High Commission vs Embassy – Difference and Comparison

What is High Commission?

A high commission is a title used mostly by countries that are part of the British Commonwealth. It discusses Commonwealth diplomatic missions in other Commonwealth nations.

The term “Commonwealth” refers to the group of nations that the United Kingdom once colonized. Now, there are 53 of them.

These states range in size from India’s population to that of the Nevis and the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts. Sports, diplomacy, mutual defense, economic harmony, and joint military efforts strengthen their bond.

High commissions are comparable to embassies in that they represent the interests of one Commonwealth country in another. A high commissioner is the highest diplomat that normally ranks at the same level as an ambassador within the Commonwealth of Nations.

What is Embassy?

On the contrary, an embassy is a diplomatic mission outside the British Commonwealth.

When diplomats from one country or organization go to another country, they are said to be on a diplomatic mission, or in other contexts, a foreign mission, since they represent the interests of their home country or organization. Therefore, the term “embassy” is used to refer to a diplomatic mission between two nations that remains open permanently.

All official political, cultural, and social ties between nations are managed by the country’s embassy sending them. A country will have just one embassy in another country since it is where the ambassador to that country will be based during official duties.

Put another way, an embassy is the face of a country’s government in the host country, both abroad and at home. Therefore, it accomplishes the goals of the parent state by relaying messages from the parent state to the recipient state and back again.

Someone in the Commonwealth may claim it, but that’s not guaranteed. Its major objective is to compare and contrast the two countries foreign policies. Not to mention providing for the health and safety of the local populace.

Difference Between High Commission and Embassy

  1. The location of the high commission and the embassy is the primary distinction between the two types of diplomatic missions.
  2. For countries that are part of the Commonwealth, the term “Commission” is used, whereas “Embassy” is used everywhere.
  3. A high commission is the diplomatic mission of a Commonwealth nation in another Commonwealth country, while an embassy is the diplomatic mission of a country in the host country.

Comparison Table Between High Commission and Embassy

Parameter of ComparisonHigh CommissionEmbassy
MeaningIt is a diplomatic mission or outpost of a country that is part of the Commonwealth of Nations and based in the United Kingdom.  A diplomatic outpost in a country that’s not a member of the Commonwealth. It also means that one of the parties does not engage in the principles of the Commonwealth.  
Officer-in-chargeThose who serve as High Commission heads are referred to as High Commissioners.An ambassador is a title given to the person in command of a particular embassy.  
PurposeIncreases cohesion between the two countries in the union and proceeds to engage in other activities necessary for the well-being of its government.  Discussions are limited to issues that help maintain good ties between the two countries.  
ScopeIt may provide services to people who are not its citizens so long as those people are citizens of a Commonwealth member state.  Its services are only available inside its counties and nowhere beyond.  
ExampleSince India and Australia are both members of the British Commonwealth, the Indian diplomatic representation in Australia is referred to as a High Commission.  A diplomatic mission of Kenya in Qatar is an embassy. That’s because Kenya is part of the Commonwealth, unlike Qatar.


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