Abstract The polar GaAs(1̄1̄1̄)As surface can be prepared in three stable and ordered states: two by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), namely the As-stabilized and the Ga-stabilized states and one simply by ion bombardment and annealing at 770 K. The respective LEED structures are (2 × 2), ( 19 × 19 ) R23.4° , and (1 × 1) with a diffuse faint (3 × 3) superstructure. Auger measurements and the comparison with the stoichiometric cleaved (110) surface show that there are different As concentrations in the first atomic layer associated with each of these three surfaces. Whereas about 10 to 15% of the first As layer appears to be missing on the (2 × 2) surface, about 50% is missing on the 19 surface. On the (1 × 1) surface the first As layer is removed completely. The intensity of emission from the surface sensitive states between 1 and 4 eV below the valence band edge, as seen by angular resolved UPS, roughly corresponds to the amount of As at the surface thus confirming their interpretation as As-derived surface states. The inital sticking coefficent for oxygen depends strongly on the surface structure: ∼10 −8 for the (2 × 2), ∼10 −7 for the 19 , and ∼10 −4 for the (1 × 1) surface. The sticking coefficient does not depend on the surface concentration of As but rather on the degree of saturation of dangling bonds on Ga atoms.