Foreign government officials and diplomats

Foreign government officials and diplomats

Diplomats and other foreign government representatives must obtain A-1 or A-2 visas in order to enter the United States for the sole purpose of performing official tasks or engaging in official activities on behalf of their home countries. Neither the Visa Waiver Program nor guest visas are valid for them to travel. Your position within your country’s government and the purpose of your trip will determine whether you require an A-1 or A-2 visa, with the exception of a Head of State or Government, who is eligible for an A visa regardless of the reason for travel. With limited exceptions, immediate family members of diplomats and government employees are granted A-1 or A-2 visas. A-3 visas may be granted to domestic helpers, personal employees, and attendants of diplomats and other public servants who are in possession of a current A-1 or A-2 visa.

You must be visiting the United States on behalf of your national government to carry out only official duties for that country in order to be eligible for an A-1 or A-2 visa. According to U.S. immigration regulations, the exact tasks or services to be carried out must be of a governmental character or nature, as defined by the U.S. Department of State. Government representatives who are visiting the United States for commercial or non-governmental purposes, or who are merely tourists, need the right visas and are not eligible for A visas. The possibility of government involvement or control in a certain organization is not in and of itself what determines whether you are eligible for an A visa.

Applying for a visa involves numerous processes. Depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply, these stages may not be followed in the same order or in the same way. Please refer to the instructions posted on the website of the embassy or consulate where you plan to apply.

Most foreign applicants for visas must attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate as part of the application process. For applicants applying for A-1 and A-2 visas, embassies and consulates typically do not demand interviews, however a consular officer may do so.

Interviews are necessary for personal employees, domestic workers, and guests of A-1 or A-2 visa holders applying for A-3 visas. Review the details in the section below on personal employees.

Complete the online Visa application by applying for the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160

Submit the required documentation for verification along with your application

  • Passport
  • Non-immigrant Visa application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Photo
  • A diplomatic note

Extra documentation may be required

Visit the website of the embassy or consulate where you plan to apply and review the guidelines for how to apply for a visa. It might be necessary to seek more paperwork to determine your eligibility.

Visa Charges

Those who fall within one of the official visa classifications (A, G, C-3, NATO) are not required to pay a visa charge.

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