A, G, and NATO Visas
A-1, A 2, G1-5 and NATO 1-6 category visas are issued to accredited, persons holding an official position, other than an honorary official position, with a government or international organization and possessing a travel document or other evidence of intention to enter or transit the United States to transact official business for that government or international organization.
A1- and A-2 visa holders are persons coming to the United States to perform diplomatic and official business of a governmental nature. Visa classification is determined by the purpose of entry and the intended official duties, and not by the official’s title, rank, or type of passport (diplomatic, official, or regular), which he or she is carrying.
Foreign officials who intend to travel to the United States on official business must obtain the appropriate "A" or "G" visa prior to their entry, even if the official travel will occur within the ninety-day time limit allowed for those passport holders who can use the Visa Waiver Program.
Foreign officials coming to the United States to represent their government, whether on permanent assignment or temporary duty, are accorded "A" status, as are their dependents. Foreign officials coming to perform non-governmental functions of commercial or competitive nature would fall into the "B", "E", or "L" categories, and would be issued "diplomatic" visas in those categories.
Local government officials who intend to come to the United States exclusively on behalf of their state, province, borough, or other local political entity would not qualify for "A" visa status. A dependent of a foreign official who is assigned to a third country who wishes to visit and/or vacation in the United States would not qualify for "A" visa status. Based on the applicant’s reason for coming to the United States, (vacation or visit) he or she would be issued a B-2 visa.
"A" category visas are generally issued upon presentation of a diplomatic note from the appropriate host country office or foreign mission.
If an A-1 or A-2 visa applicant is coming to the United States for an assignment, which is to last less than 90 days, his or her machine-readable visa (MRV) should be annotated to reflect such as "TDY". If the length of the official’s assignment is unclear, the consular officer should request clarification prior to issuing the visa.
Normally, the personal interview requirement for bona fide A-1 and A-2 visa applicants who are citizens of, or accredited to, the host country is waived. However, there may be circumstances within which the consular officer will ask for an interview.
Spouses And Children
The spouse and children of an A, G, or NATO visa applicant are entitled to the same status. "Immediate family" members are defined as the principal applicant’s spouse and unmarried legal sons and daughters of any age who are not members of some other household.
Domestic partners of "A" visa holders, who are either not married to the principal alien or whose marriage is not valid for immigration purposes, may be issued B-1/B-2 visas if, otherwise, qualified. Such individuals should be recognized as the principal alien’s dependent by the sending government, but need not carry a diplomatic passport.
If a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) were employed by a foreign mission in the United States, he or she would be eligible for "A" visa status if he or she would be willing to surrender his or her permanent residence card.
Persons attempting to acquire A or G status in the United States
DHS/BCIS may require aliens who entered the United States in "B" status to apply for the appropriate "A" or "G" visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The foreign mission where the applicant is to be employed should contact the nonimmigrant section of the U.S consular office where the applicant will seek the visa, to make the necessary arrangements for issuance of the "A" or "G" visa.
Persons who have overstayed their previous nonimmigrant status in the United States are required to apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Such applicants except those applying for "A-3" and "G-5" visas may apply at posts other than that in their home country. Additionally, DHS/BCIS will not change the status of an alien who enters the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
There are no machine-readable visa (MRV) (processing) fees or reciprocity fees for "A", "C-2", "C-3", "G", or NATO applicants. These exemptions also apply to their domestics in the "A-3", "G-5", or NATO-7 visa categories. Bearers of diplomatic passports are exempt from all visa processing and reciprocity fees, irrespective of whether the travel is official or non-official. This fee exemption is not accorded to recipients of official visas.
A-3, G-5, or NATO-7 Classification Domestic Servant of A, G or NATO visa holder
An applicant who is the attendant, servant, or personal employee of someone classified A-1 or A-2, G-1 through G-4, or NATO-1 through NATO-6 is entitled to the appropriate A-3, G-5, or NATO-7 classification. They must demonstrate entitlement to an A-3, G-5, or NATO-7 nonimmigrant classification (e.g., letter of reference from a former employer, evidence of previous employment in that sector, etc.). Consular officers must establish the official status of the employer and the intent of both parties to enter into (or remain in) an employer-employee relationship.
Consular officer must be satisfied that the wage to be received by the A-3, G-5, or NATO-7 applicant is a fair wage comparable to that offered in the area of employment and sufficient to overcome public charge concerns. To insure that the applicant will receive a fair wage, applications for such visas must include an employment contract signed by the employer and the employee. The contract must include the following elements:
- A guarantee the employee will be compensated at the state or federal minimum or prevailing wage, whichever is greater. (Please note that the consular officer must be satisfied that any money deducted for food or lodging is no more than reasonable);
- A promise by the employee not to accept any other employment while working for the employer;
- A promise by the employer to not withhold the passport of the employee; and
- A statement indicating that both parties understand that the employee cannot be required to remain on the premises after working hours without compensation.
The contract is essential to the process in that it provides the personal employee with a framework within which he and/or she may personally seek certain employment or human rights protections. The employer must pay the domestic’s initial travel expenses to the United States, and subsequently to the employer’s onward assignment, or to the employee’s country of normal residence at the termination of the assignment.
Effective September 16, 2002, the Visa Office’s Diplomatic Liaison Division (CA/VO/P/D) and USUN will no longer adjudicate "A-3" or "G-5" (domestic employee of "A" and "G" diplomatic and international organization aliens) visa applications in the United States. Applicants for a(n) "A-3" or "G-5" visas are urged to apply at a U.S. consular office abroad.
Note: A-3, G-5, NATO-7 visa applicants must be
interviewed by a consular officer. To schedule an interview, they must
follow the normal procedures for the general public, i.e. fill out the
form and contact the call center for an appointment.
A-3, G-5, and NATO-7 visa holders whose visas have expired, but, who remain in status, need not apply for new visas.
A qualified person may be issued a "G" visa in one of the categories listed below:
- G-1 visas—Issued to members of a permanent mission of a recognized government, to an international organization, regardless of rank, and to members of their immediate families. G-1 visas are also issued to the mission’s secretaries, chauffeurs and custodial employees, except domestic employees, who are issued G-5 visas.
- G-2 visas—Issued to representatives of a recognized government and to members of their immediate families traveling to the United States temporarily to
attend meetings of a designated international organization. G-2
officials may represent their governments at the United Nations (UN)
General Assembly or as TDY officers to that country’s mission to the
G-2 visas may be issued to military officers who are assisting the UN Secretariat with peacekeeping matters. Family members may also be issued G-2 visas.
- G-3 visas—Issued to representatives of non-recognized or non-member governments, regardless of rank, and to members of their immediate families. G-3 visas should also be issued to representatives of such governments so as to participate in temporary meetings of designated international organizations (e.g., a meeting of the UN General Assembly and Security Council).
- G-4 visas—Issued to personnel of
any rank who are proceeding to the United States to take up an
appointment at a designated international organization (including the
United Nations). Members of their immediate families may also be issued
G-4 visas, except their domestic employees, who are issued G-5 visas.
Officers and employees of designated international organizations, who are not assigned in the United States, may be accorded G-4 classification if they intend to transit the United States. The number of entries should be limited to the official request. G-4 visas may also be issued to personnel of any rank on the payroll of a designated international organization proceeding to the United States on behalf of that organization.
- G-5 visas—Issued to the attendants and personal employees of persons in G-1 through G-4 status.
An alien shall be classified under the symbol NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, or NATO-5 if the consular officer is satisfied that the alien is seeking admission to the United States under the applicable provision of the Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, National Representatives and International Staff, or is a member of the immediate family of an alien classified NATO-1 through NATO-5.
Members of civilian components and dependents. Alien members of a civilian component accompanying a force entering in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status-of-Forces Agreement, and dependents, or alien members of a civilian component attached to or employed by an Allied Headquarters under the Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters, and dependents shall be classified under the symbol NATO-6. Attendant, servant, or personal employee of an alien classified NATO-1 through NATO-6 and any member of the immediate family of such attendant, servant, or personal employee, shall be classified under the symbol NATO-7.
TO PROCESS YOUR DIPLOMATIC OR OFFICIAL (A, G, NATO) VISA YOU MUST PRESENT THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION. INCOMPLETE OR INCORRECT PACKAGES WILL BE RETURNED UNPROCESSED.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each individual desiring a visa must make a separate application;
- Visa Application Form (DS-160).
- One passport size photo for each visa applicant, including infants (see the "Photo Requirements" webpage).
- Note Verbale or NATO travel orders indicating the following
information concerning the principal applicant:
(1) Name and date of birth,
(2) Position and title,
(3) Place of assignment or visit,
(4) Purpose of travel,
(5) Brief description of duties,
(6) Travel date,
(7) Anticipated length of stay or tour of duty in the United States, and
(8) The names, relationships, and dates of birth of any dependents and other members of household who will be accompanying or joining the principal.
- If applying for dependents or other members of household please include any certificates proving the relationship.
- If applying for an A-3, G-5, or NATO-7 visa for a domestic servant, include a copy of the work contract.
Special Application Procedures For A, G, and NATO Visas at U.S. Embassy Rome
Applications and related documents for A, G, and NATO visas may be dropped off and picked up from 2:30-3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at Via Veneto 121, except on local and U.S. holidays. Couriers will be given a numbered receipt allowing us to control the return of passports after they are processed. Diplomatic and Official visas are usually processed in a minimum of two days. Any visa applications for non-official travel should be applied for in the normal manner. Apply early!! Sometimes there are computer or printing difficulties, which may make the wait longer. For some nationalities or circumstances there may be an interview and further processing required.
In order to apply, it is mandatory the use of the electronic visa application form (DS-160) on -line, available in the Visa Application Forms webpage.