AWhat is A visa?
Diplomats and other foreign government officials traveling to the United States to engage solely in official duties or activities on behalf of their national government must obtain A-1 or A-2 visas prior to entering the United States. They cannot travel using visitor visas or under the Visa Waiver Program.
BTypes of A visas
Diplomats and officials traveling to the United States to engage solely in official duties or activities on behalf of their national government must obtain A-1 visas prior to entering the United States.
- A-1 visas
- Diplomats and officials requiring A-1 visas
1. Head of State or Government, regardless of the purpose of travel
2. Official coming to serve at a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States, such as an ambassador or consul
3. Government minister or cabinet member coming for official activities
4. European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) delegation representatives
5. Immediate family members of an A-1 visa holder
- Officials and employees traveling to the United States to engage solely in official duties or activities on behalf of their national government must obtain A-2 visas prior to entering the United States.
- A-2 visas
- Officials and employees requiring A-2 visas
1. Full-time employee assigned by that government, coming only to work at a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States, to perform duties which take place at an embassy
2. Government official representing your government, coming to the United States based on written request of your country to perform official, government related duties
3. Foreign military members stationed at a U.S. military base or assigned to a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States
4. Staff of European (EU) and African Union (AU) delegation representatives
5. Immediate family members of an A-2 visa holder
1. Travel Purposes Not Permitted on A-1 and A-2 Visas – Examples:
i) Government officials coming to perform non-official or non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, must apply for the appropriate visa category for the specific travel purpose, such as a B-2 visa for tourism. (Note: A Head of State or Government must travel on an A-1 visa regardless of the purpose of travel.)
ii) Local government officials representing their state, province, borough, or other local political entity require visitor (B) visas.
2. In addition to a spouse and unmarried sons and daughters, immediate family members who may qualify to receive A-category visas include:
i) any other relative, by blood, marriage, or adoption, of you or your spouse;
ii) a domestic partner; and
iii) a relative by blood, marriage, or adoption of the domestic partner.
A family member who does not qualify as immediate family, as described above, may qualify for a visitor (B-2) visa. Visitor visa applicants are required to pay visa application and issuance fees, if applicable.
Personal employees, attendants, or domestic workers for diplomats and government officials (holding a valid A-1 or A-2 visa) may be issued A-3 visas.
If the employer is not the principal officer or deputy principal officer or does not carry the diplomatic rank of minister or higher, the employer must demonstrate that he or she will have sufficient funds to provide the minimum wage and working conditions, as reflected in the contract. Consideration is also given to the number of employees an employer would reasonably be able to pay.
Important Notices for Employers and Personal Employees/Domestic Workers
Please keep your own passport and a copy of your employment contract with you while in the United States. You should not let your employer keep your contract or passport or other personal property for any reason. You and your employer will be subject to U.S. law while in the United States, and your contract describes the work arrangement your employer is expected to respect.