Guidelines on the Appointment of Foreign Defence, Military, Naval and Air Attachés
Last update: July 27, 2017
Table of Contents
1.1 These guidelines take effect April 15, 2011.
1.2 They replace the Department’s Circular Note XDC-2646 of November 9, 2001 (available upon request).
2.1 Article 7 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states that “in the case of military, naval or air attachés, the receiving State may require their names to be submitted beforehand, for its approval.” This provision applies in Canada.
2.2 The objective of these guidelines is to specify the legal, policy and administrative requirements that must be met by foreign States accredited to Canada wishing to appoint a defence, military, naval or air attaché. These guidelines also aim to ensure the effective design and delivery of the overall defence, military, naval and air attaché’s diplomatic accreditation program.
3.1 By virtue of the powers, duties and functions set out in section 10 of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is the designated minister for implementing all or part of the provisions of the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act, and related Annexes, including those related to the appointment of defence, military, naval and air attachés. The Office of Protocol, through its Accreditation Unit, is responsible for managing requests to appoint defence, military, naval and air attachés and, once such persons are effectively in Canada, process requests for their accreditation.
3.2 The appointment process of defence, military, naval and air attachés is conducted in collaboration with a number of other federal government departments, including the Department of National Defence.
For the purpose of these guidelines, the following expressions shall have the following meaning:
4.1 “diplomatic accreditation” refers to the issuance of the Acceptance (i.e. counterfoil) in the defence, military, naval or air attaché’s passport and Identity Card as proofs of the person’s diplomatic status.
4.2 “accreditation calls” refers to the ceremony of introduction of the defence, military, naval or air attaché conducted by, and held at, the Directorate of Protocol and Foreign Liaison (DPFL3) of the Department of National Defence.
Is the proposed Defence or Military Attaché a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada?
5.1 Foreign States wishing to appoint a defence, military, naval or air attaché to Canada must request written consent by way of Note addressed to the Office of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. When submitting an official request, the diplomatic mission must provide the following information:
- the appointment form duly completed and signed by the proposed candidate (incomplete sections of this form and the omission of mandatory information may result in processing delays)
- a copy of the main page of the proposed candidate's passport containing his/her legal name
- a statement according to which the proposed candidate is not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada and a list of all other citizenships
5.2 With specific respect to acceptable titles for defence, military, naval and air attachés, diplomatic missions should refer to Annex A.
5.3 The approval process normally takes four (4) to six (6) weeks to complete, following which the Office of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will send a Note to the diplomatic mission of the foreign State concerned. Incomplete applications on the part of diplomatic missions will delay processing.
5.4 Until the appointment of the defence, military, naval and air attaché has been officially approved, the prospective candidate cannot be admitted to the exercise of his/her functions or otherwise represent himself/herself as a defence, military, naval and air attachés, nor must he/she arrange for “accreditation calls” at the National Defence Headquarters. Also, during the approval process, the prospective candidate must not apply for an Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), nor should he/she travel to Canada. However, should circumstances bring him/her to travel to Canada for private or business reasons unrelated to his future posting, such person will not enjoy diplomatic status under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
5.5 In the case of defence, military, naval and air attachés whose appointment has been officially accepted by Canada, as per 5.2 above, the supervising diplomatic mission may request his/her diplomatic accreditation. In such case, provisions of Guidelines on Accreditation and Circular Note XDC-0708 of August 1, 2008 will apply. Diplomatic missions can also arrange for “accreditation calls” through the Directorate of Protocol and Foreign Liaison (DPFL3) of the Department of National Defence.
5.6 Questions pertaining to tax and customs privileges of defence, military, naval and air attachés should be directed to the Privileges and Immunities Unit.
6.1 In 1982, the Government of Canada instituted a policy on the ceiling of defence, military, naval and air attachés. In accordance with this policy, a foreign State can request approval for the appointment of a maximum of three (3) attachés combined of individuals of the defence/military, naval and air services, as the foreign State sees fit. Foreign States are not required to propose one (1) representative from each service.
6.2 Defence, military, naval and air attachés who are simultaneously appointed as a representative of a Member State to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) must, as a condition of Canada’s continued approval under s. 5 of these guidelines, reside in either Ottawa or in another country’s national capital. More precisely, they are not authorized, as diplomatic agents, to reside in Montreal or elsewhere outside Canada’s National Capital Region, as per the Department’s Circular Note XDC-0605 of April 11, 2003. For further details regarding the appointment of diplomatic agents to ICAO, consult section 8 of the the Department’s Guidelines on Accreditation.
As of the date of publication of these Guidelines, diplomatic missions have thirty (30) days to disclose the names of resident defence, military, naval and air attachés who are effectively residing in Montreal or in any Canadian city other than Ottawa or Gatineau. Missions that voluntarily disclose this information and further commit in writing to ensure the prompt relocation of the attaché to the National Capital Region (Ottawa or Gatineau), as required by Canadian policy, will not be subject to any measure in respect of such attaché.
6.3 Nothing in this policy shall be construed as preventing Canada from applying the provisions of the above policy restrictively on a basis of reciprocity or to accord a treatment greater than that which is covered herein on the basis of reciprocal arrangements or agreements.
7.1 The personal information relating to a prospective or current defence, military, naval and air attaché that a diplomatic mission provides in confidence is collected by the Office of Protocol under the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act. The Office of Protocol collects this information for the following purposes:
- determining and amending eligibility for status as a defence, military, naval and air attaché
- administering federal privileges/benefits programs
- updating the Foreign Representatives in Canada website and related search engines
- statistical and ministerial reports
7.2 Information may be disclosed to appropriate law enforcement agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, designated federal departments and agencies, Canadian border service and immigration authorities, as well as provincial authorities, for verification purposes, including the carrying out of security checks and assessments; and for administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation. Information may also be shared with the appointing country for administrative purposes. In addition, some information (name, title, dates of status of begins and status ends, biographical information) is disclosed to provincial intergovernmental ministries to enable the administration of provincially-administered programs intended for the diplomatic community.
7.3 Before submitting a request for the appointment of a defence, military, naval and air attaché, diplomatic missions should inform the candidate of the purposes for the collection and disclosure of their personal information. Also, when the diplomatic mission submits a request for the appointment or renewal of a defence, military, naval and air attaché, the Office of Protocol will hold such request as implying that the candidate has provided consent for the use and disclosure of his/her personal information in accordance with the above.
- Personal Information Bank No. DFAIT PPU 907
- Circular Note No. XDC-0406 of April 2, 2004
For interpretation and application of this policy, diplomatic missions accredited to Canada should contact:
Manager, Accreditation and Registrar
By email: Office of Protocol
Deputy Director, Privileges, Immunities and Accreditation
- Date Modified: