    
Lieutenant      
Lieutenant Colonel,     
   USA, USAF, USMC      
    
Lieutenant General,
   USA, USAF, USMC      

Lieutenant Governor    
     

Ma'am          
Major
   USA, USAF, USMC  
Major General,
   USA, USAF, USMC   
Man, business
          
Man, social
         
Marquess / Marchioness
 
 
Married Women       
Marshal for a
   Judicial District, U.S. 
Mayor, U.S. City   
Mayor, Canadian City    
Mayor Pro Tempore
     
Mayor, Vice    
Medic      
Minister,
   Protestant Clergy       
Miss      
Monk,
   Christian Orthodox     
Monsignor       
Most Reverend, The        
Mother Superior
    
Mr. (Social)      
Mr. (Business)      
Mrs., Ms. (Use, Social Forms)      
Mrs. vs. Ms.     
Mr. & Mrs. / Couples   
   

Name Badges or Tags     
Nobility, UK/British
       
Nobility, Other & Former     
Nun, Catholic
  
Nun, Orthodox
Nurse           

Officer, Police     
Optometrist     

Pastor, Christian Clergy  
Patriarch,
   Christian Orthodox  
Patriarch,
   Ecumenical Patriarch
   of Constantinople  
People with Two Titles      
Permanent
     Representative        
Petty Officer
      
Pharmacist     
Physician
        
PhD     
Place Cards            
Plaque, Name on a    
Police Chief
Police Officer                     
Pope, Catholic
  
Pope, Coptic
      
Postmaster General         
Post-Nominal
    Abbreviations    
Presbyter, Orthodox
   
President, corporate
President of
    College or
    University   
President of a
    Secondary
    School      
President of a
    US State Assembly 
President (current)
   of the U.S.A.          
President (former)
   of the U.S.A.     
     
President of the
    U.S.A., spouse of  
President-elect
    of the U.S.   
Priest, Catholic          
Priest,
    Christian Orthodox 
Priest, Episcopal        
Prime Minister
       
Principal      
Professionals
   & Academics         
Professor
     
Pro Tempore,
   Elect, Designate    
Psychologist      

Queen

Rabbi               
Ranger, Texas        
Representative,
   U.S., Federal           
Representative,
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Resident
    Commissioner 
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    
 

   3. Q&A on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
Retiree        
Reverend, The
      
Right Reverend, The         

Same Sex Couple      
Salvation Army    
School Board Member
     
Second
Lieutenant        
Secretary,
   U.S. Department,
   Member of the Cabinet
Secretary
   of Defense, U.S.       
Secretary, Assistant       
Secretary General
   of the U.N.            
Senator, U.S., Federal       
Senator, U.S., State         
Senator, Canadian       
Senior, Junior,
     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge 
      
Sergeant       
Sergeant at Arms
          
Seventh Day
     Adventist Minister       
Sheriff       
Sister, Catholic       
Sir       

Solicitor General      
Speaker of the U.S.
   House of
   Representatives.           
Specialist       
Spouse of the
    President of the U.S.       
Spouse of the
    Vice President
    of the U.S.           
Spouse of an
    Elected Official            
State Attorney     
Surgeon General          

Texas Ranger        
Titles & Forms of
    Address, Useless?        
Tombstones, Names on
Town Justice
     
Town Manager       
The Honorable     
Tribal Officials     
Two Titles,
    Person With

Under Secretary       
US Attorney
       
US Federal Officials
     
US State Officials     
US Municipal Officials

Venerable, The        
Veteran (not Retired)         
Veterinarian
           
Very Reverend, The         
VFW Officer/Official    
Vice Mayor       
Vice President
    of the U.S.
Spouse of the
    Vice President
   
of the U.S.
Vice President-elect
    of the U.S.      
 
Viscount and/or
   Viscountess        

Warrant Officer       
Widow
     
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


 

How to Address Diplomats and
International Representatives

Questions & Answers, Frequently Asked Questions, and Blog


Site updated by Robert Hickey on 23 June 2017

How to Address an Ambassador and Her Husband?   
How to Address an Ambassador: Excellency or The Honorable?  
How to Address an Former Ambassador?
Do I Address an Ambassador as "Your Excellency"?      
Do I Address a Charge d'Affaires?      
Do I Address a Counselor?
     

How To Address a Foreign National Official or a Nobility?
Link to Q&A just on Foreign National Representatives and Nobility

How To Address a Chargé d’Affaires?
      On an invitation to a Chargé d’Affaires of an Embassy, is it proper to use the word HONORABLE before his/her name?    Thank you.
 
         -- Laura

Dear Laura:
     Are asking about an American chargé d’affaires? Among appointed US officials only those appointed by The President and approved by the Senate are addressed as The Honorable. At a US Embassy only the Ambassador is at that level ... so the only Ambassador is addressed as The Honorable (full name), Ambassador of the United ...
    But normally that position at an American Embassy is called a deputy chief of mission. I give that form on page 230 of my book.
    If you are addressing a
chargé d’affaires at a foreign embassy, they aren't addressed as "The Honorable" either.  Americans address American ambassadors as "The Honorable" but address foreign ambassadors as "Your Excellency".  Foreign chargés d’affaires are not addressed as "Your Excellency": they are "Mr./Ms".
    So, on page 229 I show the form of address for a charge d'affaires as:
          
Mr./Ms. (full name)
                Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of ...
                        Address

    Back to your invitation: If the invitation is being sent to the the person's residence (rather than the embassy), skip
charge d'affaires and "Embassy of..." of course.
    My book includes how to address all types of diplomats ... US and foreign ... exactly because they are the topic of so many questions.
 
         -- Robert Hickey 

How a Should Non-US Citizen
Address an American Ambassador ?

          I am writing an invitation letter to the ambassador of the United States to Japan. According to your book the ambassador should be addressed by US citizens as The Honorable John V. Roos.  But I am a Japanese citizen.  I will be writing to him in care of the US Embassy in Tokyo. 
          Should I address him as The Honorable (Full Name) as the U.S. citizens do?  Or should I address him as His Excellency (Full Name)?
        ~ T. Suzuki

Dear T. Suzuki:
          Using The Honorable (Full Name) would be honoring his US tradition -- would be how a US citizen would address him -- and how he would expect to be addressed in the USA (at home). It is not wrong for you to use it.
          Using His/Her Excellency (Full Name) will follow the diplomatic custom -- and how he  would expect to be addressed outside the USA and in Japan.
          Both are correct, but use Excellency since you are in Japan and are a Japanese citizen.
           -- Robert Hickey

How to Address an Ambassador:
Your Excellency? or The Honorable?

I see some ambassador's names written as The Honorable (full name) and others as His Excellency (full name). Which is correct?  The ambassador who is coming is the French Ambassador. How should I write his name?
        ~ The Diva of Diplomats

Dear Diva:
    1) An ambassador of the United States is addressed by US citizens as:
          The Honorable (full name)
                 The Ambassador of the United States of America
                           (Address)

    The form -- the Honorable -- is used because US citizens formally address their own officials as the Honorable (Full Name).
   
2) Any foreign ambassador is addressed as:
          His/Her Excellency (full name)
                 The Ambassador of (official name of country)
                           (Address)

    Form #2 is standard around the world for addressing ambassadors. Even US ambassadors are addressed as His/Her/Your Excellency when they serve abroad by citizens of the countries in which they are serving.
    Thus, the French Ambassador to the USA is addressed as:
          His Excellency (full name)
                 The Ambassador of the French Republic
                           (Address)

           -- Robert Hickey

Do I Address an Ambassador as Your Excellency?
Help! I have a meeting with a foreign ambassador tomorrow. I have written to him several times, so I know he's an "Excellency"? When we meet, do I say nice to meet you? or honored to meet you? Do I address him in person as Mr. Ambassador or Your ExcellencyNO GUESSES PLEASE! I can't afford to make a fool of myself. Only answer if you are really sure.
                    ~ Alex Mezo

Dear Mr. Mezo:
    Any of the replies to your introduction are fine. It's a pleasure to meet you is also good.
    In conversation call him Your Excellency or Mr. Ambassador
or even Ambassador (Surname).
            -- Robert Hickey

How to Address Someone Addressed as
"The Honorable" and Her Husband?

    What is the proper form of address for an American ambassador-at-large, who is a woman, and her husband? Is it:
          The Honorable Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe
 
         or The Honorable Jane Doe and Mr. Doe?
    Also, how about the salutation? Is it: 
          Dear Ms. Doe and Mr. Doe
          or Dear Ms. and Mr. Doe?
     Is that covered in your book? Thanks!
           -- AC in NYC

Dear GB:
    Yes, I have a chapter on joint forms of address. This combination is covered on page 145. The correct address would be:
               The Honorable Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe
     ... because men get their full names when their wives name is listed first due to her higher precedence.
     For a formal salutation use:   
               Dear Madame Ambassador and Mr. Doe:
     Although using "ambassador" as the honorific would also be O.K.:   
               Dear Ambassador Doe and Mr. Doe:
               -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Retired / Former
US Ambassador?

    How do I address a retired American Ambassador?  He was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service so he was a diplomat for a long time before he was an ambassador.
           -- Carol Bentley

    How do I address someone who served as an American Ambassador?  He was a close personal friend of The President and served for four years.
           -- Keith Inge

Dear Ms. Bentley & Mr. Inge:
    Any retired or former
ambassador is addressed on the envelope, or in the address block of the letter, in the standard style used for addressing high US officials:
            The Honorable (Full name)
            (Address)

     And, in the salutation or conversation he/she would be addressed as:
            Dear Ambassador (Surname),
     The difference between ambassadors will arise when you introduce them, describe them, give their title, or identify them in writing.

How to identify a political appointee who served as a Ambassador?
     
Those appointed to serve as a U.S. ambassador after a career in another field (typically they serve just one administration, more or less) are introduced as:
             Ambassador of the United States to (Name of Country) from Year to Year
            or 

             Former Ambassador of the United States to (Name of Country)

Who can be identified as a "Career Ambassador, Retired"?
       There are certain individuals who can be identified as a Career Ambassador.   They have been accorded the “Personal Rank of Career Ambassador” by the President. If you do a web search for "career-ambassador U.S. Department of State" you find the list. There aren't many. This small category of ambassadors is introduced or identified as:
          Career Ambassador of the Foreign Service of the United States of America, Retired

Who can be identified as a "Ambassador, Retired"?
       Career U.S. Foreign Service Officers who have served as a U.S. Ambassador at one or more U.S. embassies are introduced or identified as:
          Ambassador of the United States of America, Retired

How to Address a Counselor (A Foreign Diplomat)?
     How should I address foreign diplomats who are not the ambassador – rather, they are in the ambassador’s office. Their positions are “Counselor, Deputy Chief of Mission” and “Counselor, Congressional Liaison Officer.” Thanks in advance for your assistance,

     -- Ellen


Dear Ellen:
    
Everyone at a foreign embassy .... except the ambassador .... is:
          Mr./Mrs./Ms. (Full Name)
               Embassy of (Official Name of Country)
                    Address

     In a salutation they would be
          Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. (Surname):
     "Counselor" is not used as an honorific in writing for a diplomat. Include their office after their name in an introduction ... but not on an envelope. 
     RE: Use of Mrs. or Ms.: Internationally "Ms." is not as ubiquitous as it is in the US, but a foreign diplomat serving in the US would be familiar with it.
     Only an accredited ambassador who has presented his credientials to the head of state or head of the international organization is addressed as "His/Her Excellency" or in direct address "Your Excellency"

   
-- Robert Hickey


Not Finding Your Question Answered?
Below are other topics covered in my blog and at right is a list of officials, Between the two I probably have what you are looking for.
     After hunting around a bit, if you don't see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day (unless I am traveling.)
      If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – with your name and any personal specifics changed.
      -- Robert Hickey

USE OF NAMES & HONORIFICS   
Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
Sequence Post-Nominal Abbreviations: Sr., Jr., etc.    
 
Couples: Private Citizens / Joint Forms of Address 
Couples: U.S. Military / Joint Forms of Address     
Couples: U.S. Officials / Joint Forms of Address      

USE OF SPECIFIC OFFICIAL TITLES        
Former Officials            
Professionals and Academics        

United States Federal Officials, Currently In Office             
United States State Officials, Currently In Office              
United States Municipal Officials, Currently In Office             
       All About The Honorable with U.S. Officials         
       Former United States Officials of all types             
United States Armed Services
       Addressing Active Duty Personnel              
       Addressing Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Veterans      

Tribal Officials 
           
Clergy and Religious Officials           
Canadian Officials         
Australian Officials          
British Officials, Royalty, and Nobility        
Diplomats and International Representatives
           
Foreign National Officials and Nobility        

SPECIFIC SITUATIONS
Author's Name on His/Her Book       
Business Cards, Names on
,       
Couples           
  
Introductions, Names in
           
Invitations: Names on
       
Invitations: Names of Armed Service Personnel on        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            

Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates, Names on    
Precedence: Ordering Officials 
         
Tombstones, Names on      


Site updated by Robert Hickey on 23 June 2017


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Robert Hickey is the author of Honor & Respect:
The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address
Published by The Protocol School of Washington®
Foreword by Pamela Eyring

Copyright © 2016 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Book Photo: Marc Goodman.