state visit

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Reception with military honors in 2005: Brazilian President Lula walks the front of an honorary formation of the French Republican Guard .

A state visit is a visit by a head of state to another state in his capacity as head of state.


During a state visit, all honors of diplomatic protocol are usually fully exhausted. This means in particular the reception with military honors and a state banquet .

For safety reasons, visitors are usually given free travel and escort by the police ( escort ).

In the past, monarchs paid only one state visit to other states. Today, however, the follow-up visits by all those involved in the government are also referred to as state visits.


Official visits , working visits and appointment visits , which each differ through their own protocol elements, are distinguished from state visits .

The concept of the state reception , which is given in honor of other people received by a state - for example also its own citizens - must also be distinguished from the state visit .

Usages in certain countries

Vatican city

The Pope will be equipping no state visits, but these visits are (according to language of the Holy Apostolic See is it's pastoral visit ) by the receiving protocol so treated, because the Pope is a subject of international law (as a person, defined as the Holy See , and is also head of of the State of Vatican City ).


The Switzerland may pay no state visits, which does not recognize the office of head of state. Instead, the Swiss Federal President , who is also the head of a specialist ministry (department), is received with one abroad . This alignment with the foreign protocol was not made until 1993. Before that, the respective Swiss Federal President only traveled abroad in exceptional cases.

See also


  • Daniela Rosmus: Switzerland as a stage. State visits and political culture 1848–1990. Chronos, Zurich 1994. ISBN 3-905311-47-X

Web links

Wiktionary: State visit  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : State visits  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Enrico Brandt, Christian F. Buck (ed.): Foreign Office . Diplomacy as a profession. 4th edition. Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14723-4 , pp. 37 (411 pp.).