Joining ICSID

The ICSID Convention is open for signature on behalf of:

  • all States members of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, a part of the World Bank); and
  • any other State which is a party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, on the invitation of the ICSID Administrative Council by a vote of two-third of its members (Article 67 of the ICSID Convention).

There is no cost to join or maintain membership in ICSID.

The IBRD is the depositary for the ICSID Convention, keeping custody of its original text and receiving signatures and instruments of ratification of the ICSID Convention​.

Articles 67 to 75 of the ICSID Convention address membership in ICSID. The process of joining the ICSID Convention consists of: (i) signature; (ii) ratification and (iii) entry into force.​

(i) Signature:  A State begins the process of becoming an ICSID Member by advising the Secretary-General of its intent to join ICSID and by signing the ICSID Convention.  The ICSID Convention is open for signature at the principal office of the World Bank at 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20433.  The Convention may be signed directly by the Head of State, Head of Government, or Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State concerned.  Alternatively, a State may authorize a diplomat or other official to sign the ICSID Convention on its behalf by providing that person with an instrument of full powers. Countries that have signed the ICSID Convention are called signatory States.

(ii) Ratification: Upon completion of its internal steps, the signatory State will deposit an  instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval of the ICSID Convention.  The date of deposit is the date on which the instrument is received by the  World Bank.

(iii) Entry into force: The ICSID Convention enters into force for the State concerned 30 days after the date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval (Article 68(2) of the ICSID Convention).

The ICSID Convention does not provide for treaty reservations. However, Member States may make notifications and designations on signing, ratifying or any time thereafter.

A Member State may withdraw from the ICSID Convention by written notice to the depositary (Article 71 of the ICSID Convention). This takes effect six months after the date of receipt of the notice. The ICSID Convention contains provisions to safeguard legal rights and obligations before the withdrawal takes effect (Article 72 of the ICSID Convention).

Further information about signature and ratification of the ICSID Convention is available in the Guide to Membership in the ICSID Convention and in the Memorandum on Signature and Ratification, Acceptance or Approval of the ICSID Convention. The Guide to Membership will take governments step by step through the process of joining the ICSID Convention. The Memorandum is a practical guide to the World Bank’s depositary practice under the ICSID Convention designed for use by States.

For further information on how to join ICSID please contact the Secretary-General.