This section is designed to provide quick reference tips about
hosting international visitors, etiquette, and related information
for individuals and businesses traveling to international locales.
Proper and respectful protocol is essential in developing and
maintaining international relationships. As members of the global
community, a sensitivity and understanding of cross-cultural
protocol is vitally important. This will link you to a site that
provides a wealth of information about proper etiquette,
communication and appearance pertaining to specific countries.
||HOSTING INTERNATIONAL GUESTS
The cardinal rule that
should guide your thoughts as you plan to receive international
guests or travel abroad is: "When in doubt, err on the side of
excess." One doesn't have to apologize for being too kind and
brief guidelines are meant to be representative of the types of
things that reflect proper international protocol. There may be
variations for different cultures and circumstances.
- Establish a schedule of
activities for the guest.
Having one person in charge of the schedule is recommended.
That person may notify everyone who will be seen by the visitor
and remind them of protocol. In addition, that person should
explain why the person is interested in visiting them so that
they may prepare properly for the visit. In preparing the
visitor's schedule, the possibility of jet lag should be taken
into consideration. It's also a good idea to allow a little down
time for the visitor to take care of personal business and
- Who should the visitor see?
The status of the visitor and the significance of the visit
would dictate the appropriate individuals with whom visits
should be arranged. At least one visit should be arranged with a person at an
equivalent level of status as the highest-ranking visitor.
- What should the visitor see?
A tour is a tour is a tour unless planning is put into
it. Match the tour to the visitor's interests and needs. The
Arlington Entertainment District is known as Fun Central and The
Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau can assist with
planning local activities and visits to sites of interests - and
be sure to stop at the Visitors Center, where guests
might want to purchase souvenirs.
- Making Introductions
It is important to introduce visitors to all with whom they
come in contact. Degrees and titles carry more prestige in other
cultures than they do in the United States; titles should be
included in the introduction. Handshakes are generally exchanged
more frequently in other cultures usually upon greeting and
leave-taking. Exchange of business cards is usually expected.
- Gift Giving
Gift giving is an important part of international protocol.
Gifts should be high quality, but can vary based on the
status of the visitor. If it is a group, small distinctions
should be made in the quality and/or quantity of gifts based on
each person's status, but no one should be left out.
Consideration should be given to the most appropriate time to
give the gift.
Costs of hotel accommodations don't vary greatly in
Arlington, so a quality room should be reserved. A nice touch is
to leave a small gift, light snacks, bottled water and
information about Arlington in the guest's room. A car and
driver should escort the guests wherever they need to go,
including to and from the airport.
- Suggestions for Specific Events
Signing Ceremonies -
Ceremonies where accords, statements of collaboration, exchange
agreements with the City of Arlington are signed should have an
air of formality. These should be viewed as dignified and solemn
events. The Mayor should always be presiding over such an event.
Gifts may be presented here. They should be kept discreetly out
of sight so that in the event the visitor did not bring gifts,
they can be taken away to avoid embarrassment.
The flags of both countries should be prominently displayed.
There should be modest refreshments, flowers and similar
appointments. The media should be invited. Since their attendance
cannot be guaranteed, a photographer should be there to record
the event. Later, pictures should be mailed back to the visitor
with a letter from the Mayor. As at any public event, words of
welcome are expected.
Luncheons and Dinners -
Everyone may not arrive on time so it's advisable to gather in a
nice lounge area before going to the room where the meal will be
served. Meals should be dignified events where conversation is
encouraged. Highest-ranking individuals should be given a
tasteful dinner. In many cultures, socialization is more
important than sustenance. Make an effort to distribute visitors
with English fluency evenly around the table. The senior visitor
in a group or the single visitor is always seated to the right
of the host. If possible, use place cards to ensure the people
will be distributed according to the plan. If the person's name
and title, the occasion, the date and menu are all included,
place cards become a nice souvenir. Gifts are very
appropriate here and it is not necessary to keep them out of
It is not advisable to prepare foods from the visitor's culture
unless you are absolutely certain it can be prepared properly.
Americanized international cuisine is a faux pas. When in doubt,
chicken (not fried) can be served. It is a good idea to avoid the
American version of "eat and run" meals. Lunches, for example,
should be more than a Caesar salad or soup and sandwich.
Receptions - It is always
appropriate to host a reception for international visitors. City
of Arlington personnel with equal rank of the visitor should
always be invited. The Mayor should be invited as well, but
unless the visitor is of equal rank the event should not be
postponed to meet the Mayorís schedule. It is also good to
invite local or state officials depending on the guest being
International students or local community people from the
visitor's culture may be able to help with preparing authentic
foods and hors d'oeuvres. This always adds a nice touch along
with background music from the visitor's culture.
Whatever your purpose in visiting another
country, your first job is to adapt. Here are some basics that should
be reviewed before the trip:
- Appropriate greetings and the pronunciation of names - Degrees and titles carry more
prestige in other cultures than they do in the United States.
Handshakes are generally exchanged more frequently in other
cultures, usually upon greeting and leave- taking. Exchange of
business cards is expected. Guests should plan to take at least
twice as many business cards as they think they will need.
- Learn about foods and food
- The currency system
- The dress code
- As much of the language as
- The usual weather conditions at
the time of your visit
- Gift-giving rituals - Gift giving
is an important part of international protocol. Gifts should be
high quality, but they can vary based on the status of the
recipient. It's best to take gifts for those people whom the
guests know they will meet and a few extra gifts for unexpected
- Anticipate questions about
Arlington and Texas - Take brochures and
- Religious beliefs and customs
integral to the culture.
- Any important cultural events,
holidays, or sporting events that will take place during the
- Observe all safety
recommendations, such as going out unescorted in a foreign
This link details the importance of travel warnings and news updates
and provides a concise overview of the history, education, culture
or business climate of the destination.
The World Fact Book & Country Profiles
Starting Jan. 1, 2007, all U.S. citizens traveling outside the
U.S. borders by air or sea must have a passport to return home.
This requirement is part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
mandated by Congress.
To obtain a passport for the first time, go in person to one of
6,000 passport acceptance facilities located across the U.S. with
two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid
form of photo identification such as a driverís license. In
Arlington, go to the USPS Passport Clerk at 300 E South
Street, Arlington, TX 76010-9998.
A passport may be renewed by mail if it is not damaged and is
available to submit; if you received your passport in the past 15
years; you were over age 16 when it was issued; you still have the
same name (or can legally document your name change).
This link provides a list of and associated links to the
websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions.
Additional Travel Information can be located using the following
Telephone International Codes
Travel and Language Services
Additional Business Information can be located using the following
Taiwan, Republic of China
Canary Islands, Spain
Canary Islands, Spain
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
The following information is provided as general
guidelines for United States of America flag protocol:
- It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise
to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open.
When a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed
twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of
- The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main
administration building of every public institution.
- When carried in a procession with another flag or flags, the
United States flag should be carried on either the marching right;
that is the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags,
in front of the center of that line.
- No other flag or pennant should be placed above, or, if on the
same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of
- No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any
other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position
of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the
United States at any place within the United States or any Territory
or possession thereof.
- The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed
with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on
the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of
the staff of the other flag.
- The flag of the United States of America should be at the center
and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of
States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and
displayed from staffs.
- When various flags are flown together with the flag of the United
States in the same halyard, the flag of the United States is always
raised first and lowered last.
- When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be
flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be
of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display
of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in a time of
- When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall,
the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is
to the observer's left. The same conditions apply when displaying
the flag in a window.
- When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it
should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an
east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
- When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat,
should be displayed above and behind the speaker.
- The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the
peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The
flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the
- When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a
building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended
vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon
entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag
should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or
lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east
and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south.
If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should
be to the east.
- The United States of America flag should never be dipped to any
person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organizational
or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
- The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as
a signal of dire distress.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the
ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
- The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always
aloft and free.
- The flag should not be used as drapery or as a covering for a
speaker's desk. Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with
the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should
be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the
platform, and for decoration in general.
- The flag should never have placed on it any mark, insignia,
letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
- The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving,
holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
- The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any
matter whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as
handkerchiefs or napkins or anything that is designed for temporary
use and discard.
- No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic
uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of
military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic
- The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a
fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way,
preferably by burning.
Also refer to the RESOURCE section of this web site for additional
information and a list of publications.
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