Directory of the Protocol Department
Chief of Protocol:
Ambassador Gunnar Pálsson
Contact Information for the Protocol Department
Ms. Kristín Eva Sigurðardóttir, Protocol Officer
Telephone: +354 545 9920 (during working hours)
Fax: +354 562 2373
Functions of the Protocol Department
The main responsibilities of the Protocol Department in relation to the Corps Diplomatique are the following:
Diplomatic Missions notify the Protocol Department of the arrival and departure of members of Diplomatic Missions and their family members. The Department issues Identity Cards and publishes the Diplomatic List and List of Honorary Consuls in Iceland on the Ministry website.
The Department also deals with immigration queries affecting the members of Missions and private servants and their family members and acts as a liaison with the appropriate Icelandic authorities.
Accreditation and Presentation of Credentials
Requests to the Government of Iceland for agrément for new Heads of Mission are submitted to the Protocol Department for presentation to the President of Iceland.
The Protocol Department arranges for the presentation of credentials in cooperation with the Office of the President of Iceland. The ceremony takes place at an audience with the President of Iceland at the Official Residence, Bessastaðir. The Department provides Missions with a detailed description of the procedures in advance of the ceremony.
Privileges and Immunities
The Protocol Department ensures that Missions and their staff are granted the privileges and immunities to which they are entitled under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Department publishes the Diplomatic Handbook on the Ministry website. The handbook outlines, in a summary form, how Iceland approaches its obligations to persons accorded privileges and immunities and describes how Missions and individuals may claim their various entitlements. The handbook also aims to describe the standards of behaviour expected of entitled persons in Iceland.
The Department handles general enquiries about the Vienna Convention, as well as pursuing complaints involving members of Missions. It handles enquiries and complaints from Missions, members of the public, other Government Departments, solicitors and the police.
The Department authorizes the duty-free release of alcohol and tobacco. The Directorate of Administration and Consular Affairs of the Ministry (Rekstrar- og þjónustusvið), however, is responsible for the refund of VAT, petrol duty and the duty-free release of vehicles.
The Protocol Department co-ordinates the arrival and departure arrangements of Heads of Missions and gives general advice to Missions on ceremonial, protocol and precedence queries, memorial services and other related matters.
In conjunction with the Office of the President of Iceland, other Government Departments and the Althingi, the Department arranges for the attendance of Heads of Missions at the following official functions:
- National Day Celebrations
- Opening of the Althingi
- Inauguration of the President of Iceland
In liaison with the National Police Commissioner (Ríkislögreglustjórinn), the Protocol Department deals with the protection of diplomats and diplomatic premises, security arrangements for official and private VIP visits and security for international conferences.
The Department liaises with the police on the level of protection provided for Missions and their staff. Police officials also maintain direct contact with Missions and provide appropriate advice.
The Department also coordinates police arrangements in relation to demonstrations outside Missions or in connection with visits and conferences.
Security during VIP Visits
All security aspects of a VIP visit, including requests for protection, are dealt with by the Protocol Department, which liaises, as necessary, with the police authorities.
The Protocol Department is responsible for the use of the VIP facilities at the Leifur Eiríksson Terminal at the Keflavík International Airport and also for access of Missions to the Terminal.