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Diplomat and Official Visas Frequently Asked Questions

Diplomat and Official Visas Frequently Asked Questions

How does a person qualify for an A or G visa?

In general G visas are issued to individuals employed directly by an international organization, or representing a foreign government to international organizations. A visas are issued to representatives of a foreign government travelling to the United States to engage in official activities for that government.

Do participants in international meetings/conferences sponsored by an international organizations require an A or G visa?

If you are sent by your government to an international meeting or conference, other than one convened by or under the auspices of an international organization, which is official in nature you will require an A visa. G visas are appropriate if the meeting is sponsored by an international organization.

Do armed forces personnel qualify for a diplomatic visa?

Foreign armed services personnel from other than NATO countries, coming to the United States in connection with their military status for education or training at U.S. military schools, qualify for A-2 visas.

Do local government officials qualify for a diplomatic visa?

Only officials travelling to the United States on behalf of their national goverment qualify for A visa status. Local government officials travelling on behalf of their prefecture or other local political entity do not qualify for A visa status.

What does the annotation "TDY" mean?

A visa applicants travelling to the United States for an assignment which is to last less than 90 days will have the annotation "TDY".

I hold a diplomatic passport, but am travelling to the United States as a tourist. Do I require a diplomatic visa, or can I travel visa free?

Only heads of state or government are accorded A-1 visas regardless of the purpose of their visit to the U.S. Visa classification is determined by the purpose of entry. If you are travelling as a tourist, you will require a B-2 visa or if eligible may travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

I am travelling on behalf of my government for less than 90 days. As I am a national of a visa waiver country, can I travel under the Visa Waiver Program?

If you are travelling to the United States on official business on behalf of your government, you will require an official visa. You cannot travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

Do persons under contract with the Japanese government qualify for an A-2 visa?

If you are under contract with the Japanese government you may be eligible for an A-2 visa. If you are employed by a private company which is under contract to the Japanese government, an A-2 visa is not appropriate.

How do you define immediate family members?

Immediate family members are the principal applicant's spouse and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are not members of some other household and who will reside regularly in the household of the principal alien. Immediate family may also include close relatives of the principal alien or spouse who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption:

  • Who are not members of some other household
  • Who will reside regularly in the household of the principal alien
  • Who are recognized as dependents by the sending Government.

Do non-household member relatives of the principal applicant who are going to the United States to reside with the principal alien qualify as family members? (Example: Nephew/niece who is going to reside with the principal alien in order to attend school in the U.S.)

A relative who is a member of a household other than that of the principal alien would not normally meet the definition of "immediate family" member. He/she should seek to obtain the appropriate visa for purpose of travel.

Does a relative who has until recently been a member of another household but has come to join the household of the principal alien qualify as a family member?

Relatives, even in the recent past, who were members of some other household are not precluded from being considered a member of the household of the principal alien. For example, a recently widowed, divorced, or aging parent may have closed a former household with the intention of becoming part of the principal alien's household. This could also occur because the parent, due to advanced age or infirmity, had ceased to be able to maintain his/her own household. In such cases, the principal applicant must be able to show that he/she is financially responsible for the new family member.

Does a child attending boarding school qualify as a member of the household even though he/she is absent from the household for most of the year?

A son/daughter absent from the household for a large part of the year to attend boarding school or college is still a member of the household.

Does an adopted child qualify as a member of the household?

Children who are subject to a full and final adoption by the principal applicant are considered immediate family members.

Can the dependent of an A, G or NATO visa holder work in the United States on a derivative visa?

Dependents of A-1, A-2, G-1, G-3, G-4 and NATO visa holders may be eligible to work in the United States on derivative A, G or NATO visas. An application for employment must be made on form I-566 to the Department of State through the office, mission, or organization which employees the principal alien. If the Department's recommendation is favorable, the form I-566 will be forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for action. If approved, USCIS will transmit the employment authorization to the mission or international organization. In the case of NATO dependents, USCIS employment authorization will be transmitted to NATOSACLANT. For further information you should contact your mission, international organization, or for NATO visa holders, NATOSACLANT.

Do participants in United Nations internships qualify for a G-4 visa?

G-4 visas are not appropriate in this case. A B-1 visa may be appropriate if you have attained a bachelor or higher degree (or equivalent) and the proposed duties are in a specialty occupation, related to your degree. If you believe that you may be eligible for a B-1 visa you are required to apply for a visa. At the time of application you should enclose a letter from the UN which discusses in detail the internship together with evidence of your academic qualifications.

NOTE: Interns working at their country's mission to the UN or the EU delegation require exchange visitor (J-1) or temporary work (H-2) visas. However, if you meet the requirements for B-1 visas as described above, you may also be eligible for a B-1 visa.

Do participants in international organization internships (other than the United Nations) qualify for a G-4 visa?

If you will be paid directly by that international organization, you will qualify for a G-4 visa.

What visa do participants in UN Secretariat Exchange Visitor Programs require?

Participants in the exchange visitor program of the Training and Fellowship Program Section, Bureau of Technical Assistance Operations, U.N Secretariat require exchange visitor (J-1) visas.

Do teachers at the UN international school qualify for a G-4 visa?

Teachers at the UN International School are not considered to be staff members. If the UN issues an official request, you may be issued a G-4 visa.

Is a UN Laissez-Passer valid for travel to the United States?

The passport is valid for travel to the United States only if the holder is destined to the United Nations and is in possession of a valid G-4 visa.
Note: the UN Laissez-Passer is an emergency travel document and should only be used in special circumstances.

For what visa should a participant in a course given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) apply?

If you have been nominated by a member government of the IMF to attend the course you are eligible for a G-2 visa. When applying for the visa you are required to furnish from the IMF a letter of acceptance. The request for the visa must be made or supported by the foreign government concerned. Attendees who are not nominated by a member government require B-1/B-2 visas.

For what visa should a participant in a course given by the Economic Development Institute of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) apply?

If you have been nominated by a member government of the World Bank to attend a course given at the Economic Development Institute of the Bank, you are eligible for a G-4 visa. When applying for the visa you are required to furnish a letter of acceptance from the Economic Development Institute of the Bank. The request for a visa must be made or supported by the foreign government concerned. Attendees who are not nominated by a member government require B-1/B-2 visas.

I am/we are a company under contract to an international organization, do I/do our employees qualify for G-4 visas

G-4 visas are not appropriate. You/your employees should apply for B-1 visas.

Do police officers travelling to the United States on official business require an official visa?

Police officers travelling on official police business, for example, to interview witnesses, take a statement in connection with a police investigation, will require an A-2 visa.

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