A-1 – Political Diplomatic Visa
Understanding the basics
Diplomats and other foreign government officials traveling to the United States to engage solely in official duties or activities on behalf of their national government must obtain A-1 or A-2 visas prior to entering the United States. They cannot travel using visitor visas or under the Visa Waiver Program. With the exception of a Head of State or Government -- who qualifies for an A visa regardless of the purpose of travel -- your position within your country’s government and your purpose of travel determine whether you need an A-1 or A-2 visa. Immediate family members of diplomats and government officials receive A-1 or A-2 visas, with few exceptions.
Diplomats and officials requiring A-1 Visas
- Head of State or Government, regardless of the purpose of travel
- Official coming to serve at a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States, such as an ambassador or consul
- Government minister or cabinet member coming for official activities
- European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) delegation representatives
- Immediate family members of an A-1 visa holder
How much does it cost to apply?
Individuals who qualify for an official visa classification (A, G, C-3, NATO) are exempt from paying visa fees.
Individuals holding diplomatic passports may also be exempt from visa fees regardless of visa classification and purpose of travel, if they meet one of the qualifying categories. Possession of a diplomatic passport or the equivalent is not by itself sufficient to qualify for a no-fee diplomatic visa. The consular officer will make the determination whether the visa applicant qualifies for an exemption of fees under U.S. immigration laws. Official passport holders are not charged for official visas, but are required to pay visa application and reciprocal issuance fees, if applicable, for all non-official visas.