In diplomacy, a courtesy call
is a formal meeting in which a diplomat or representative of a state pays a visit out of courtesy to a head of state or state office holder. Courtesy calls may be paid by another head of state
, a prime minister
, a minister, or a diplomat. The meeting is usually of symbolic value and rarely involves a detailed discussion of issues.
At the start of the New Year, the diplomatic corps usually pays a collective courtesy call on a head of state to deliver their state's new year's greeting to the head of state. In some instances speeches may be delivered, often by the head of state, in which their state's diplomatic policies for the forthcoming year may be outlined. The ambassadors then report on that speech to their own heads of state and government.
At the most formal level, ambassadors paying courtesy calls on a head of state may be required to wear diplomatic uniform, state national dress, morning suit or white tie.
Formal courtesy calls on a head of state usually take place in a presidential or royal palace.