The one most known difference between a honorary consul and a career consul is that: honorary consul are non professional diplomats while career consuls are professional diplomats. Most of us however have no idea what that means and if they know they have little or vague information about it. So, what exactly does the term professional consul mean? I will explain that in details later. In addition, that is not the only difference between the two there are others and below I will explain a few.
HONORARY CONSUL AS A NON-PROFESSIONAL DIPLOMAT
Who is a professional consul? A professional consul is someone who makes his living as diplomat. That is someone whose fulltime job is diplomacy and he or she is authorized to stand up for all diplomatic matters that may pop up during their contract period.
Honorary consuls are non-professional diplomats. Diplomacy is not their full time jobs. They usually live, work as well as pay taxes in their country where they operate while they do represent their native country on a voluntary/non salaried basis until their honorary consul appointments get revoked. In other words they are diplomacy is just a part time job which most of the time is nonprofit making.
On the other hand, a career consul is a professional diplomat. Diplomacy is what they do for a living.
HONORARY CONSUL PAY THEIR TAXES
Unlike the career consuls, honorary consuls are responsible for paying their taxes in the country that they operate. This is what most people fail to understand. The government only covers taxes for career consuls but for the honorary consuls, they have to do it on their own.
HONORARY HAVE LIMITED AUTHORUSATION
Honorary consuls have limited authorization to act and conduct on behalf of their native country. This simply means, the extent to which the honorary diplomat can get into negotiations with other countries on behalf of his own country I s limited. There are some negotiations that (s)he cannot get involved in. A career diplomat on the other hand has unlimited authorization to act on behalf of their native country.
HONORARY CONSUL NEED NOT BE A CITIZEN
Does that sound weird? Yeah it does. It is true though. A honorary consul need not be a citizen of the country he or she get into negotiations on behalf of. This best explains why honorary consuls have limited authorization to act on behalf of the state behind his or her diplomatic appointments. For the career diplomat, being a citizen of the country or state behind the diplomatic appointment is not an option: it is a major requirement.
HONORARY CONSULS DO NOT REQUIRE DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS
Unlike career diplomat, honorary consuls are not holders of diplomatic passport. This also explains why they have limited authorization of their involvement in negotiations concerning the state/ country that have appointed them.
Those are just but a few differences between the honorary consul and a career diplomat. One should therefore have a wide knowledge and understanding of the field of diplomacy, that he or she has received a diplomatic appointment to operate in to preventing putting themselves or their native country or state at stake.