State visits to the United States

State and official visits to the United States are formal visits by the head of state (state visit) or chief of government (official visit) from one country to the United States, during which the president of the United States acts as official host of the visitor. State visits are considered to be the highest expression of friendly bilateral relations between the United States and a foreign state and are, in general, characterized by an emphasis on official public ceremonies.

The White House arrival ceremony is a central component of state visits to the United States.

The first visit of a foreign state to the United States was the state visit of the then-independent Kingdom of Hawaii in 1874; this was followed by the state visit of Brazil in 1876. Since then, numerous heads of state and government have been formally received by the President of the United States in Washington. In addition to, and more frequently than, state and official visits, the United States also receives foreign dignitaries on official working visits, which are primarily functional trips that occur with less or no ceremony.


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