A Visa for Diplomats & Officials of Foreign Governments
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The A visa category is available to diplomats and other government officials for travel to the United States. Under immigration law, diplomatic applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a diplomatic A visa. The consular officer will make a determination of whether you qualify. If you have questions about the Diplomatic A visa, the attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates have decades of combined experience in immigration law. Contact us for a consultation.
How Do I Qualify?
In order for you to qualify for an A visa, the purpose for your travel must be to engage solely in official activities on behalf of your national government. If you will be traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions such as tourism or to conduct business, you do not qualify for the A visa and should obtain the appropriate visa. There is an exception to this rule for heads of state or government, who qualify regardless of the travel purpose. You must also be traveling on behalf of your national government. If you represent your state, province, borough, or other local political entity, you do not qualify for A visa status; you require a B visa.
Can I Bring My Immediate Family Members?
A-1 and A-2 visas are issued to diplomats and officials and to their immediate family members, which are defined as spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are members of the household. These visa applicants should provide a diplomatic note, which is a written confirmation by the sending government of their official status. A-1 and A-2 visa applicants are generally not required to attend an interview at the consular office.
Can I Bring My Personal Employees?
A-3 visas are issued to personal employees, attendants, domestic workers, or servants of A-1 and A-2 visa holders. These visa applicants should provide a diplomatic note to confirm the official status of their employers. An interview at the embassy or consulate is required. It is required to show proof that the applicant will be paid a fair wage sufficient for financial support comparable to what is offered in that area of employment in the United States. The wage must meet or exceed the state or federal minimum wage or the prevailing wage, whichever is greater. If the employer does not hold the diplomatic rank of minister or higher, the employer must establish that he or she has sufficient funds available to pay a fair wage and provide for working conditions.
Diplomats and officials are not permitted to engage in involuntary servitude against domestic servants while in the United States. Inducing servitude by means of threatened abuse, harm, or restraint is a severe form of trafficking in persons, which is a violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and a serious criminal offense.
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