Concept

Letter of credence

Summary
A letter of credence (Lettre de créance) is a formal diplomatic letter that designates a diplomat as ambassador to another sovereign state. Commonly known as diplomatic credentials, the letter is addressed from one head of state to another, asking them to give credence (créance) to the ambassador's claim of speaking for their country. The letter is presented personally by the ambassador-designate to the receiving head of state in a formal ceremony, marking the beginning of the ambassadorship. Letters of credence are traditionally written in French, the lingua franca of diplomacy. However, they may also be written in the official language of the sending state. Presentation of credentials Upon arrival at their post, the ambassador-designate meets with the foreign minister to arrange for an audience with the head of state. They bring both a sealed original and an unsealed copy of his credentials. The unsealed copy is given to the foreign minister upon arrival, and the o
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