An A-1 Visa or otherwise known as “the official visa” or “diplomatic visa” is granted to foreign diplomats or government officials seeking entrance into the United States.
Who Is Eligible For An A-1 Visa?
Types of qualified applicants include foreign ambassadors, diplomats, consular officers, public ministers and their associates conducting government business on U.S. territories. Holders of an A-1 Visa may also bring their spouse or children who are under the age of 21, as defined in 22 C.F.R 41.21.
Lower-ranking foreign government officials are ineligible for an A1 Visa but may be eligible to apply for an A2 Visa.
A-1 Visa Requirements
Only eligible foreign government officials may apply for an A-1 Visa, and must meet certain requirements before applying. Every applicant must state their official purpose for visiting, and eligible purposes must be in relation to diplomatic relations or foreign government business. Applicants holding the following positions are deemed eligible and may apply.
- Heads Of State
- Judicial Officers
- Legislative Leaders
- Consular Officers
- Foreign representatives in good standing with the U.S., seeking further relationships with US officials
Applying For An A-1 Visa
When applying for an A-1 Visa, the applicant is required to hold a current diplomatic passport in order to be considered. For those who currently reside within the United States, the visa applications are sent to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Applicants who do not reside in the United States must acquire an official approval from their own nation’s U.S. embassy or consulate.
The Application Process
Once an applicant acquires or shows proof of a current diplomatic passport, the following steps are required to complete the A-1 Visa application process:
- Completion of Form D-S 160
- Upon completion and passing of the form, the applicant must submit the form in order to receive a confirmation code
- Submission of the following documents to either the USCIS or U.S. Embassy
- Current diplomatic passport
- Completed D-S 160 Form & confirmation code
- A note from the applicants national government detailing the purpose of their visit
In some cases, applicants may be subjected to an interview from the U.S. Embassy. A required interview is up to the discretion of the U.S Embassy.
How Long Does Approval Take?
Once the application has been submitted, the duration of the approval process can vary. Generally, the approval process only takes a short amount of time, compared to other non-immigrant visas. Once the application has been approved, the applicant will have their passport officially stamped by the U.S Embassy, granting the applicant the ability to begin traveling to the United States.
Speak To Kermit A. Monge For More Information
If you meet the qualifications for an A-1 Visa and wish to apply, we suggest starting the application process as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge has years of experience assisting foreign diplomats and government officials with the A-1 Visa application and approval process. For more information or to start the application process, contact our immigration attorneys today by calling 703.273.5500 or by requesting a consultation online.