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:
- Any foreign government official or employee traveling to the U.S. for work on a written request from their government to perform official duties on behalf of their nation
- Military members of foreign nations who are temporarily assigned to a U.S. military base, foreign embassy or consulate (not including those traveling under NATO orders)
- 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 (which only needs to be valid on the date of admission) 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 or foreign residence.
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 (duration of status). 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.