The missions can be called Germany's eyes, ears and voice abroad. On instructions from the Federal Foreign Office, they represent our country, defend its interests and protect its citizens in the host country. They negotiate with the government of the host country and promote political relations as well as economic, cultural and scientific cooperation.
The essential tasks of the missions include:
- collecting information,
- reporting on issues which are of relevance to the various authorities of the Federation and the Länder,
- helping German citizens in emergencies, carrying out crisis protection measures, and assisting Germans living abroad with regard to certificates and legal documents,
- issuing visas for travel to Germany,
- assisting German companies with their activities in the host country and generally enhancing mutual trade,
- promoting cultural exchange,
- educating the host country's public about our foreign policy and also about Germany, its society and culture in general,
- preparing and escorting high-level visits from Germany.
The 228 German missions abroad are divided into
- 153 embassies,
- 54 consulates-general,
- 7 consulates,
- 12 permanent missions,
- 1 other mission.
Furthermore there are
- 337 unpaid honorary consuls.