Official Visas: Diplomats, Foreign Government Officials, and Employees of International Organizations

Diplomats, foreign government officials, or employees of specific international organizations, and their immediate family members, require a visa to enter the United States on official business. The type of visa depends upon the purpose of travel to the United States.

In most cases your ministry, agency, or employer will inform you of the type of visa (A, G, C-2, or C-3) you will most likely require, and the application process is the same for each.  A consular official will make the final decision on which visa classification is appropriate. For more information see “Official Visa Types” under “Visa Categories” Section on the Nonimmigrant Visa page.

The application procedure for immediate family members is the same as for the principal visa applicant.

Step 1: Complete the Online Visa ApplicationForm DS-160. You must:

  1. complete the online visa application form for each applicant and
  2. print the application form confirmation page(s).

Step 2: Submit Required DocumentationRequired documents must be delivered directly to the Consular Section during intake hours. No appointment is necessary. In most cases, applicants and their family members do not need to appear in person; a representative can drop off the documents.

In order to fulfill this step you will need the following items for each applicant:

  • Valid Passport.
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Photo: 5 cm x 5 cm printed color photo. Please access the photo specifications.
  • Diplomatic note: This note is written confirmation from your country’s government of your status and official purpose of travel. For international organization employees, a properly formatted message from your organization’s central human resources office will serve the same purpose. The note must include:
    • The government official’s or employee’s name; date of birth; position and title; place of assignment or visit; specific purpose of travel; a brief description of his/her duties; travel date; and the anticipated length of the tour of duty or stay in the United States, and
    • The names, relationships, and birthdates of any dependents and other members of household who will accompany or join the government official or employee.
  • For immediate family members:
    • Marriage/birth certificates showing relationship to principal visa applicant
    • A copy of the principal visa holder’s official visa(If applying separately from the principal visa applicant)

Step 3: The visa is processed and ready for pickup.  If your visa is approved, it will typically be ready within 7 business days. The applicant (or a designated representative) can pick up the passport with the new visa.

To retrieve the passport, applicants must present their government-issued photo ID. Designated representatives must present a copy of the applicant’s photo ID and a signed-letter from the applicant authorizing the representative to retrieve their documents.

Please Note: The official visa process differs from the standard process in a few key ways:

  • No Visa Fees Required: Individuals who qualify for an official visa (A, G, C-2, or C-3) are exempt from paying visa fees.
  • No Interview Required: Applicants and their family members generally do not need to appear in person.
  • Limited Intake Hours: Each posts has limited intake hours for official visas. Please see the “Intake Hours and Embassy/Consulate Access” section below.

Personal employees of officials may accompany their employer if the employer’s ministry, agency, or organization notifies the Department of State in advance. The domestic employee will follow a similar process as above, but with a few additional steps and requirements.

Step 1: Complete the Online Visa Application Form DS-160. You must:

  1. complete the online visa application form for each applicant and
  2. print the application form confirmation page(s).

Step 2: Go to the Embassy or Consulate for the visa interview and to deliver required documents.  The interview will be conducted at the Consular Section during specific intake hours. No appointment or visa fees are required.  Your fingerprints will be taken during the visa interview.

In addition to the required documents listed, you must bring the following:

  • Work contract in English and the employee’s native language
  • A contract template covering all of the requirements can be found at the employment contract template
  • A copy of the visa of the principal visa holder
  • And the visa holder’s Personal Identification number (PID)/TOMIS Number

Step 3: The visa is processed and ready for pickup.  If your visa is approved it will typically be ready within seven business days. The applicant (or a designated representative) can retrieve the passport with the new visa.

To retrieve the passport applicants must present their government-issued photo ID. Designated representatives must present a copy of the applicant’s photo ID and a signed-letter from the applicant authorizing the representative to retrieve their documents.

Know your rights: As a temporary worker in the United States, you are entitled to legal protections to ensure a safe and healthy experience. Prior to your interview, please read this pamphlet (English or Portuguese) to learn about your rights and the resources available to you while working in the United States.

Applications for official visas are accepted on weekdays (except for national holidays) during specific intake hours. Intake hours vary by Embassy and Consulate. For details of the location nearest to you, please contact us (check the “Contact Us” section on the Nonimmigrant Visa page).

No appointment is necessary, applicants or their representatives may drop off documents or retrieve their passports at any time during intake hours.

Please note: All visitors to the U.S. Embassy or Consulates are subject to security screening and restrictions on bags, electronic devices, and other items apply.  For more information on these security requirements, please see our section on “Accessing the Embassy or Consulate” section of the Nonimmigrant Visa page.

The type of official visa required is based on your official affiliation and purpose of travel to the United States. The chart below shows common examples in Brazil. Additional cases can be found on the A VisaC Visa, and G Visa pages of https://www.travel.state.gov. (English only).

Visa Category Examples
A-1: Diplomats and Senior Officials
  • Heads of State or Government (all purposes of travel)
  • Ambassador, consul, or other official to serve at a foreign embassy/consulate in the U.S.
  • Government minister or cabinet member coming for official business
  • Immediate family members of an A-1 visa holder
A-2: Government Officials and Employees
  • Full-time employees of a government assigned to work at a foreign embassy/consulate in the United States
  • Government officials representing their government to perform official, government-related duties
  • Foreign military members stationed at a U.S. military base or assigned to a foreign embassy/consulate in the United States
  • Immediate family members of an A-2 visa holder
A-3: Personal employees of Diplomats or Officials
  • Personal employees, attendants, domestic workers, or servants of A-1 or A-2 visa holders.
C-2: Travelers transiting through the U.S. on official business to/from the United Nations (UN) Headquarters
  • Representatives or officials of the United Nations (U.N.) or its specialized agencies and/or their immediate family members
  • Experts, NGO representatives, or others invited to the U.N. on official business
  • Members of the press accredited to the U.N.
C-3: Diplomats / Government Officials transiting through the U.S. on official business
  • Diplomats returning to their home country or going to next assignment with a layover in the United States
  • Government officials attending an international summit or other official business in a third country with a layover in the United States .
  • Immediate family members and/or personal employees, attendants, domestic workers or servants of a C-3 visa holder.
G-1: Members of a government’s permanent mission to an international organization
  • Official or government employee to represent their country at an international organization on a long-term basis (such as Ambassador to the U.N., etc.)
  • Immediate family members of a G-1 visa holder
G-2: Government representatives traveling temporarily for meetings of an international organization
  • Government officials attending meetings of international organizations related to their work (such as officials from the ministry of health to a WHO-hosted conference, etc.)
  • Immediate family members of a G-2 visa holder
G-4: Direct employees of a designated international organization
  • An employee who works at the international organization without representing a specific country (such as an economist at the WTO, etc.)
  • Immediate family members of a G-4 visa holder
G-5: Personal employees of representatives/employees of international organizations
  • Personal employees, attendants, domestic workers, or servants of G-1-4 visa holders
B1/B2: Non-Federal government officials
  • State or municipal officials traveling to the United States  on either official or personal business. (Please check the “Apply for a Visa” section for application process on the Nonimmigrant Visa page.)