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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Airline Tax Exemption


Individuals who wish to claim exemption from the taxes described below must present an A-1 or 2 or a G-1 through 4 series visa when purchasing airline tickets. The presentation of a tax exemption card is not required to receive this benefit.

The United States Government levies charges for specific services applicable to all users of the American civil aviation systems to be collected into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund for the improvement and maintenance of those systems. Under Revenue Ruling 72-10 by the Internal Revenue Service (1972-1 C.B. 343), of foreign diplomats, consular and other officers, agencies or commissions of foreign governments, and employees of international organizations are subject to the taxes that contribute to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. Those taxes include:

  • U.S. Federal Excise Transportation Tax – 7.5%
  • U.S. International Departure Tax - $16.10
  • U.S. International Arrival Tax - $16.10
  • Passenger Facilities Charge - $4.50
  • Federal Flight Segment Tax - $3.60
  • Alaska/Hawaii Domestic Transportation Tax - $8.00
  • Alaska/Hawaii International Departure Tax - $8.00

Fees from which A and G series visa holders are exempt include:

  • U.S. Customs Fee - $5.50
  • Immigration User Fee – $7.00
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) Fee - $5.00

By law, agents issuing airline tickets are obligated to comply with the three exemptions presented above. As a result, many airlines have drafted policies to ensure that their ticketing agents grant properly requested tax exemption. In addition, most airlines and travel agents utilize electronic ticketing systems, such as Sabre or Worldspan, enabling agents to exempt certain fees or taxes from the total cost of the airfare.

Missions and individuals who wish to ensure that their tax exemptions are honored should ask the ticketing agent or the travel agent if he/she is familiar with how to enter diplomatic tax exempt status when he/she is creating the ticket. If the ticketing agent or travel agent says that he/she is not familiar with diplomatic tax exemptions, the mission or individual should feel free to share this notice with that agent. If the ticketing agent or travel agent should refuse to enter a properly claimed diplomatic tax exemption, the mission or individual diplomat should purchase air tickets elsewhere.

OFM also reminds all missions and mission personnel that exemptions of any kind cannot be granted when making purchases of airline tickets on the Internet (see Notice Regarding Diplomatic Tax Exemption on Internet Purchases, February 14, 2003). Whether with purchases made on the Internet or elsewhere, OFM cannot assist in obtaining reimbursements once such charges are paid.


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