The A-2 visa is very similar to the A-1 visa. It grants foreign officials entrance into the U.S. to engage in official government activities. These officials, however, are not accepted as diplomats because they are categorized differently. An A-2 visa holder is allowed to remain in the U.S. as long as the Secretary of State continues to acknowledge the official as a member of the community of diplomats. An A-2 visa holder may also be eligible for an extension of stay.
This occurs by renewing the visa accreditation of the visa by the U.S. Department of State. The A-2 visa holder must receive permission by their home country. Their home country must also issue a request to the U.S. DOS for the renewal to be given.
Eligibility For The A-2 Visa
Accredited, non-diplomat officials and their immediate family members are eligible to hold an A-2 Visa. These include:
- Full-time employees entering the U.S. for work assignment at a foreign embassy or consulate where such work will be performed at a U.S. embassy
- Military members of foreign nations who are assigned to a U.S. military base, foreign embassy or consulate
- Any foreign government official traveling to the U.S. for work on a written request from their government to perform official duties on behalf of their nation
- AU (African Union) or EU (European Union) delegates
- Immediate family of a foreign official who already holds a valid A-2 Visa
Requirements and Rules For The A-2 Visa
The requirements and rules for the A-2 Visa are almost the exact same as the A-1 Visa application. The applicant must hold an eligible government position that falls under the above category of employees/officials (who are different than A-1 officials). The applicant must also state their official purpose for obtaining an A-2 visa, which is strictly for government business.
An A-2 Visa holder may not be employed or enroll in any academic classes in the U.S. since the purpose for their visit is official government business. An A-2 Visa holder is also subject to the same privileges, restrictions, and revocations as the A-1 Visa holder.
Applying For An A-2 Visa
The application process for the A-2 Visa is nearly the exact same as the A-1 Visa application. An applicant may be required to possess and submit a diplomatic passport to either their country’s embassy or consulate, or the USCIS depending upon whether they reside inside or outside the U.S.. Additionally, some positions may not require a diplomatic passport.
The A-2 Visa Application Process
The A-2 Visa applicant follows the same steps as the A-1 Visa applicant does in the process:
- Complete Form D-S160 and after approval, submit it to the USCIS to receive a visa confirmation code
- Submit necessary documentation to the USCIS or U.S. Embassy
- Diplomatic Passport (depending on the nature of the position)
- Form D-S160 and its confirmation page
- Online Photograph
- Diplomatic note from the official’s national government
Like A-1 Visa applicants, A-2 Visa applicants are not required to be interviewed. They are also exempt from paying any visa fees.
Validity Of The A-2 Visa
The A-2 Visa is only valid for as long as the visa holder is staying in the U.S or for an indefinite period. The A-2 visa holder must have their non-diplomat government position recognized by the U.S. government to be allowed to stay in the U.S. for an indefinite period.
An A-2 Visa holder may resign while still in the U.S. but is allowed to stay for as long as it takes the USDOS to make record changes. Then, the A-2 visa holder’s resignation officially bars them from an A-2 status and they must return to their home country.
The visa holder is allowed an extension of stay provided that they obtain a letter from their government that lists the reasons for an extension period. The request must then be submitted and approved by the DOS.
Immediate Family Members
The A-2 visa application process is the same for your immediate family members as it is for you. An immediate family member is defined as:
- A spouse
- An unmarried son or daughter
- Someone who regularly resides in the visa holder’s household (such that they are not a member of another household and the visa holder’s government recognizes them as an immediate family member)
- Immediate relatives and those by marriage or adoption of you or your spouse
- A domestic partner
- Immediate relatives and those by marriage or adoption of you or your domestic partner
A domestic partner is defined as a same-sex domestic partner. Any family member who does not meet the above qualifications for A-2 visa status must apply and be qualified for a B-2 Visitor visa. B-2 visa applications must pay a required application and issuance fee if they qualify for B-2 visa status.
Consult With An Immigration Attorney
The application process for an A-2 Visa is relatively straightforward, however it is important that you thoroughly understand the details to ensure that you are eligible, meet all the requirements, and know your status as a visa holder. To get assistance with the application process, or to find our more information about the A-2 Government Officials Visa, contact Johnson & Masumi to schedule a consultation with our immigration attorneys today.