United States A1 Visa for Diplomats and Government Officials

The A1 visa is for the Diplomats, Ambassadors, government Ministers and their family members who would be visiting the U.S. for some purposes.

The A visa is one of the most privileged visa options to obtain for travelling for non-immigration purposes in the U.S. this visa allows the important foreign individuals like the diplomats or officials to enter the U.S.

Who Is It For

The U.S. government has designed many types of visas for the high officials. There are four different types of Visas for Diplomats and Foreign Government Officials:

  • A-1 visa, which is for Diplomats, Consular Officers, Public Ministers, Ambassadors, and their families
  • A-2 visa, which is for other government officials or staff as well as their families
  • A-2, NATO1-6 visa, which is for military staff from other countries who will be serving in the U.S
  • A-3 visa, which is for government personal employees, attendants, or servants of A-1 and A-2 visa holders, as well as their immediate family.

How to Qualify?

To be eligible for the A-1 visa for diplomatic and government officials, there are certain requirements that government officers must meet. The following people are suitable for the A-1 visa:

  • High level bureaucrats such as head of state or ministers, as well as legal officers and parliamentary leaders
  • Ambassadors or consular officers which visit the U.S for diplomatic purposes
  • All representatives of foreign states which have diplomatic affairs with the U.S
  • Representatives of some countries which do not have true diplomatic affairs with the U.S might be permitted to get the A-1 visa if there is some sort of interest for their countries.


After you get your diplomatic passport, the application procedure for the A-1 visa is as follows:

  • Fill out Form DS-160

Form DS-160 is an online application form used for most of the non-immigrant visa categories. Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, it will have the applicable fields you need to fill up. It gathers your main personal data as well as information on your ultimate purpose of visa apply. You will get a confirmation code or page which you must save for your interview purposes.

  • Submit necessary documentation to the USCIS or U.S. embassy

In the following section, you will see the general documents checklist for you’re a-1 Visa Application.

All these diplomatic visas are designed as such that the people holding them cannot travel with the Visa Waiver Program. Instead, they must apply for the visa and the U.S must approve it before they can travel.

Documents Needed

Along with your Form DS-160, you will also need to submit a number of documents to the U.S Embassy or USCIS, depending on how you are applying you’re A-1 Visa. These documents are necessary for your A-1 visa application to be complete:

  • A valid diplomatic passport or government passport. The passport must have a validity period of more than 6 months
  • Your Form DS-160 confirmation page which you will get when you complete the form.
  • One photograph meeting the specific photo requirements
  • Diplomatic letter written from your country’s government authority. The letter must include:
  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • Position within the government
  • Genuine purpose of travel
  • Description of your responsibilities and position held
  • Planned travel period
  • Details of dependent family members
  • Details of attendants or servants, if you need them to travel with you

Besides the Form DS-160 and the supporting documents, the A-1 visa applicants will not need to go through other steps. The interviews which are typically held for other types of U.S visas, however, are not compulsory for the A-1 and A-2 visas. Yet, the U.S Embassy is permitted to require an interview if they see a reason for it.

Government Fees

Individuals who qualify for an official visa classification ( A, G, C-3, NATO) are exempt from paying visa fees.

Additional Information

The ultimate purpose of the A1 visa is to travel to the U.S for some bureaucratic work. It is not easy to apply for Green Card or permanent residence with A-1 visa. To do this, they need to file Form I-508 – Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities.

Source: U.S. Department of State