Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 [FSIA] Law and Legal Definition

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) is a United States federal law that was into law by President Gerald Ford on October 21, 1976. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act provides the sole basis for obtaining jurisdiction over a foreign state. It specifies the conditions that must be met for instituting a lawsuit against a foreign state. It also provides specific procedures for service of process and attachment of property for proceedings against a Foreign State. The law is codified at 28 U.S.C.S. § 1602 et seq.

The following is an example of a case law on the Act:

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), 28 U.S.C.S. § 1602 et seq., grants federal courts jurisdiction over civil actions against foreign states, 28 U.S.C.S. § 1330(a), and over diversity actions in which a foreign state is the plaintiff, 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(a)(4); it contains venue and removal provisions, 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 1391(f), 1441(d); it prescribes the procedures for obtaining personal jurisdiction over a foreign state, 28 U.S.C.S. § 1330(b); and it governs the extent to which a state's property may be subject to attachment or execution, 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 1609-1611. Finally, the FSIA carves out certain exceptions to its general grant of immunity. These exceptions are central to the FSIA's functioning: at the threshold of every action in a district court against a foreign state, the court must satisfy itself that one of the exceptions applies, as subject-matter jurisdiction in any such action depends on that application.

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), is not simply a jurisdictional statute concerning access to the federal courts but a codification of the standards governing foreign sovereign immunity as an aspect of substantive federal law. Moreover, in any suit against a foreign sovereign, a plaintiff will be barred from raising his claim in any court in the United States unless one of the FSIA's exceptions applies. [Republic of Aus. v. Altmann, 541 U.S. 677 (U.S. 2004)]