How to Address a Former Vice President

How to Address a Former Vice President?

The current vice president is addressed orally as Mr. Vice President and referred to as The Vice President. Traditionally being vice president is a one-person-at-a-time office and former officials don’t continue to be so addressed when they leave office.

However, in the popular view vice president is a permanent rank one attains and keeps. Thus many think that the former office holder is Vice President (Name) forever.

You will have noted this in the media where former vice presidents are addressed, and referred to, as Vice President (Name).  For a reporter this informs the viewer/reader of what office this person once held. But it can be misleading. Aware reporters are quick to note their ‘former’ status so no one mistakenly thinks they are the current office holder.

Some former office holders insist upon being addressed as Vice President (Name) in their post-office private endeavors. Most of the time it doesn’t create confusion and it strokes their ego, but at an official event one should avoid addressing a former vice president as Vice President (Name) —  especially when the current office holder is present.


The Honorable (Full Name)


* Dick Cheney was as member of the House of Representatives formally Mr. (Surname) in writing – so he formally is: Dear Mr. (Surname):

* Albert Gore would formally go back to his highest former honorific … Dear Senator (Surname):


Very Respectfully,

———-— Robert Hickey

Related Posts:
—-Candidate for Office
—-The Honorable, Use of
—-The Late, Use of
—-Pro Tempore


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”