Published on: January 23rd, 2022
By: المستشار ماهر الديري

DIPLOMATS AND FOREIGN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS VISAS TO THE USA

DIPLOMATS AND FOREIGN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS VISAS TO THE USA

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. With the exception of a Head of State or Government — who qualifies for an A visa regardless of the purpose of travel — your position within your country’s government and your purpose of travel determine whether you need an A-1 or A-2 visa. Immediate family members of diplomats and government officials receive A-1 or A-2 visas, with few exceptions. 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.

To qualify for an A-1 or A-2 visa, you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government. The specific duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the U.S. Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require the appropriate visas and do not qualify for A visas. The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa.

Diplomats and Officials Requiring A-1 Visas – Examples:

  • Head of State or Government, regardless of the purpose of travel
  • Official coming to serve at a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States, such as an ambassador or consul
  • Government minister or cabinet member coming for official activities
  • European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) delegation representatives
  • Immediate family members of an A-1 visa holder

Officials and Employees Requiring A-2 Visas – Examples:

  • 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
  • Government official representing your government, coming to the United States based on written request of your country to perform official, government related duties
  • Foreign military members stationed at a U.S. military base or assigned to a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States
  • Staff of European (EU) and African Union (AU) delegation representatives
  • Immediate family members of an A-2 visa holder

Travel Purposes Not Permitted on A-1 and A-2 Visas – Examples:

  • 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.)
  • Local government officials representing their state, province, borough, or other local political entity require visitor (B) visas.

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. With the exception of a Head of State or Government — who qualifies for an A visa regardless of the purpose of travel — your position within your country’s government and your purpose of travel determine whether you need an A-1 or A-2 visa. Immediate family members of diplomats and government officials receive A-1 or A-2 visas, with few exceptions. 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.

To qualify for an A-1 or A-2 visa, you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government. The specific duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the U.S. Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require the appropriate visas and do not qualify for A visas. The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa.

Diplomats and Officials Requiring A-1 Visas – Examples:

  • Head of State or Government, regardless of the purpose of travel
  • Official coming to serve at a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States, such as an ambassador or consul
  • Government minister or cabinet member coming for official activities
  • European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) delegation representatives
  • Immediate family members of an A-1 visa holder

Officials and Employees Requiring A-2 Visas – Examples:

  • 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
  • Government official representing your government, coming to the United States based on written request of your country to perform official, government related duties
  • Foreign military members stationed at a U.S. military base or assigned to a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States
  • Staff of European (EU) and African Union (AU) delegation representatives
  • Immediate family members of an A-2 visa holder

Travel Purposes Not Permitted on A-1 and A-2 Visas – Examples:

  • 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.)
  • Local government officials representing their state, province, borough, or other local political entity require visitor (B) visas.