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Diplomats’ Licence Plates 101

Diplomats enjoy the perks which diplomatic passport carries, which includes visa-free travelling to almost every country on the planet. However, diplomats also enjoy the traffic right-of-way and are often accompanied by their own drivers, bodyguards and police escort.


They are usually driving around in expensive vehicles with tinted windows, adorned with licence plates starting with “CD” (Corps Diplomatique = diplomatic corps). Each country has their own design and colour of the diplomatic licence plates.



The licence plates are coded according to the nationality of the vehicle owner, that is the nationality of the diplomat in question. The numbers also indicate the position of that person in the embassy or organisation. Based on the diplomat’s rank (secretary, counsellor, minister, ambassador, envoy, chargé d’affaires) the licence plate number is decided. Number 1 is, for example, reserved for the ambassador.


Diplomats also enjoy diplomatic immunity. This immunity does not protect embassy members from fines, but it does prevent their prosecution and lawsuits in the foreign country where they are stationed. Therefore, traffic tickets are unavoidable and have to be paid despite the diplomatic immunity.


Swiss diplomats are driving vehicles with these letters:

CD   is for company cars of diplomatic missions in Bern, as well as the private cars of the bosses and those of the diplomatic staff.
AT   is reserved for private cars of the administrative and technical staff of the diplomatic missions in Bern.
CC   can be found on vehicles of the consulates of consular posts in Switzerland and the private cars of the bosses and those of the professional consular officers.
CD   is for company cars that are constantly in international organisations based in Switzerland and the private cars of senior and senior officials.

Rest of the letters indicate the Swiss canton where the diplomat is based, e.g. ZH = Zurich.

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