US Visas for Employees of International Organizations and NATO
International organization and NATO officials and employees traveling to the United States to engage in official duties or activities must enter the United States with a G-1-4 or NATO-1-6 visa. International organization and NATO officials and employees traveling for official purposes are not permitted to enter the United States on any other visa category or under the Visa Waiver Program.
To receive a G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa, you must be traveling to attend meetings at, visit, or work at a designated international organization. If you are entitled to a G visa, under US visa law, you must receive a G visa.
Additionally, the visa requires individuals coming to the United States to take up an appointment at a designated international organization and their immediate family members (G-4), and the G-5 visa may be issued to personal employees or domestic workers of G-1-4 visa holders.
The G-1 Diplomatic Visa
The G-1 Diplomatic Visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to designated principal resident representatives of foreign governments recognized by the U.S. to enter the U.S. to work for an international organization like International Monetary Fund, World Bank, etc. and not for personal business or pleasure.
To qualify for a G-1 visa, the applicant must be:
- The main representative of the Government recognized by the U.S.; or
- The member of an international organization.
The limitation of a G-1 visa is that the applicant can perform only those duties that are related to the international organization and agreements designated by the President under the International Organizations Immunities Act.
Duration of the Visa
The G-1 Visa holder may stay in the U.S. indefinitely as long as the Secretary of State continues to recognize his/her G-1 status. There is no requirement that the applicant must have a foreign residence to which he or she intends to return.
The G-1 visa holder can bring his/her immediate family members (those closely related by blood, marriage or adoption, and who reside regularly in the household). They may join the visa holder on the same G-1 status. The personal attendants and servants may join the visa holder in the U.S. on a G-5 visa.
The G-1 visa holder’s dependents may work only after receiving permission from the USCIS. Working without prior permission is considered a violation of the visa status. They may apply for permission to work if there is a reciprocal work arrangement between the U.S. and the visa holder’s nation.
G-2 Diplomatic Visa
The G-2 Diplomatic Visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to an accredited representative of any rank other than the principal representative of a foreign government recognized by the U.S. to enter into the U.S to work for an international organization such as International Monetary Fund, World Bank, etc.
The staff and immediate family members (spouse and children) of the principal G-2 visa holders also qualify for G-2 visas.
G-3 Diplomatic Visa
The G-3 Diplomatic Visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to representatives of unrecognized foreign governments to enter into the U.S. and work for an international organization such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, etc.
The immediate family members (spouse and children) of the principal G-3 visa holders also qualify for G-3 visas.
G-4 Diplomatic Visa
The G-4 Diplomatic Visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to officers or employees of international organizations of any rank to enter into the U.S. to engage in their respective activities.
The staff and immediate family members (spouse and children) of the principal G-4 visa holders also qualify for G-4 visas.
G-5 Diplomatic Visa
The G-5 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to the attendants, servants or personal employees of principal G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 Visa holders to enter into the U.S. to render services to the principal. The immediate family members (spouse and children) of principal G-5 Visa holders are also eligible for G-5 Visas.
A G-5 Visa holder can stay in the U.S. for a period of up to three years. The stay can be extended for an additional period of two years. The G-5 a Visa holders can hold domestic positions, including cook, maid, housekeeper, janitor, laundress, caretaker, babysitter, etc.
Under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), representatives and staff from member countries can visit the U.S. on temporary visas. They are not subject to immigration inspections and documentary requirements as per the treaty. The consular officials decide about their admission and their visas are valid for as long as the Secretary of State recognizes their status.
An applicant is classified under the symbol NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, or NATO-6. This includes national representatives, international staff and immediate family members of an individual classified NATO-1 through NATO-6. Employment authorization is obtained through the State Department.
Exempt from Passport & Visa Requirements
Many armed forces personnel are exempt from passport and visa requirements if they are either attached to NATO Allied Headquarters in the United States and are traveling on official business or are entering the United States under NATO Status of Forces Agreement. However, they must carry official military ID cards and NATO travel orders.
Personal Staff & Domestic Workers or Servants – NATO-7 Visa
Personal employees, attendants, domestic workers, or servants of valid NATO-1 through NATO-6 visa holders may be issued a NATO-7 visa. An interview at the embassy or consulate is required for the applicant. Proof of fair wage, comparable to that being offered in the area of employment in the U.S. is required.
In addition, the applicant needs to demonstrate that he/she will perform the contracted employment duties.
Green Card for International Organization Employees
There is a provision of immigration law that allows certain long-term international organization employees and their eligible family members to apply for special immigrant status and become permanent residents of the U.S. (get a Green Card) as long as their organization remains recognized.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a recognized international organization. Other organizations include the:
- Organization of American States (OAS);
- Inter-American Defense Board (IADB);
- Inter-American Defense College (IADC);
- International Monetary Fund (IMF);
- World Bank;
- International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT); and
- International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO).