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Sound of 21 guns signals a visitor with clout

Types of meetings that foreign dignitaries may have:

State visit: the ultimate, with a state dinner, an honor ceremony with 21-gun salute on the White House lawn for a head of state and a 19-gun for a head of government. Visitor also may stay at the presidential guest quarters, Blair House.

Official visit and working visit: may include lunches, meetings or whatever else the host president wants.

The drop-by: the visitor gets a meeting with someone other than the president and the president "happens to drop by" for a few minutes.

The pull-aside: sort of a drop-by in public — the president is attending a public event and meets briefly with the visitor in an anti-chamber.

Private visit: foreign dignitary is in the United States primarily for private reasons and may or may not schedule a coinciding meeting.

Others: Also, many visitors don't see the president at all but rather meet with a Cabinet officer or some other official.