Ambassadors, Diplomats, Public Ministers and other Diplomatic Personnel can apply for an A-visa if they are traveling to the United States on behalf of their government with an intended official purpose. The purpose for which the applicant is traveling should be government-natured. A-1 and A-2 status remains valid as long as their position is recognized by the Secretary of State. Family members of anyone holding A-1 or A-2 status may have employment if and only if their country allows family members of U.S. officials the right to work in their native country.
A-1 visa is required for anyone that will be traveling into the United States and:
- Head of State or Government;
- Is an ambassador, consular officer, public minister or any other government official that will be serving at a foreign embassy;
- Government minister entering to serve for Official Activities;
- Delegation Representatives from the European Union or African Union; or
- Any immediate family members of a person already in valid A-1 status.
If a foreign government official does not qualify for A-1 visa, he or she may still be eligible for A-2 status. To be eligible for A-2 status the foreign official should:
- Be a full-time employee, entering the U.S. to work at a foreign embassy or consulate, in which the work performed should take place at an embassy;
- Foreign military members that are based or assigned to a U.S. military base, consulate, or foreign embassy;
- Any government official entering the U.S. on a written request from their government to perform official, governmental duties;
- Employees of the African or European Union delegation representatives; or
- Any immediate family members of a foreigner already in valid A-2 status.
A foreigner with in valid A-1 or A-2 status may bring their staff or support personnel with them to the U.S. on an A-3 visa. An A-3 visa, however is only valid for three (3) years, however a two (2) year extension may be granted.