Visa Requirements

Visit the Consular Affairs’ website for specific information about obtaining or renewing an A or G visa, as well as the website for the U.S. embassy or consular post at which the individual will be applying for a visa:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/other/diplomat-foreign-government-official.html

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/other/employee-of-international-organization-nato.html

Visa required for employment with foreign mission or international organization

The following visas are required for accreditation as a member of the staff of a respective foreign mission or designated IO for all personnel,[1] other than U.S. citizens and LPRs:

• A-1, A-2: Foreign government officials and employees at an embassy or consulate

• G-1: Foreign government officials and employees (regardless of rank) at a member state’s mission to a designated IO

• G-3: Generally includes foreign government officials and employees (regardless of rank) at a state’s mission to a designated IO where the government is not a member of the IO

• G-4: Officers and employees of a designated IO assigned to that IO

Personnel who are traveling on behalf of a foreign government or designated IO on official business of a temporary nature (less than 90 days) must also qualify for and obtain the appropriate A or G visa.

All members of the immediate family forming part of the household of the principal official or employee, unless they are U.S. citizens or LPRs, must generally hold a visa that matches the visa classification of the principal official or employee whom they are accompanying or following to join, though certain exceptions exist for dependents working for a foreign mission, mission to an IO or on the staff of an IO.

Such visas must be obtained prior to the newly hired or arrived principal’s performance of services. Under the INA, the commencement of employment before an individual is in the correct nonimmigrant visa status places the concerned individual in an unlawful status. Therefore, such individual is not permitted to take up his or her duties until the correct visa is obtained from a U.S. embassy or consular post or a change of status to the appropriate A or G nonimmigrant status in the United States has been approved by USCIS. NOAs will not be accepted, and no documents (e.g., ID card, tax exemption card, driver’s license) will be issued or privileges and immunities afforded for any newly hired or arrived principal not in A or G nonimmigrant visa status.

U.S. citizens and LPRs may be employed in any position except as a diplomatic agent or career consular officer. They do not require a visa for this employment and are otherwise not entitled to any nonimmigrant visa classification, though their family members may be entitled to a nonimmigrant visa classification if the family member does not have U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status.

Note required for all A or G visa requests, except routine renewals in the United States

Foreign government employees (A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3)

In accordance with circular note No. 16-855, dated June 3, 2016, available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/227759.pdf, when an individual applies for a new A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, or G-3 visa outside the United States, or requests a change into A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, or G-3 nonimmigrant visa status within the United States, the sending government must provide a diplomatic note that contains the following information:

• the government official’s or employee’s name, date of birth, position and title, place of assignment or visit, purpose of travel, a brief description of his or her duties, travel date, and the anticipated length of the tour of duty or stay in the United States; and

• the names, relationships, and dates of birth of any dependents and other members of household who will be accompanying or joining the government official or employee.

For foreign government officials and employees who are assigned to an embassy, consulate, or miscellaneous foreign government office in the United States for 90 days or more and who will be accredited by the sending government, the “place of assignment or visit” must be the embassy, consulate, or miscellaneous foreign government office where the individual will be serving. The diplomatic note submitted on behalf of such accredited officials or employees must generally originate from the sending government’s foreign ministry, and not from an embassy, consulate, or miscellaneous foreign government office located in the United States.

In the case of a career official or employee currently assigned outside of the United States and outside of the sending State, the Department may accept a note from the embassy or consulate at which the individual is currently assigned, provided the note certifies that the sending government’s foreign ministry supports the visa application.

Where an official or employee is traveling to the United States for official activities for less than 90 days, the diplomatic note may be submitted by an appropriate foreign government office, such as the governmental office that employs the official or employee. All such notes should come from the relevant office of the sending government, and not from an embassy, consulate, or miscellaneous foreign government office located in the United States.

Consistent with immigration laws and regulations, the Department may require additional documentation to establish whether a particular applicant qualifies for an A-1 or A-2 visa.

The aforementioned diplomatic note is generally not required for routine renewals of A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, or G-3 visas in the United States.

IO employees (G-4)

In accordance with circular note No. 16-886, dated June 7, 2016, available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/227761.pdf , when an individual applies for a new G-4 visa outside the United States, or requests a change into G-4 nonimmigrant visa status within the United States, the IO must provide a note that contains the following information:

• the IO officer’s or employee’s name, date of birth, position and title, place of assignment or visit, purpose of travel, a brief description of his or her duties, travel date, and the anticipated length of duty or stay in the United States, and

• the names, relationships, and dates of birth of any dependents and other members of household who will be accompanying or joining the officer or employee.

Consistent with immigration laws and regulations, the Department may require additional documentation to establish whether a particular applicant qualifies for a G-4 visa. The aforementioned note is generally not required for routine renewals of G-4 visas in the United States.

Individuals already in possession of an A or G nonimmigrant visa

Present in the United States in A or G nonimmigrant status

If an individual holds an unexpired A or G visa from a prior assignment that is also the proper visa classification for his/her new assignment, and he/she is working for the same foreign government or designated IO for which the previous A or G visa was issued, then once accredited, he/she is recommended to request a new visa through the Visa Office’s Diplomatic Liaison Division to clearly associate his/her visa with the new assignment. Similarly, if an immediate family member holds an unexpired A or G visa that is the proper visa classification for his/her new assignment as a principal, then once accredited, he/she may request a new visa to clearly associate his/her visa with the new assignment as principal.

However, if an A or G visa holder will be employed by a foreign government other than the foreign government for which the previous A or G visa was issued or will be employed by a designated IO other than the IO for which the previous G-4 visa was issued, the individual may be required to depart the United States to request a new visa and/or seek a change of status.

If an individual holds an unexpired A visa from a prior assignment and the new assignment requires a G visa, the individual may be required to depart the United States to request a new visa and/or seek a change of status before employment may commence. The same applies to individuals holding an unexpired G visa from a prior assignment, who will now work in a position that requires an A visa. The individual will not be issued an ID card or tax exemption card until the change of nonimmigrant visa status is complete.

To request a new visa and/or seek a change of status in the United States, the sending government or IO must provide a diplomatic note as explained above in section II.C.

The Department reserves the right to determine on a case-by-case basis whether the individual must depart the United States and request the proper nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States. The Visa Office’s Diplomatic Liaison Division in Washington may be able to facilitate change of nonimmigrant visa status in the United States in some instances. However, it may be more efficient for an individual to leave the United States to obtain the correct visa and return to the United States under their new visa status rather than request the change of nonimmigrant visa status in the United States. For instructions about changes of status in the United States, visit http://www.travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/other/employee-of-international-organization-nato/a-g-nato-change-of-status.html.

Not Present in the United States in A or G nonimmigrant status

If an individual holds an unexpired A or G visa from a prior assignment or official trip to the United States that is also the proper visa classification for his/her new assignment, he/she is recommended to request a new visa outside the United States to clearly associate his/her visas with the new assignment.

Individuals in possession of a U.S. nonimmigrant visa other than an A or G visa

If an individual holds an unexpired nonimmigrant visa (other than an A or G visa), he/she should not use this visa to enter the United States for the purpose of taking up employment at a foreign mission or IO or accompanying the principal as a member of the immediate family forming part of the household of the principal. Such individuals must apply for the appropriate A or G visa at a U.S. embassy or consular post overseas.

If the individual is already in the United States, he/she must depart the United States and request the proper A or G visa at a U.S. embassy or consular post outside the United States or in limited circumstances determined by consultation with the Office of Visa Services seek a change of nonimmigrant visa status to an A or G status in the United States.

The proper visa or approved change of nonimmigrant visa status must be obtained prior to the performance of services. NOAs will not be accepted, and no documents (e.g., ID card, tax exemption card, driver’s license) will be issued or privileges and immunities afforded for any principal holding other than A or G nonimmigrant visa status.




[1] Interns who will effectively be employees for the period the intern is in the United States must generally also qualify for and obtain A-2, G-1, G-3, or G-4 visas to work for the foreign government or IO as an intern.