State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, with the aim of strengthening Britain's relationships with other countries.
There are usually two incoming State visits each year. Invitations are sent on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Watch footage from the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace during the State Visit of the President of the Republic of Korea:
The Queen acts as host to the visiting Head of State, who stays either at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or, occasionally, The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Visits normally begin with a ceremonial welcome attended by The Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family. If the guest is staying at Buckingham Palace, the welcome takes place on Horse Guards Parade.
After inspecting a guard of honour, the visiting President or Monarch then travels with The Queen in a Carriage Procession back to Buckingham Palace.
On the evening of the arrival day, the Head of State will attend a State Banquet in his or her honour.
View a film about State Banquets:
Before leaving, he or she will occasionally host a Banquet or other return hospitality at an alternative location.
During the visit, the Head of State will meet the British Prime Minister, Government ministers and leaders of the main political parties.
The visiting Head of State will also attend a Banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation, when he or she will meet leaders of commerce and industry.
When Heads of State visit Britain less formally, they are nearly always received in audience by The Queen.
To view a list of inbound State Visits since 1952 click here.