Persona Non Grata Law and Legal Definition

Persona non grata means an unwelcome person. This term is mostly used in diplomacy. The term means a person who is unacceptable to the government to which the person is sent. This situation arises when two countries are at war or have severe difference of opinion. In the formal diplomatic sense, the status of persona non grata may be applied to a diplomat, or a member of the diplomatic staff who break the rules of the country in which s/he is visiting. Generally, a diplomat has diplomatic immunity from the laws of the country. However, if the person breaks the country’s laws, then s/he can be declared persona non grata and expelled from the country.

A diplomat can also be declared persona non grata by a country when s/he is suspected for spying. A suspected spy will not be dealt with by the foreign country and will not be recognized as an authority of a representative country. Hence suspected spies with persona non grata status are often replaced by diplomats who are not suspected spies. Certain persons’ past can also render him/her the status of persona non grata in foreign countries.