How to Address a US Ambassador



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HONOR & RESPECT

Abbess,
    Christian Orthodox       
Abbot,
    Christian Orthodox        
Accountant        
Acting Official       
Adjutant General     
Admiral
        

Admiral, Texas Navy   
Adventist Minister       
Alderman
        

Archbishop, Catholic        
Archbishop,
   Christian Orthodox        
Archdeacon, Episcopal        
Archimandrite        
Architect
Archpriest        
Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador to your country
   from a foreign country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   by a U.S. Citizen       
American Indian Chief        
Assemblyman
   U.S., State / or           

   Assemblywoman            
Associate Justice,
   U.S. Supreme Court          
Associate Justice of a
   State Supreme Court
Astronaut      
Attorney
         
Attorney General           
Attorney General,
       Assistant   
Attorney, U.S.         
Australian Officials    

Baron, Baroness           
British Officials,
   Royalty, Nobility     
Brother, Catholic
         
Brother,
   Christian Orthodox          
Bishop, Catholic            
Bishop,
   Christian Orthodox         
Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Boy        
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
Candidate    
Captain,
   USA, USAF, USMC     
Cardinal
             
Chairman
    Federal Reserve      
Chairwoman      
Chancellor      
Chaplain in the
    Armed Services        
Chaplain of Congress          

Chargé d’Affaires         
Chief Executive Officer 
Chief Judge          
Chief Justice,
      U.S. Supreme Court 
Chief Justice, of a State
      Supreme Court             

Chief of Police          
Chief of Staff     

Chief Operating
   Officer          
Child
           
Chiropractor     
City Manager
   
Clergy & Religious
    Officials     
Club Official          
Colonel, Kentucky      
Colonel, USA, USAF,
    or USMC     
Commandant       
Commissioner, Court     
Commissioner
         
Commodore of a         
      Yacht Club         
Congressman, U.S.               
Congresswoman, U.S.   
Consul and or
   Consul General   
 
Consultant      
Corporate Executive         
Councilman
    Councilwoman      
Counselor (Diplomat)      
Countess     
County Officials       
Couples     
    U.S. Military
    U.S. Officials
    Private Citizens  
Curator        

Dalai Lama          
Deacon         
Dean, academic            
Dean, clergy            
Deceased Persons        
Degree, honorary      
Delegate, U.S., State
            

Dentist             
Deputy Chief of Mission      
Deputy Marshal          
Designate,
Elect,
    Pro Tempore      
Diplomats      

District Attorney           
Doctor, Chiropractor     
Doctor of Dentistry
          
Doctor of Medicine              
Doctor, Military           
Doctor of
   Veterinary Medicine          
Doctor, Optometrist   
Doctor of Osteopathy            
Doctor, Other Disciplines     
Doctorate        
Doctorate, honorary      

Earl            
Elect, Designate
  
Pro Tempore      
Emeritus/emerita
     
Eminence     
Emperor    
Engineer    
Esquire, Esq.       
Etiquette    
Excellency           

Family     
Fiancee      
Firefighter    
First, Second,
   Third, etc.        
First Lady, Spouse
   of the President of
   the United States 
First Lady, Member
    of Her   
    White House Staff      
First Lady, Spouse
   of a Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lieutenant
   
Flag Protocol     
Former Officials    
Freeholder       

Gay Couple      
Geshe

General
    USA, USAF, USMC
Girl       

Goodwill Ambassador      
Governor General         
Governor, Lieuten
ant
 
Governor, Lt., Spouse   

Governor, Tribal Council          
Governor, U.S. State       
Governor, Former    
Governor
    Spouse of     
Governor's Staff,
    Member of
     
Governors, Board of 

High Commissioner    
Honorable, The
          
Honorary Ambassador       
Honorary degrees
Honorary doctorate
   
Honourable, The
   
 
   

Indian Chief         
Inspector General    
Interim Official   
Introductions       
Invitations
  
   Writing &  
   Addressing  
Invitations
   
Military:
    Writing &
    Addressing

Judge, former     
Judge of US City or

        US Count     
Judge, US Federal            
Junior, Senior,
    I, II, III, etc.       

Justice, Associate

     Federal
     Supreme Court

Justice, Associate

     State
     Supreme Court

King     
Knight      

Late, The
   (deceased persons)
       
Lawyer      
Lesbian Couple    
Lieutenant      
Lieutenant Colonel,     
   USA, USAF, USMC      
    
Lieutenant General,
   USA, USAF, USMC      

Lieutenant Governor    
     

Major
   USA, USAF, USMC  
Major General,
   USA, USAF, USMC   
Man, business
          
Man, social
         
Marquess / Marchioness
 
 
Married Women       
Marshal for a
   Judicial District, U.S. 
Mayor, U.S. City   
Mayor, Canadian City    
Mayor Pro Tempore
     
Mayor, Vice    
Medic      
Minister,
   Protestant Clergy       
Miss      
Monk,
   Christian Orthodox     
Monsignor       
Most Reverend, The        
Mother Superior
    
Mr. (Social)      
Mr. (Business)      
Mrs., Ms. (Use, Social Forms)      
Mrs. vs. Ms.     
Mr. & Mrs. / Couples   
   

Name Badges or Tags     
Nobility, British
       
Nobility, Other     
Nun, Catholic
  
Nun, Orthodox
Nurse           

Officer, Police     
Optometrist     

Pastor, Christian Clergy  
Patriarch,
   Christian Orthodox  
Patriarch,
   Ecumenical Patriarch
   of Constantinople  
People with Two Titles      
Permanent
     Representative        
Petty Officer
      
Pharmacist     
Physician
        
PhD     
Place Cards            
Police Chief
Police Officer                     
Pope, Catholic
  
Pope, Coptic
      
Postmaster General         
Post-Nominal
    Abbreviations    
Presbyter, Orthodox
   
President, corporate
President of
    College or
    University   
President of a
    Secondary
    School      
President of a
    US State Assembly 
President (current)
   of the U.S.A.          
President (former)
   of the U.S.A.     
     
President of the
    U.S.A., spouse of  
President-elect
    of the U.S.   
Priest, Catholic          
Priest,
    Christian Orthodox 
Priest, Episcopal        
Prime Minister
       
Principal      
Professionals
   & Academics         
Professor
     
Pro Tempore,
   Elect, Designate    
Psychologist      

Queen

Rabbi               
Ranger, Texas        
Representative,
   U.S., Federal           
Representative,
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Resident
    Commissioner 
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Q&A / Blog On
       Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    
 

   3. Q&A / Blog on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
Reverend, The
      
Right Reverend, The         

Same Sex Couple      
Salvation Army    
School Board Member
     
Second
Lieutenant        
Secretary,
   U.S. Department,
   Member of the Cabinet
Secretary
   of Defense, U.S.       
Secretary, Assistant       
Secretary General
   of the U.N.            
Senator, U.S., Federal       
Senator, U.S., State         
Senator, Canadian       
Senior, Junior,
     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge 
      
Sergeant       
Sergeant at Arms
          
Seventh Day
     Adventist Minister       
Sheriff       
Sister, Catholic       
Solicitor General      
Speaker of the U.S.
   House of
   Representatives.           
Specialist       
Spouse of the
    President of the U.S.       
Spouse of the
    Vice President
    of the U.S.           
Spouse of an
    Elected Official            
State Attorney     
Surgeon General          

Texas Ranger        
Town Justice      
Town Manager       
The Honorable     
Tribal Officials     
Two Titles,
    Person With

Under Secretary    
US Attorney
       
US Federal Officials
     
US State Officials     
US Municipal Officials

Venerable, The        
Veteran (not Retired)         
Veterinarian
           
Very Reverend, The         
VFW Officer/Official    
Vice Mayor       
Vice President
    of the U.S.
Spouse of the
    Vice President
   
of the U.S.
Vice President-elect
    of the U.S.      
 
Viscount and/or
   Viscountess        

Warrant Officer       
Widow
     
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


   

How to Address an Ambassador
Of the United States of America

If you are looking for foreign ambassador to the US, here's that form.    
If you are looking for retired or former US ambassador, here's that form.    

      These are the correct forms for a US citizen to address a US ambassador.
      Outside the USA it is also correct for foreign residents to address a US ambassador with these styles, but is also correct for foreign national to use the international diplomatic form for addressing current accredited ambassadors.

     There are a number of ways to address a US ambassador to a foreign nation depending the situation:
     United States Ambassador at Post outside the Western Hemisphere
    
United States Ambassador at Post in the Western Hemisphere
     United States Ambassador away from his or her Post

How to Address a Current US Ambassador at Post
Except in the Western Hemisphere

Envelope, official:    
    The Honorable
        (Full name)
            American Ambassador
                (Address)

Letter salutation:
    Dear Mr./Madam Ambassador:

How to Address a Current US Ambassador at Post
In the Western Hemisphere

Envelope, official:    
    The Honorable
        (Full name)
            Ambassador of the United States of America
                (Address)


Letter salutation:
    Dear Mr./Madam Ambassador:

How to Address a Current US Ambassador
Away from Post

Note: Use Ambassador of the United States of America in the Western Hemisphere. Use American Ambassador elsewhere.

Envelope, official:    
    The Honorable
        (Full name)
            American Ambassador to (country)    * See NOTE Above
                (Address)


Letter salutation:
    Dear Mr./Madam Ambassador:

All about The Honorable
Link to Q&A just on officials in the U.S. addressed as The Honorable


FYI, here is what's come in to the Blog that relates to this office/rank.
   For recent questions sent in, check out Robert Hickey's Blog.

   For specific offices/ranks, check out Robert Hickey's On-Line Guide.


How to Address a Retired US Ambassador?
    How do I address (in a letter) an retired American Ambassador?
           -- Carol Bentley

Dear Ms. Bentley:
     A retired US ambassador is addressed by US citizens on the envelope and in the address block of the letter as:
            The Honorable Carol Bentley
            (Address)

     If he (or she) was a career diplomat and is now retired, in the salutation or conversation he would be addressed as:
            Dear Ambassador Bentley,
     Only career ambassadors … retired career foreign service officers
are Ambassador (surname) in a salutation or conversation …  political appointees revert to whatever honorific to which they were entitled before serving as an ambassador.
     So if he was a political appointee who served as ambassador, the State Dept. would use as a salutation:
            Dear Mr./Dr./Senator/etc. Bentley,
  -- Robert Hickey

How to Address an Ambassador:
Your Excellency? or The Honorable?

I see some ambassador's names written as The Honorable (full name) and others as His Excellency (full name). Which is correct?  The ambassador who is coming is the French Ambassador. How should I write his name?
        ~ The Diva of Diplomats

Dear Diva:
    1) An ambassador of the United States is addressed by US citizens as:
          The Honorable (full name)
                 The Ambassador of the United States of America
                           (Address)

    The form -- the Honorable -- is used because US citizens formally address their own officials as the Honorable (Full Name).
   
2) Any foreign ambassador is addressed as:
          His/Her Excellency (full name)
                 The Ambassador of (official name of country)
                           (Address)

    Form #2 is standard around the world for addressing ambassadors. Even US ambassadors are addressed as His/Her/Your Excellency when they serve abroad by citizens of the countries in which they are serving.
    Thus, the French Ambassador to the USA is addressed as:
          His Excellency (full name)
                 The Ambassador of the French Republic
                           (Address)

           -- Robert Hickey

How to Address Ambassadors
At-Post and Back Home?

      We are doing an overview of usage of the title Your Excellency to the Ambassadors (of the State and accredited to the country) when accompanying their Heads of State or Government abroad.  I would like to know -
 
      1) Would you address your  Ambassador (USA ambassador accredited in UK)  with "Your Excellency" when taking part of the official visit by the President of the USA  to UK?
       2) Would you address UK Ambassador accredited in USA with "Your Excellency" when taking part of the official visit by the President of the USA  to UK?
               -- Tina

Dear Tina,
       FYI, your questions are answered in my book in the chapter on Diplomats and International Officials.
 
       1) Foreign ambassadors at-post
       In the US we follow the standard international practice of addressing accredited current ambassadors ... from one head of state to another head of state ... as "His Excellency John Jones,"  "Her Excellency Mary Jones,"  "Your Excellency" or "Ambassador Jones" the last being the least formal.
       2) Foreign ambassadors when back home in their own country
       In the US, US citizens follow our standard practice of using "The Honorable" for everyone appointed by The President. So we address US ambassadors as "The Honorable Henry Smith" or "Mr. Ambassador" or "Ambassador Smith" ... the last being the least formal.
    Your questions:
    Would you address your Ambassador (USA ambassador accredited in UK)  with Your Excellency when taking part of the official visit by the President of the USA to UK?
    I would as a US citizen address a US Ambassador would "The Honorable Henry Smith" or "Mr. Ambassador" or "Ambassador Smith"  I would not use the British spelling of  "Honourable" just because we were in the UK ... since the nicest way to write a name is the way one sees it at home ... which would be "Honorable"
    Would you address UK Ambassador accredited in USA with Your Excellency when taking part of the official visit by the President of the USA to UK?
    I would as a US citizen always address a UK ambassador as "His Excellency John Jones"  "Your Excellency" or "Ambassador Jones" the last being the least formal.

               -- Robert Hickey

How To Address Two Officials Addressed as
The Honorable on an Envelope?

Please tell me what the joint salutation would be for married officials, both addressed as "The Honorable" (in this case they are both U.S. ambassadors) with different last names. Am I correct in that the mail names would be ... 
     The Honorable Jack G. Small
     and The Honorable Ann K. Jones

                 -- Debbie

Dear Debbie:
    Yes ... that is perfect. Each gets their full name spelled out on their own line.
    Next question is whose name is listed first? You listed Jack Small. Officially the one who became an ambassador earlier has higher precedence ... and would be listed first ... unless you are writing to one of them at their post ... and an ambassador at his or her post has the higher precedence.

                   -- Robert Hickey

How a Should Non-US Citizen
Address an American Ambassador ?

          I am writing an invitation letter to the ambassador of the United States to Japan. According to your book the ambassador should be addressed by US citizens as The Honorable John V. Roos.  But I am a Japanese citizen.  I will be writing to him in care of the US Embassy in Tokyo. 
          Should I address him as The Honorable John V. Roos as the U.S. citizens do?  Or should I address him as His Excellency John. V. Roos?
        ~ T. Suzuki

Dear T. Suzuki:
          Using The Honorable would be honoring his tradition -- would be how a US citizen would address him -- and how he would expect to be addressed in the USA. It is not wrong for you to use it.
          Using The Excellency will follow the international custom -- and how he  would expect to be addressed outside the USA and in Japan.
          Both are correct, but use Excellency since you are in Japan and are a Japanese citizen.
           -- Robert Hickey


Not Finding Your Question Answered?
Below are other topics covered in my blog and at right is a list of officials, Between the two I probably have what you are looking for.
     After hunting around a bit, if you don't see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day (unless I am traveling.)
      If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – with your name and any personal specifics changed.
      -- Robert Hickey

USE OF NAMES & HONORIFICS   
Mr., Miss, Jr., III, & Names        
Married Women       
Deceased Persons         
People with Two Titles
Post-Nominal Abbreviations and Initials         
 
Couples: Private Citizens / Joint Forms of Address 
Couples: U.S. Military / Joint Forms of Address     
Couples: U.S. Officials / Joint Forms of Address      

USE OF SPECIFIC OFFICIAL TITLES        
Former Officials            
Professionals and Academics        

United States Federal Officials, Currently In Office             
United States State Officials, Currently In Office              
United States Municipal Officials, Currently In Office             
       All About The Honorable with U.S. Officials         
       Former United States Officials of all types             
United States Armed Services, Active Duty             
       Addressing Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Retired Personnel      
       Use of Rank by Veterans      

Tribal Officials 
           
Clergy and Religious Officials           
Canadian Officials         
Australian Officials          
British Officials, Royalty, and Nobility        
Diplomats and International Representatives
           
Foreign National Officials and Nobility        

SPECIFIC SITUATIONS
Business Cards       
Couples        
Etiquette
            
Flags and Anthem Protocol             
Introductions
            
Invitations: Writing & Addressing
        
Invitations: Just Armed Service Personnel        
Name Badges & Tags            
Names on Programs, Signs, & Lists            
Naming a Building or Road            
Place Cards            

Plaques, Awards, Diplomas, Certificates    
Precedence: Ordering Officials 
         
Thank You Notes             


Site updated by Robert Hickey on October 8, 2014

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For forms of address for invitations, place cards, name badges, introductions, conversation, and all other formal uses, see Honor & Respect: the Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address.

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Photo: Marc Goodman.





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