US President-elect Barack Obama does not officially start his new job at the White House until 20 January but he already has a long to-do list. These include completing several official procedures and choosing advisers, as well as some informal steps.
Congress begins a new session on 3 January
9 Dec: Deadline for states to resolve issues such as recounts or challenges.
15 Dec: Electoral college electors meet in each state to formally cast their votes.
3 Jan: The 111th session of Congress begins.
6 Jan: Joint session of Congress to count electoral college votes
Before 20 Jan: Mr Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden must resign as senators representing Illinois and Delaware respectively. If they do this even earlier - before 3 January - their successors will have seniority over other incoming senators. Seniority can impact on committee allocation and office space, among other issues.
20 Jan: Inauguration day. President George W Bush retains full constitutional authority until noon, when Mr Obama is sworn in.
The President has offered Mr Obama "complete co-operation" and promised to keep him "fully informed on important decisions" during the transition period.
President Bush has invited the Obama family to the White House
He also invited Mr Obama, his wife Michelle and their two young daughters to the White House, and said he looked forward to visit "as soon as possible", but gave no date.
As president-elect, from November 6 Mr Obama will receive the President's Daily Brief which summarises the latest intelligence both domestically and internationally.
He has already been privy to intelligence briefings from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, given to both presidential candidates before the election.
Senior Bush administration officials were also "in close contact" with Mr Obama before the election on issues such as national security and the financial crisis.
Security clearance had already been given to key Obama officials before the election. Under a 2004 law this is allowed to prevent delays when a new president is elected.
Discussions have also been held with the Office of Government Ethics over financial disclosure changes following the recent bank bailout.
Mr Obama began appointing his advisers within days of being elected.
President-elect Barack Obama has begun selecting his key advisers
Rahm Emanuel, a former adviser to President Clinton, has been asked to be his chief-of-staff, responsible for internal management of the new administration.
Congressional approval is not required for the national security adviser, the White House chief-of-staff or press secretary.
But the Senate must vote on other appointments after the relevant Senate committees have approved them. For example, the Foreign Relations Committee will confirm the secretary of state.