How Many Countries Does the United States Recognize?

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Kosovo is recognized as an independent country by the United States.
  • The United States officially recognizes 195 countries.
  • The United Nations recognizes 195 sovereign countries. 193 of these countries are members of the United Nations, and two: the Holy See and the State of Palestine are observer states.
  • The difference between the United Nations and the United States is the UN recognizes Palestine as an observer state and the US does not recognize Palestine but it recognizes Kosovo.


The United States of America (USA) is one of the most powerful countries in the world. The country has a rich history of constitutionally recognized freedom and is often referred to as the “free world”. Recognition from the United States is an important thing for any emerging country, as the sway of the United States still holds global importance. The United States currently recognizes a total of 195 countries.

Basis for Recognition

When a country’s recognition is questioned, the US has its own rules and regulations it follows. Self-respect is one of the basis for recognition. To pass the self-respect test, a country must have an established and well-structured governing body that respects the sovereignty of its citizens while also respecting basic humanitarian foundations. Under "section 508", the USA prohibits foreign assistance to "any country whose duly elected head of state is deposed by decree or any method related to a political coup." For recognition of a country, the USA also examines if a country underwent a military coup as a means for power transition.

Disputed Areas Recognized by the USA

According to the U.S. Department of State’s website, the USA has established and outlined a number of states which it considers as independent. These countries share a profound diplomatic relationship with the USA including widespread economic and political aid. The Department of State’s website recognizes a total of 195 independent countries. These countries are mostly members of the United Nation and share a strong diplomatic relationship with the USA. One example of this is Kosovo.

Areas Lacking US Recognition

According to the Department of State, there are a number of self-proclaimed countries that do not have a diplomatic relationship with the USA. There are other countries which merged with larger powers to form a single country but the USA still maintains a diplomatic relationship with them as an independent country. An example of this is how the USA still has an embassy in Jordan. Bhutan is one country which does not share a formal diplomatic relationship with the USA, however, the two states share an informal relationship. Taiwan is another independent state which is seen as part of the larger China according to the USA. The United States does not recognize Western Sahara or Palestine as independent states.


The superpower nature and its vast resources as well as the well-established leadership gives USA a say in the world economy and its political structure. It is important to note that most states which are recognized as countries by the larger world are also recognized by the USA.

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