Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner

Ambassador vs High Commissioner

Those belonging to one of more than 50 commonwealth countries are aware of the terms High Commissioner and Ambassador, though very few understand the reason behind the use of dual titles for highest ranking official of one country in another country. For example, if you take India, it’s being a commonwealth country has both high commissioners as well as Ambassadors. Many people are confused between these two ranks and cannot make out the difference. This article will enable such readers to know the nuance behind two titles for the highest ranking official abroad.

Commonwealth countries have a tradition of appointing a high commissioner to other commonwealth countries. So India has a High Commission in Britain and the highest ranking official there is India’s High Commissioner to Britain. But the highest ranking official of India to represent the country in the US, which is not a commonwealth country, is an Ambassador, and not a High Commissioner. So US have Indian Embassy which has an Ambassador living and working there.

So while High Commissioner is the highest ranking official representing India in other commonwealth countries, it is Ambassador who fulfills this role in countries other than the commonwealth. Thus the rank of an Ambassador is the same as that of a High Commissioner and there is no ambiguity regarding the roles and functions of an Ambassador and a High Commissioner. Both work to strengthen the relations of the two countries and are called upon whenever the foreign country wishes to convey some important matter to the home country of the Ambassador or the High Commissioner, as the case may be.

While Embassy, where the Ambassador resides and works primarily as a diplomatic mission, the work of issuing visas to people visiting the home country are also carried on in a regular manner. Other staff in an embassy apart from the Ambassador includes a consular officer, economic, as well as political officers. The nomenclature of officials in a High Commission is a bit different as there are Governor General and Governor apart from the High Commissioner.

In brief:

Difference Between Ambassador and High Commissioner

• The highest ranking official of a commonwealth country in another commonwealth country is known as a High Commissioner while the same role in a country that does not belong to commonwealth is performed by an Ambassador.

• The rank of an Ambassador is same as that of High Commissioner