Visa Series: Diplomat Visa A


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.


There are several steps in the process and may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you will apply.

  1. Complete the Online Visa Application Form DS-160.
  2. Print the application form confirmation bar-code page to bring to your interview.
  3. Upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.
  4. Personal employee, domestic worker, and attendant A-3 visa applicants – Schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. Embassies and consulates generally do not require interviews for those applying for A-1 and A-2 visas, although a consular officer can request an interview.

NOTE: For A-1 or A-2 visa holders on assignment in the United States reapplying for an A visa, use Form DS-1648.

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. You can get the interview wait time for the location where you will apply here.


Individuals who qualify for an official visa classification A are exempt from paying visa fees.


All applicants for A visas should gather and deliver the following required documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country:

  • Passport valid for travel to the United States for at least six months beyond your period of stay.
  • Printed photo if the photo upload to Form DS-160 fails.
  • A diplomatic note from your country’s government of your status and official purpose of travel including:

– 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.


Visa application procedures for your immediate family members are the same as for you. Immediate family members are defined as the spouse and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are members of your household, even if studying in a different location.

An immediate family member may also be a person who will reside regularly in your household, is not a member of some other household, and is recognized as your immediate family member by the sending Government, as demonstrated by eligibility for rights and benefits, such as the issuance of a diplomatic or official passport or travel and other allowances.

In addition to a spouse and unmarried sons and daughters, immediate family members who may qualify to receive A-category visas include:

  • any other relative, by blood, marriage, or adoption, of you or your spouse;
  • a domestic partner; and
  • a relative by blood, marriage, or adoption of the domestic partner.

The term “domestic partner” means a same-sex domestic partner. Domestic partners may be issued A-category visas if the sending country would provide reciprocal treatment to domestic partners of U.S. diplomats and government officials in that country.

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.

For a complete procedure of these visa types, or other visa types not covered here, please visit the U.S. Department of State website for U.S. Visas.

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