How to Write a Letter to an Ambassador

How to Write a Letter to an Ambassador

In the diplomatic corps it is important that all invitations, requests and questions be put in writing. Consequently, if you have any business with an embassy, you will have to write a letter. Like good manners, proper writing skills are expected in diplomatic circles and people are judged by how well they follow protocol. Writing a letter to an ambassador isn’t difficult. It just requires you to follow some basic rules.

Use the block format. This is the accepted style wherein all text starts flush with the left side of the page. Rather than indenting, leave one space between each paragraph.

Use letterhead and leave a space between the address and the date. If you don’t have letterhead, type your address in the top left corner, and then add a space and enter the date.

Leave a space after the date and enter the inside address. Write “The Honorable (full name), Ambassador of the United States on the first line and follow with American Embassy and the address.

Write (His or Her) Excellency, Ambassador (full name), on the first line, if you are writing to a foreign ambassador. Write Embassy of (country) and follow with the address. The inside address is what separates business letters from friendly letters, and the address is the same as the one that goes on the envelope.

Leave a space following the inside address, and then write the salutation. The correct format is “Dear (Mr. or Madam) Ambassador" for an American ambassador and "Your Excellency" for a foreign ambassador.

Leave a space again, and begin the body of the letter. Explain why you are writing to the ambassador. Get straight to the point by saying, “I am writing to request...."

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Don’t use a big word when a small one will do. Maintain a professional tone at all times when you are writing a letter to an ambassador.

Compose another short paragraph, making sure to once again leave a space between paragraphs, and provide any supporting information. If, for example, you are writing to ask the ambassador to speak at a ceremony, provide the time, date and venue details.

Start a final paragraph by thanking the ambassador for his time and for considering your request. Leave a space between the final section and the closing.

End your letter with “Yours sincerely." Leave three or four spaces for your signature, and then type your name.

Check for spelling and typing mistakes. Read the letter aloud and listen for the tone. Edit accordingly.

Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.