Visits to Lithuania

Created: 2014.02.26 / Updated: 2014.02.27 15:09

Visit of the Head of State

Programme

Although the programme is entirely agreed on and developed by the Protocol Departments of the countries concerned, it usually contains the following:

  • Unofficial welcoming/farewell at the airport;
  • Official Welcoming Ceremony at the Presidential Palace;
  • Meeting with the President of the Republic of Lithuania;
  • Meeting with the Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament);
  • Meeting with the Prime Minister;
  • Exchange of state decorations (State Visits only);
  • Exchange of gifts;
  • Signing of a document;
  • Press Conference;
  • Wreath laying ceremony in the Antakalnis Cemetery;
  • Official dinner/lunch;
  • Business forum or meeting with businessmen;
  • Lunch, dinner or reception hosted by a guest country in the honour of the State Visit of the Head of State (State Visits only);
  • Visiting other cities and sites of interest.

Other elements may be included into the programme bearing into consideration the interests and wishes of the visiting Head of State.

Programme for the accompanying spouse

During State and Official Visits, a separate programme for the accompanying spouse is arranged by the Protocol Department. To personalise the visit, the Protocol Department shall be informed about any particular interests the visiting spouse may have.

Welcoming at the airport

The visiting Head of State is greeted at the airport or other border crossing point by a welcoming delegation. The Head of State of the guest country is welcomed by a member of the Lithuanian Government, the Head of Mission of the guest country, the Head of Mission of the Republic of Lithuania in the guest country and the Director of the Protocol Department of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Once the aircraft has come to a standstill, the welcoming delegation accompanied by a representative of the

Vilnius International Airport moves to the end of the red carpet at the foot of the aircraft steps (Annex 3).

The Head of Mission of the guest country and the Director of the Protocol Department board the aircraft to escort the Head of State of the guest country and his/her spouse off the aircraft, if agreed in advance.

The Head of Mission of the guest country introduces the Director of the Protocol Department to the Head of State of the guest country.

At the foot of the aircraft steps the Head of State of the guest country and his/her spouse are greeted by the welcoming delegation, which will be presented to the Head of State of the guest country by the Director of the Protocol Department.

The visiting Head of State is honoured by the Guard of Honor. The Guard of Honor comes to attention and salutes as the Head of State walks down the red carpet.

The national flag of the guest country flies at the entrance of the VIP lounge. The national anthem is not played.

Once the delegation of the guest country gets into the cars, the motorcade leaves for the Presidential Palace or a Hotel/ Residence.

Official Welcoming Ceremony in the President’s Palace

The official welcoming ceremony takes place in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace (Annex 4). The red carpet is laid, the Guard of Honor and the Orchestra are lined up, and the national flags of the Republic of Lithuania and the guest country fly in the courtyard as well as in the Daukantas Square in front of the Presidential Palace.

The receiving line is formed by the protocol officers in accordance with Annex 4.

The press arrives to the courtyard through the main entrance, goes through the security check procedure, and takes its position not later than 15 minutes before the Ceremony, after the Official Welcoming Ceremony, the press is the last to leave the courtyard of the Presidential Palace and is escorted by a press service officer to the White Hall.

The delegation of the guest country arrives to the Presidential Palace not later than 15 minutes before the Ceremony and enters the courtyard through the Golden Gate. The delegation of the guest country, escorted by a protocol officer, takes the position in the receiving line.

The President of the Republic of Lithuania accompanied by the Head of President’s Protocol Division, enters the courtyard.

The motorcade arrives to the Presidential Palace courtyard and the President of the Republic of Lithuania greets the Head of State of the guest country and his/her spouse. They proceed along the red carpet. The spouse stands behind the Head of State of the guest country and the President of the Republic of Lithuania.

After fanfares are played, the Commander
of the Guard of Honor approaches the Head of State of the guest country and the President of the Republic of Lithuania and welcomes them.

The national anthems are played – the anthem of the guest country is played first, and the Lithuanian anthem follows. The Commander of the Guard of Honor reports to the Head of State of the guest country and the President of the Republic of Lithuania and invites them to inspect the Guard of Honor.

Meanwhile, the spouse, escorted by the Head of President’s Protocol Division of Lithuania, proceeds down the central path and joins the Lithuanian Official Welcoming Delegation.

When the inspection is over, the Commander stays with the Guard of Honor. The Head of State of the guest country approaches the Lithuanian Official Welcoming Delegation.

The Director of the Protocol Department introduces members of the Lithuanian delegation to the Head of State of the guest country and his/her spouse.

The Chief of Protocol of the guest country introduces members of his/her official delegation to the President of the Republic of Lithuania.

Afterwards, the Head of State of the guest country, his/her spouse and the President of the Republic of Lithuania enter the Presidential Palace followed by the delegations and proceed via red-carpeted Ceremonial Staircase to the White Hall on the second floor.

Official photo and signing of the guest book

After entering the White Hall, the President of the Republic of Lithuania and the President of the guest country have an official photo taken in front of the national flags of the Republic of Lithuania and the guest country: the first photo of the two Presidents, and the second photo of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, the President of the guest country and his/her spouse.

After the official photo, the President of the guest country and his/her spouse sign the guest book.

The ceremony is attended by the press who are escorted by a press service officer to a specially designated area in the White Hall before the ceremony.

Exchange of state decorations and gifts

The visiting Head of State and the President of the Republic of Lithuania exchange gifts, if agreed by the Protocol Departments before the visit.

In case of a State Visit, an exchange of state decorations may be arranged. The exchange of decorations and gifts usually takes place in the White Hall of the Presidential Palace. The spouse of the Head of State of the guest country, members of the official delegations and the press attend the ceremony. After the ceremony the spouse of the Head of State of the guest country is escorted by a protocol officer for a separate programme.

Meetings with the President of the Republic of Lithuania

After the exchange of state decorations and gifts, the Head of State of the guest country and the President of the Republic of Lithuania proceed for a tête-à-tête meeting to the Blue Hall.

The number of participants at the tête-à-tête meeting is restricted to 4 persons, including the Head of State of the guest country. After the tête-à-tête meeting, the Heads of State join the delegations in the Negotiations Hall.

The delegation up to 12 persons including the Head of State of the guest country attends bilateral discussions.

The press has a photo and video opportunity at the beginning of both meetings.

Signing a document

If agreed before the visit, after bilateral negotiations, the delegations of both countries move to the White Hall for signing the document/documents. The delegations assemble close to the national flags. Then the Heads of State enter the White Hall. Designated members of each delegation announce the document in their national languages.

The signing ceremony is attended by the press.

Press conference

When the bilateral negotiations or ceremony of signing a document conclude, the Heads of State, escorted by a protocol officer, proceed to the Press Conference Room. The President of the Republic of Lithuania and the Head of State of the guest country briefly present the conclusions of the bilateral meeting/ negotiations.

The statements by the President of the Republic of Lithuania and the visiting Head of State are followed by questions from the press.

Wreath laying ceremony in the Antakalnis Cemetery

The ceremonial party consists of the Head of State of the guest country, a member of the Lithuanian Government and the official delegation of the guest country.

The motorcade stops at the main gate of the Antakalnis Cemetery (Annex 5). The Head of State of the guest country accompanied by a member of the Lithuanian Government enters the Antakalnis Cemetery through the main gate and proceeds carrying a wreath along the central path, guided by the officers of the Guard of Honor.

When the delegation stops at a designated position at the foot of the Tomb, the orchestra strikes up. The members of the delegation ascend the steps leading to the Tomb, guided by the Guard of Honor.

The Head of State of the guest country, a member of the Lithuanian Government and two soldiers of the Guard of Honor stop in front of the Tomb, and the delegation takes position alongside the Tomb, on the right side to the Head of State of the guest country.

The soldiers of the Guard of Honor place the wreath at the base of the Tomb. Then they resume their position next to the Head of State of the guest country and render appropriate salute.

The Head of State of the guest country steps forward and adjusts the sashes of the wreath. When the Head of State returns to his/her position, he/she pays tribute bowing his/her head for a minute of silence.

Afterwards, the Guard of Honor guides the Head of State and the delegation to the main gate, thus concluding the ceremony.

Please note that a representative of the Embassy of the guest country is requested to deliver a wreath to the Antakalnis Cemetery at least one hour prior to the ceremony.

Official Dinner

State Visit Dress Code: Dark Suit or Black Tie
Official Visit Dress Code: Dark Suit

The delegation of the guest country arrives at the Presidential Palace 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the Official Dinner. The delegation enters the Presidential Palace via the Golden Gate and proceeds to the Hall of Maps. At the entrance to the Hall of Maps, each guest is handed a card with the following information: his/her name, title/position and the table number. In the Hall of Maps an aperitif is served.

Meanwhile, the motorcade of the Head of State of the guest country and his/her spouse, accompanied by the Chief of Protocol of the guest country and the Director of Protocol Department of the Lithuanian Ministry, stops at the entrance to the Presidential Palace in Daukantas Square or Presidential Park entrance. At the entrance stairway, they are met by the President of the Republic of Lithuania and invited to the Green Hall for an aperitif. After a short conversation, the Head of State of the guest country, his/her spouse and the President of the Republic of Lithuania enter the Ambassadors Hall, where a welcoming ceremony starts.

The Director of the Protocol Department and the Chief of Protocol of the guest country present Lithuanian and foreign guests respectively. The guests hand their cards to the Director of the Protocol Department at the entrance to the Ambassadors Hall. The Director of the Protocol Department announces a guest’s name and position and then the guest enters the Ambassadors Hall. After greeting (shaking hands) with the President of the Republic of Lithuania, the Head of State of the guest country and his/her spouse, the guest proceeds to the White Hall and takes a seat at the table indicated in his/her card.

Official speeches are made before the starter. The President of the Republic of Lithuania speaks Lithuanian and the Head of State of the guest country replies in his/her national language. Toasts and the national anthems follow each speech: the toast of the President of the Republic of Lithuania is followed by an anthem of a guest country and the toast of the Head of State of the guest country is followed by the Lithuanian anthem.

Written translations of the speeches are available on the tables.

Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Programme

The official programme usually includes:

  • Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs;
  • Meeting with the Prime Minister;
  • Official lunch/dinner;
  • Meeting with the Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament);
  • Exchange of gifts, usually through Protocol (official visits only).

In addition to the meetings with senior Government officials, the programme for the visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs is tailored according to the individual requirements and may be orientated towards any specific area.

Welcoming at the airport

Once the aircraft has come to a standstill, the greeting party accompanied by a representative of the Vilnius International Airport moves to the aircraft. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of a guest country and his/her delegation are greeted by a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania (Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Director of relevant Department) and the Director of the Protocol Department. The flag of the guest country flies at the entrance to the VIP Lounge. The delegation headed by the Foreign Minister leaves directly from the plane to a Hotel/Residence by a motorcade or the greeting party escorts the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the guest country into the VIP Lounge.

Official lunch/dinner

The visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs is honoured by an official lunch or dinner usually hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania. The list of invitees is drawn up by a respective Regional Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Exchange of gifts

Traditionally there is no exchange of gifts between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EU countries. If agreed on gift exchange, they should be handed to the Protocol Department, which arranges the gift presentation to respective dignitaries. It is not customary in Lithuania to present gifts to Lithuanian dignitaries at official meetings.

Practical information

In order to make all the necessary arrangements, the Protocol Department requests the following information and details to be submitted as early as possible prior to the visit:

  • Blood group of the Official Guest and his/her spouse, dietary restrictions, allergies (if any), and information regarding any special precautions to be taken for health reasons;
  • Commercial flight: flight number, times of arrival and departure;
  • Special flight: name of operator, type of aircraft, registration number, call sign, flight plan and list of crew members.

Lists of participants

To facilitate seating and transportation arrangements, lists should be submitted to the Protocol Department as early as possible indicating participants of the meetings and other events. The list of delegation in the English language should include the following: full name, title and order of precedence.

Working language

The Protocol Department shall be notified what language the Official Guest prefers to speak during the official meetings and whether an interpreter is required or if the guest is bringing an interpreter.

Passports and luggage

If needed, a member of the guest delegation shall be designated to collect passports and luggage tags prior to landing in Lithuania and hand them over to a person in charge at the airport upon arrival. A designated member of the delegation or a member of an Embassy of the guest country shall assist with luggage upon arrival and departure.

Private flight

An application for overflight and landing permission for the aircraft must be submitted by the Embassy concerned to the Protocol Department according to the procedure described in Item 6.3 Flight Permission. The Embassy is responsible for making all the necessary arrangements regarding the flight. The same applies to booking a hotel and arranging transportation for the crew of the aircraft.

Transportation

The Lithuanian side provides transport for the Official Guest, his/her spouse, the official and accompanying delegation, and the luggage, if needed.

An armoured limousine for the Official Guest is available upon special application (Verbal Note) to the Protocol Department.

If the number of persons of the delegation exceeds the number stated in subsection 3.4.1 it is the responsibility of the Embassy concerned of the guest delegation to cover expenses for the rest of the persons. The journalists and/or businessmen accompanying the delegation use vehicles provided by the Embassy. However, the Protocol Department can assist with renting a vehicle, if requested.

Meals

Any dietary restrictions or preferences or any other information that might be useful should be submitted to the Protocol Department well in advance.

Security

Security provision during the visit is the responsibility of the Lithuanian Government. Security officers of a guest country escorting the VIPs are requested to respect the regulations of the Republic of Lithuania concerning firearms.

Any accompanying body guards of the Official Guest must be identified well in advance and the following information shall be submitted by a Verbal Note to the Protocol Department: full name, passport number, ID number, date and place of birth. If the body guards are armed, full details must be provided concerning any firearms to be brought in Lithuania, specifically: type and number of firearm, quantity and diameter of cartridge.

If radio frequency is needed, information on frequency range and technical characteristic should be communicated to the Protocol Department.

The information shall be sent by a Verbal Note to the Protocol Department.

The Protocol Department provides the Lithuanian institutions concerned with the above named information. The written reply to the Embassy will be sent in case the permission will not be granted.

Medical Care

Medical care for the Official Guest, his/her spouse and the official delegation is assured during their stay in Lithuania.

Other arrangements

Information about any other appointments arranged by the Embassy which have to be included into the programme shall be submitted to the Protocol Department in advance.

Financial Aspects

Expenses covered by the Lithuanian side

The Lithuanian side covers the expenses for the following number of persons:

  • Head of State and/or Government State Visit: 10 persons (1+(1)+9) Official Visit: 5 persons (1+(1)+4) Working Visit: 3 persons (1+(1)+2) Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Official Visit: 3 persons (1+(1)+2) Working Visit: 2 persons (1+(1)+1)

However, the size of the official delegation, number of persons to be accommodated and transportation provided could be modified according to the principle of reciprocity, which may exceed or fall behind the accepted limits.

The expenses for telecommunication services, mini-bar, laundry, dry cleaning, etc. borne by members of the official delegation are not covered by the Lithuanian side.

The financial aspects of the forthcoming visit are discussed and agreed between the Protocol Departments of the States concerned.

Expenses not covered by the Lithuanian side

In connection with the preparation of the State or Official Visit, an advance team may arrive to Lithuania before the visit of the Official Guest. The size of the advance team is not limited.

The Lithuanian side can help arranging accommodation and transportation for an advance team, if there is no respective Embassy in Vilnius.

Expenses of the advance team are not covered by the Lithuanian side, however one meal hosted by the Director of Protocol Department is offered.