Diplomats and Government Officials (A-1 & A-2)

A Head of State or Government qualifies for an A-1 visa regardless of the purpose of his or her visit to the United States. The type of visa required by a diplomat or other government official depends on his or her purpose of stay in the United States.

To qualify for an A-1 or A-2 visa, a diplomat or other government official must be traveling to the United States on behalf of his or her national government to engage solely in official activities for that government. The particular duties or services to be performed must be of an inherently governmental character – it is not sufficient that a government holds interest or control in a given organization. Local government officials representing their state, province, borough, or other local political entity do not qualify for “A” visa status; they require B-1 or B-2 visas. Qualified A visa applicants traveling to the United States for assignments of less than 90 days will be issued visas annotated “TDY” (temporary duty).

Embassies and consulates generally do not require interviews for those applying for A-1 and A-2 visas, although a consular officer can request an interview.

Important note: Foreign officials who intend to travel to the United States on official business must obtain an A visa prior to their entry. They cannot travel on tourist visas, or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA).