Difference between Ambassador and High Commissioner

Key Difference: Ambassadors and High Commissioners are both diplomats, who are responsible for representing their home country in a foreign country. The term ‘High Commissioner” refers to an Ambassador in a Commonwealth country.

 The terms ‘Ambassador’ and ‘High Commissioner’ are often confusing because of the similar context in which they are used. The reason for this is because; these words are actually quite one and the same.

Ambassadors and High Commissioners are both diplomats, who are responsible for representing their home country in a foreign country. An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat that is sent to another sovereign state or international organization to represent their home country. These people may be required to go on a specific mission for a stipulated time period, or they may be asked to reside in the foreign country and collect information that can be useful to create and maintain peaceful relationships with the foreign country.

In addition to creating peaceful relations, they are also responsible for protecting their own people that are visiting the foreign country and interacting with foreign dignitaries, assisting the citizens of their country that are visiting or living in other countries and aiding refugees and foreigners. The ambassador represents the country, residing and working in a place known as the Embassy. The embassy is in charge of taking care of the needs of their citizens who are in that foreign country, including visa queries.

The term ‘High Commissioner” refers to an Ambassador in a Commonwealth country. If a Commonwealth country such as India seeks to establish an office for diplomacy sake, such as an embassy in another Commonwealth country, such as China, they the embassy would be referred to High Commission and the Ambassador would be known as High Commissioner. However, if India is seeking to establish diplomacy relations with the United States (not a Commonwealth Country), then the terms Embassy and Ambassador would be used.

Comparison between Ambassador and High Commissioner:

 

Ambassador/High Commissioner

Definition

An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat that is sent to another sovereign state in order to represent their country.

Function

Protect citizens, support prosperity, work for peace, understand the culture of the host country

Power

Diplomatic immunity

Making decisions on behalf of the home country

Residency

Mostly reside in foreign countries until the end of the term as a diplomat

Image Courtesy: bhutanmajestictravel.com

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China is not a Commonwealth country

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