Diplomatic Shipments or Diplomatic Cargo are items that are consigned to government officials and employees of non-U.S. countries who have a diplomatic mission/duty in the United States.
These cargo shipments have certain legal protection as they are considered official diplomatic correspondence. These protections were established by Article 27 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Signed in 1961, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is an international treaty which was established to serve as a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. Under this treaty, diplomatic missions enjoy certain privileges which allow diplomats to perform their duties and responsibilities without fear of being harassed by the host country.
Diplomatic Shipments come in many forms, they can either be in large cardboard boxes, briefcases, a huge suitcase, duffel bags, crates or even as huge as shipping containers. Some common examples of diplomatic couriers are ministers, ambassadors, secretaries, counselors, charged’ affairs, attaches who are employed by and who serve countries other than the United States of America.
In order to secure entry of diplomatic shipments into the United States through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, one must accurately fill out form DS-1504 “Request for Customs Clearance of Merchandise.” Once the copy of the airway bill or bill of lading is made available, the foreign mission can then complete the form and submit it to the U.S. Department of State Office of Foreign Missions for verification and processing.