In accordance with Article 4 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), an Agrément shall be sought for the person proposed to be accredited as the Head of Mission to the Republic Lithuania.
The Agrément shall be received before the person concerned officially arrives in Lithuania or his/her identity is made public.
A request for the Agrément is usually handed over to the Director of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter – the Director of the Protocol Department) by the outgoing Ambassador or Charge d’Affaires a.i. or otherwise submitted to the Protocol Department.
The request for the Agrément shall enclose a detailed curriculum vitae of the person proposed to be accredited as the Head of Mission.
The Protocol Department will notify the sending State about Agrément as soon as such decision is made.
Arrival of Ambassador-Designate
The Ambassador-Designate who will reside in Lithuania is free to arrive in the country at any time following the notification of the Agrément.
The Ambassador-Designate will be greeted on arrival at the Vilnius International Airport by a protocol officer between 8.00 hrs. and 17.00 hrs., Monday to Friday, except public holidays.
As soon as the Protocol Department is provided with request of the Ambassador-Designate’s for a date of presentation of the Letters of Credence, the Protocol Department will arrange the date of presentation with the Presidential Palace.
For the Ambassador-Designate, who will not reside in Lithuania, it is recommended to arrive one day before the ceremony of presentation of the Letters of Credence. The hotel shall be booked by the Embassy concerned. The non-resident Ambassador will be met and seen off at the Vilnius International Airport by a protocol officer between 8.00 hrs. and 17.00 hrs., Monday to Friday, public holidays excepted.
However, VIP facilities are available for the Ambassador at any time on his/her arrival and departure. In the event of arrival or departure by car, ambassadors are provided courtesy clearance at a border crossing point.
An Ambassador does not take up his/her functions and/or any public duties in Lithuania, until he/ she have presented the Letters of Credence to the President of the Republic of Lithuania. However, once the Director of the Protocol Department has received the working copy of the Credentials, the Ambassador-Designate may contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter – Ministry) on a working basis. In accordance with Article 13 of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), precedence among Ambassadors depends on the date of presentation of Credentials to the President.
Presentation of the Letters of Credence to the President of the Republic of Lithuania
Preparation of the ceremony of presentation of the Letters of Credence
The Protocol Department organizes the ceremony of presentation of the Letters of Credence. All practical aspects are arranged in close collaboration with the Embassy of a relevant country. The respective Embassy will be supplied with information, setting out in detail the ceremonial aspects of the presentation of the Letters of Credence together with a programme specifying the exact timing of the ceremony and listing the participants.
When the date of the ceremony is set up, the following information shall be provided to the Protocol Department:
- Time of arrival and departure of the Ambassador (if not resident), including flight number;
- Names of accompanying persons;
- Working language to be used at the audiences.
Non-resident Ambassadors are kindly requested to bring two large national flags and a small one for a limousine and hand them over to the Protocol Department at least one day prior to the ceremony.
Courtesy calls preceding the ceremony of presentation of the Letters of Credence
On the predetermined date (usually on the day of presentation of the Letters of Credence) the Ambassador- Designate pays courtesy calls to the high officials at the Ministry. These usually include the Vice-Minister or Chancellor, Director and Head of Division of a relevant Political Department of the Ministry and, if agreed, other officials. On a day of the Ambassador-Designate’s official visits to the Ministry, a protocol officer will accompany the Ambassador from the Hotel/ Residence to the Ministry and to the meetings.
One Embassy official may accompany the Ambassador to the meetings at the Ministry which take place before the official ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
Ceremony of the Presentation of the Letters of Credence
- Gentlemen: Dark Suit, Uniform, National Dress
- Ladies: Day Dress, Suit, National Dress
On the day of the presentation of the Letters of Credence, the Ambassador-designate after meeting with the Director of the Protocol Department leaves for the Ceremony of the Presentation of the Letters of Credence. The Director of the Protocol Department escorts the Ambassador into the car and the motorcade proceeds to the Presidential Palace.
The Ambassador may be accompanied by spouse/partner and up to three members of the Embassy’s diplomatic staff. The car for the Ambassador’s spouse/partner and other accompanying diplomatic staff members of the Embassy shall be provided by the Embassy. Resident Embassies use their official car, non-resident Embassies – a rented car. The Protocol Department may assist with renting a motor vehicle. The Embassy’s diplomatic staff members who do not accompany the Ambassador during his/her meeting with the Director of Protocol Department on the day of the Presentation of the Letters of Credence, shall arrive to the Presidential Palace not later than 10 minutes before the Ambassador’s arrival. They are greeted by a President’s Protocol Officer and escorted to the Ambassador’s Room.
Upon arrival of the Ambassador, the Guard of Honour, accompanied by the Military Orchestra, is lined up in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace (Annex 1). The Ambassador alights the car and proceeds directly onto the red carpet. The command “Present Arms“, given by the Commander of the Guard of Honour and the sound of the trumpet signals the beginning of the ceremony. The Commander of the Guard of Honour reports to the Ambassador. The Ambassador nods his/her head in response. The Military Orchestra plays the National Anthem of the country represented by the Ambassador and that of the Republic of Lithuania. After the anthems, the Ambassador, accompanied on his/her right by the Director of Protocol Department and followed by the Commander of the Guard of Honour, proceeds to inspect the Guard of Honour. The Ambassador makes a short stop in front of the flag and bows to the flag. The Ambassador proceeds further the red carpet and at the entrance of the Presidential Palace greeted by the Head of the President’s Protocol and joined by the accompanying party proceeds to the Ambassador’s Room.
From the Ambassador’s Room, the Ambassador and the delegation, accompanied by the Director of the Protocol Department, enters the White Hall (Annex 2) and takes the position at the designated area. The spouse/partner of the Ambassador and the accompanying delegation stands in a short distance behind him/her. Shortly the President of the Republic of Lithuania, escorted by the Head of the President’s Protocol enters the White Hall. The President stops in front of the Ambassador at the designated area. The Adviser to the President stands behind the President in a short distance. The media representatives take their places on the left side of the Ambassador.
The Director of the Protocol Department introduces the Ambassador to the President of the Republic of Lithuania. The Ambassador approaches the President and presents his/her Letters of Credence alongside with the Letters of Recall of his/her predecessor. The President accepts the Credentials and exchanges handshakes with the Ambassador. The official photo of the President and the Ambassador is made with national flags of the Ambassador’s country and that of Lithuania in the background. Shortly, the Ambassador introduces to the President his/her accompanying party. The official photo is made once again.
After this ceremony, the President invites the Ambassador to the Blue Hall for an audience in the presence of the Advisor to the President. One member of the Embassy’s diplomatic staff may accompany the Ambassador. The rest of the accompanying party returns to the Ambassador’s Room.
The Ambassador together with the accompanying delegation is escorted by the Director of the Protocol Department to the courtyard of the Presidential Palace, where the motorcade is lined up. The Ambassador is escorted into the limousine, bearing the flag of the country represented by the Ambassador. The Protocol Officer accompanies the Ambassador to his/her Residence/Hotel or another meeting place.
Depending on weather conditions, aspects of the ceremony in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace may be modified.
Departure of the Head of Mission
As soon as the date of departure of an Ambassador who has accomplished his/her duties has been fixed, the Embassy informs the Protocol Department, which in its turn arranges farewell calls on the President and, if agreed, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as the VIP facilities for the Ambassador’s departure. The Embassy makes arrangements for other farewell calls the Ambassador may wish to make.
The protocol officer does not attend the Ambassador’s departure.