Visas for Employees of International Organizations and NATO
Important Notice: Effective immediately, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses. Please reference the specific guidance on the visa category for which you are applying for more details on documentation required for derivative spouses. For further information, please see our FAQ’s.
Diplomats, government officials, and employees who will work for international organizations in the United States need G visas. Officials and employees of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) who will work for NATO in the United States need NATO visas. With the exception of a Head of State or Government who qualifies for an A 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 upon their purpose of travel to the United States.
If you are an employee of an international organization or NATO personnel who is physically present in the United States on assignment:
Requesting to renew (reapply for) your visa or that of an immediate family member, select Renewing a G or NATO Visa in the United States to learn more. G-5 and NATO-7 visa holders must reapply for their visas outside the United States.
Requesting to change status into or out of G or NATO status, select Change of Status to/from A,G, NATO to learn more.
International Organization Employees
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 U.S. visa law, you must receive a G visa. The exceptions to this rule are extremely limited. International organization officials and employees requiring visas include:
- G-1 - Permanent mission members of a recognized government to a designated international organization and their immediate family members
- G-2 - Representatives of a recognized government traveling temporarily to the United States to attend meetings of a designated international organization and their immediate family members
- G-3 - Representatives of non-recognized or non-member governments and their immediate family members
- G-4 - Individuals coming to the United States to take up an appointment at a designated international organization, including the United Nations, and their immediate family members
- G-5 – May be issued to personal employees or domestic workers of a G-1 – 4 visa holders. Select Personal Employees to learn more.
Designated Organizations List - Review the authorized list of designated International Organizations in the Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 41.24 Exhibit I).
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
To receive a NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, or NATO-6 visa, you must be traveling to the United States under the applicable provision of the Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters Set Up Pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty. This includes national representatives, international staff, and immediate family members. Personal employees or domestic workers of a NATO-1 – 6 visa holder may be issued NATO-7 visas. Select Personal Employees to learn more.
Passport and Visa Exemptions for NATO Forces - Many armed forces personnel are exempt from passport and visa requirements if they are:
- Attached to NATO Allied Headquarters in the United States and are traveling on official business; or
- Entering the United States under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement.
When traveling in visa exempt status, such personnel generally enter the United States by military aircraft or naval vessel. You must present your official military identification card and NATO travel orders. Note: Immediate family members are not included in the passport and visa exemption. Therefore, when family members are traveling with you or who will join you at a later date, each person must have a passport and NATO-2 visa to enter the United States.
G and NATO Visas Required for Official Travel
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. Please note that U.S. law requires international organization and NATO officials and employees and their qualified immediate family members to receive G-1 - 6 or NATO-1 - 7 visas, if entitled. Exceptions are extremely limited.
Travel Purposes Not Permitted on G or NATO Visas - Examples:
- Heads of States or Governments - A Head of State or Government is an exception and must always travel to the United States with an A-1 visa, regardless of purpose of travel.
- Officials coming to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, do not qualify for G or NATO visas. You must apply for the appropriate visa category for your specific travel purpose.
How to Apply
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you will apply.
About Visa Interviews
As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate is required for most visa applicants applying abroad. Embassies and consulates generally do not require an interview for those applying for G-1 - 4 and NATO-1 - 6 visas, although a consular officer can request an interview.
Personal employees, domestic workers, and attendants of the above visa holders, applying for G-5 or NATO-7 visas, are required to be interviewed. Review information in the Personal Employees section below.
All applicants for G and NATO visas should complete the following:
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 – Learn more about completing the DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page. You must submit the confirmation page as part of your application. (Important Notice: For G-1 - 4 or NATO-1 - 6 visa holders on assignment in the United States reapplying for their visa, use Form DS-1648, not DS-160. Review instructions on the Renewing A, G, or NATO Visas in the U.S. webpage)
- Photo – Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements. You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.
All applicants for G and NATO visas should gather and deliver the following required documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country:
- Passport valid for travel to the United States - Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than 1 person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page (For applicants applying outside the United States)
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
- A diplomatic note – This note is written confirmation from the international organization or NATO of your status and your official purpose for coming to the United States.
- For an immediate family member applying separate from the principal visa applicant – A copy of both the visa and I-94 (both front and back) for the principal visa holder is required. If the principal visa applicant entered the U.S. after the automation of Form I-94, and his/her Arrival/Departure Record was created electronically, a photocopy of his/her admission stamp can be provided to the family member applying separately. Alternatively, the principal applicant may obtain a paper Form I-94 at http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions and provide it to the family member applying separately.
Additional Documentation May Be Required
Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified.
Individuals who qualify for an official visa classification (A, G, C-3, NATO) are exempt from paying visa fees.
More About Visa Fees - Individuals holding diplomatic passports may 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.
Immediate Family Members
Visa application procedures for your immediate family members are the same as for you.
Immediate family members for G visas are defined as the spouse and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are members of your household, even if studying in a different location.
For G visas, an immediate family member may also be a person who will reside regularly in your household, is not a member of some other household, and is recognized as your immediate family member by the sending Government or International Organization, as demonstrated by eligibility for rights and benefits, such as the issuance of a diplomatic or official passport or travel and other allowances.
In addition to a spouse and unmarried sons and daughter of a G visa holder, immediate family members who may qualify to receive G visas include:
- any other relative, by blood, marriage, or adoption, of you or your spouse;
- a domestic partner; and
- any relative by blood, marriage, or adoption of the domestic partner.
The term "domestic partner" means a same-sex domestic partner. Domestic partners may be issued G visas if the sending country would provide reciprocal treatment to domestic partners of U.S. citizen employees of international organizations in that country.
For NATO visas, immediate family member means the spouse or child of a member depending on him or her for support.
A family member who does not qualify as immediate family, as described above, may qualify for a visitor (B-2) visa. Visitor visa applicants are required to pay visa application and issuance fees, if applicable
Personal employees, attendants, domestic workers, or servants of individuals who hold a valid G-1 through G-4, or NATO-1 through NATO-6 visa, may be issued a G-5 or a NATO-7 visa, if they meet the requirements.
The employment contract must be in English and, if the employee does not understand English, also in a language the employee understands.
Employment Contract signed by both the employer and the employee which must include each of the following items:
- Description of Duties. The contract must describe the work to be performed, e.g., housekeeping, gardening, child care, and also must include a statement that the domestic employee shall work only for the employer who signed the contract.
- Hours of Work. The contract must state the time of the normal working hours and the number of hours per week. It is generally expected that domestic workers will be required to work 35-40 hours per week. It also must state that the domestic employee will be provided a minimum of one full day off each week. The contract must indicate the number of paid holidays, sick days, and vacation days the domestic employee will be provided.
- Minimum Wage. The contract must state the hourly wage to be paid to the domestic employee. The rate must be the greater of the minimum wage under U.S. Federal and state law, or the prevailing wage for all working hours. Information on the prevailing wage statistics by occupation and metropolitan area is available on the Department of Labor's Online Wage Library & Data Center website.
The contract must state that wages will be paid to the domestic employee either weekly or biweekly. As of March 2011, the Department determined that no deductions are allowed for lodging, medical care, medical insurance, or travel. As of April 2012, deductions taken for meals are also no longer allowed.
- Overtime Work. The contract must state that any hours worked in excess of the normal number of hours worked per week are considered overtime hours, and that hours in which the employee is “on call” count as work hours. It also must state that such work must be paid as required by U.S. local laws.
- NOTE: Under Federal law, the rate of overtime pay need not exceed the regular hourly rate if the employee resides in the home of the employer, but State law governing overtime rates also applies and must be checked. If the employee does not reside with the employer, overtime for hours in excess of 40 hours per week must be paid at the rate of time and a half.
- Payment. The contract must state that after the first 90 days of employment, all wage payments must be made by check or by electronic transfer to the domestic worker’s bank account. Neither Mission members nor their family members should have access to domestic workers' bank accounts. In addition, the Department requires that the employer retain records of employment and payment for three years after the termination of the employment in order to address any complaints that may subsequently arise. Further, the bank account must be in the United States so that domestic workers may readily access and utilize their wages.
- Transportation to and from the United States. The contract must state that the domestic employee will be provided with transportation to and from the United States.
- Other Required Terms of Employment. The contract must state that the employer agrees to abide by all Federal, State, and local laws in the United States. The contract also must include a statement that the domestic worker’s passport and visa will be in the sole possession of the domestic worker. In addition, the contract must state that a copy of the contract and other personal property of the domestic employee will not be withheld by the employer for any reason. The contract must include a statement that the domestic worker's presence in the employer's residence will not be required except during working hours. The contract must also include a statement by the employee, promising not to accept any other employment while working for the employer.
- Other Recommended Terms of Employment. The contract may include additional agreed-upon terms of employment, if any, provided they are fully consistent with all U.S. Federal, State, and local laws. Any modification to the contract must be in writing.
Important Notices: Employers and Personal Employees/Domestic Workers are advised to keep their passport and a copy of their contract in their possession. They should not surrender their contract and/or passport to their employer. Personal employees and domestic workers are advised that they will be subject to U.S. law while in the United States, and that their contracts provide working arrangements that the employer is expected to respect.
How to Apply: G-5 and NATO-7 Visas
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. As part of the application process, an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States is required. The employer and/or recruitment agent does not attend the interview.
Schedule an Interview
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website.
Prepare for Your Interview
Visa applicants for G-5 and NATO-7 visas must submit each of the items explained in this webpage and How to Apply sections including:
- Complete Online Visa Application and
- Gather Required Documentation and
- Submit Employment Contract - The contract must be in English and signed by both you and your employer. (If the personal employee does not understand English, then a translation of the contract in a language the employee understands is required to ensure that the employee understands the job duties and rights regarding salary and working conditions.) The contract must contain all of the information listed in the Personal Employee Contract section above.
Legal Rights and Protections
Learn about your rights in the United States and protection available to you by reading the Legal Rights and Protections pamphlet, before applying for your visa.
Attend Your Visa Interview
During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa. You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a G-5 or NATO-7 visa.
Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
After your visa interview, your application may require further administrative processing. You will be informed by the consular officer if further processing is necessary for your application.
If the visa is approved, you will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you.
For Employers and Personal Employees or Domestic Workers
Personal employees should keep their passport and a copy of their contract in their possession. They should not surrender their contract and passport to their employer under any circumstances. Personal employees should understand that their contracts provide working arrangements that the employer is expected to respect.
Recent changes to U.S. law relate to the legal rights of certain employment-based nonimmigrants under Federal immigration, labor, and employment laws and the information to be provided about protections and available resources. Employers, as well as personal employees, should review the Nonimmigrant Rights, Protections and Resources pamphlet explained above.
- We cannot guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
- Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.
Change of Status Into, Within, Between, or Out of G or NATO Status in the U.S.
Select Change of Status to learn about:
- Changing into, within, or between A, G, or NATO status if you are in the United States and accept employment with a diplomatic mission, an international organization (including the UN), a permanent or observer mission to the UN, or NATO; and
- Changing out of G or NATO status into another nonimmigrant status because you left your assignment, but plan to remain in the United States.
Visa Denial and Ineligibility
Review Visa Denials for detailed information about visa ineligibilities, denials, and waivers.
Misrepresentation or Fraud
Attempting to obtain a visa by the willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or fraud, may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the United States.