G Visa Overview

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

International Organizations

The G nonimmigrant visa classification is for representatives of international organizations and their immediate (dependent) family members. To qualify for a G visa, the purpose of your intended travel to the United States must be pursuant to official duties. Permanent mission members of a recognized government to a designated international organization are eligible for a G-1 visa. Representatives of a recognized government traveling to the United States temporarily to attend meetings of a designated international organization are eligible for G-2 visas and representatives of non-recognized or non-member governments are eligible for G-3 visas. G-4 visas are issued to individuals who are proceeding to the United States to take up an appointment at a designated international organization, including the United Nations. See the listing of designated International Organizations by going to section 41.24 Exhibit I in the 9 FAM. Please note that U.S. visa law indicates that if a visa applicant is entitled to a G visa as a principal or dependent, he or she must receive a G visa. The exceptions to this rule are extremely limited. 

NATO

An applicant is classified under the symbol NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, or NATO-6 if seeking admission 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 of an individual classified NATO-1 through NATO-6. Please note that U.S. visa law indicates that if a visa applicant is entitled to a NATO visa as a principal or dependent, he or she must receive a NATO visa. The exceptions to this rule are extremely limited.

However, 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 the NATO Status of Forces Agreement. In the latter case, you must carry official military ID cards and NATO travel orders. When traveling in exempt status, such personnel would generally be entering the United States by military aircraft or naval vessel. 

How to Apply - Required Documentation

As part of the visa application process, when applying abroad, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for most visa applicants. For those applying for G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5 and NATO-6 visas, embassies and consulates generally do not require an interview; however, a consular officer can request an interview. Additionally, G1-4 and NATO1-6 visa applicants are exempt from the fingerprint scan requirement.

Personal employees, attendants and servants of G and NATO visa holders, that is, applicants for G-5 and NATO-7 visas, are required to be interviewed. Additionally, as part of the visa interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly completed.

Please contact the embassy or consulate in your home country for more information. Visa application forms should be delivered to the embassy or consulate in the country in which you are a resident. Each applicant and any accompanying persons, must submit the forms and documentation as explained below:

  • An application, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-156, signed and completed. The DS-156 must be the March 2006 date, electronic "e-form application." Select Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 to access the electronic version of the DS-156.
  • An application for A, G, and NATO Visa, Form DS-1648 (ONLY for G1-4 and NATO1-6 visa applicants applying in the U.S., including in cases of change of status, or those working at the United Nations, the DS-1648 should be submitted, not the DS-156). This application must be completed and submitted online by selecting DS-1648 Online: New Application for A, G, or NATO Visa (Applying in the United States only), and then submitting the confirmation page generated at the end of the application, affixed with the Embassy, mission, or organization seal. The non-electronic form DS-1648 is NOT accepted.
  • A supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-157, which provides additional information about your travel. G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visa applicants are not required to complete the Form DS-157. Here is the Form DS-157.
  • A diplomatic note. The diplomatic note is written confirmation by the sending government of the applicant's status. A-3, G-5 and NATO-7 applicants must have a diplomatic note included with their applications to confirm the official status of employers. If entering the U.S. without a visa under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement or the Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters Set Up Pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty, you must carry official military ID cards and NATO travel orders.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
  • One photograph - For Online Application DS-1648, you will upload either a scanned or digital photograph meeting the format requirements explained in the Photo Standards Guide for the Online Application DS-1648. If the photo upload function fails, continue trying to upload until the application allows you to proceed without a photo. Then, submit one print photograph meeting requirements, stapled or glued to the online DS-1648 confirmation page ONLY if the confirmation page has an X in the box where the uploaded photo should appear. See the print photo format found in the Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements. If the confirmation page includes a photo image, then the photo upload function has succeeded and no separate print photograph is required.
  • Copy of both the visa for the principal visa holder and the I-94 (copy both front and back). Only required for an immediate family member applying separate from the principal visa applicant.

Visa Processing and Issuance Fees

Individuals who establish entitlement to an official visa classification (e.g., A, G, C-3, NATO) are exempt from paying visa fees. Additionally, 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 defined in 22 CFR 21.26 (c)(1)(i) through (xvi). 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.

  • Copy of both the visa and I-94 (both front and back) for the principal visa holder required for an immediate family member or other dependent applying separate from the principal visa applicant.

Immediate Family Members

Immediate family members are defined as the spouse and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are members of the household, even if studying in a different location. Application procedures are the same as for the principal applicant. If accompanying or following to join a military member on NATO travel orders, the spouse and children should apply for NATO-2 visas. If accompanying a G visa holder spouse on travel, the spouse and children must apply for the same classification of G visa. An unmarried partner, even if recognized as the principal applicant's dependent by the sending government or international organization, would not be eligible for a derivative visa (G or NATO), but may apply for a B visa, if otherwise qualified. B visa applicants are required to pay visa application and reciprocal issuance fees, if applicable.

Personal Employees

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. As part of the application process, an interview at the embassy or consulate is required. Proof that the applicant will receive a fair wage, sufficient to financially support himself/herself, 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. The consular officer will determine eligibility for the G-5 or NATO-7 visa. Applicants for G-5 and NATO-7 visas must apply outside the United States.

To apply for a G-5 or NATO-7 visa, the visa applicant must submit each of the items explained in the How to Apply - Required Documentation section above, as well as the following.

Employment Contract signed by both the employer and the employee. The contract must include each of the following items:

  • The contract must be in English and also in a language understood by the employee to ensure the employee understands his or her duties and rights regarding salary and working conditions;
  • A guarantee the employee will be compensated at the state or federal minimum or prevailing wage, whichever is greater. Any money deducted for food or lodging, is limited to that which is considered reasonable. (Note: Fair prevailing wage is determined by the consular officer using the Department of Labor Alien Labor Certification/Occupational Employment Survey prevailing wage statistics by occupation and metropolitan area.);
  • A statement by the employee, promising not to accept any other employment while working for the employer;
  • A statement by the employer, promising to not withhold the passport of the employee; and
  • A statement indicating that both parties understand that the employee cannot be required to remain on the premises after working hours without compensation.

The employer must pay the domestic's initial travel expenses to the United States, and subsequently to the employer's onward assignment, or to the employee's country of normal residence at the termination of the assignment.

The employer must demonstrate that he or she will have sufficient funds to provide a fair wage and working conditions, as reflected in the contract. Consideration is also given to the number of employees an employer would reasonably be able to pay.

Important Notices - for Employers and Personal Employees/Domestic Workers - Personal employees 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.

The U.S. Government considers "involuntary servitude" of domestic workers, as defined under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), to be a severe form of trafficking in persons (TIP) and a serious criminal offense. Victims of involuntary servitude are offered protection under the TVPA. "The term 'involuntary servitude' includes a condition of servitude induced by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraints, or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process." The U.S. Government maintains a telephone hotline for reporting abuse of domestic employees and other TIP-related crimes, 1-888-373-7888.

Entering the U.S. - Port of Entry

Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a port of entry in the United States, such as an international airport, a seaport or a land border crossing, and request permission to enter the U.S. Immigration inspectors with the Department of Homeland Security's, Customs and Border Protection, will permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine the permitted length of stay in the U.S., on any particular visit. Visa holders whose visas indicate port of entry restrictions are responsible for paying close attention to those restrictions, and risk being refused entry if they attempt to enter the United States at a port of entry that has not been authorized. Upon arrival, G-5 and NATO-7 visa holders will be enrolled in the US-VISIT entry-exit program. G1-4 and NATO1-6 visa holders are exempt from entry into the US-VISIT program. In addition, some G-5 and NATO-7 travelers will also need to register their entry into the U.S. and departure. Select Special Registration to learn more. If allowed to enter, the U.S. immigration official will authorize the traveler's admission to the U.S. with a Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure. The Form I-94 documents authorized stay in the U.S. and notes the length of stay permitted; it is very important to keep the Form I-94 in one's passport.

Government Links

This section focuses on articles and reports related to A, G and NATO Visa from government agencies such as the USCIS, DOS, DHS, CBP and ICE.

  1. Sec. 214.2(s) NATO Nonimmigrant aliens -- USCIS
  2. Employees of International Organizations and NATO- DOS
  3. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a port-of-entry in the United States, such as an international airport, a seaport or a land border crossing, and request permission to enter the U.S. Immigration inspectors with the Department of Homeland Security's, Customs and Border Protection, will permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine your length of stay in the U.S. on any particular visit. Upon arrival, G-5 and NATO-7 visa holders will be enrolled in the US-VISIT entry-exit program.
  4. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - To find out more detailed information about admissions and entry in the U.S., select Admissions to go to the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection Internet site.
  5. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)- G1-4 and NATO 1-6 visa holders are exempt from entry into the US-VISIT program. In addition, some G-5 and NATO-7 travelers will also need to register their entry into the U.S. and departure. Select Special Registration program.
  6. Embassy's Consular Section Website- As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for most visa applicants. For those applying for G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5 and NATO-6 visas, embassies and consulates generally do not require an interview; however, a consular officer can request an interview. Additionally, G1-4 and NATO1-6 visa applicants are exempt from the fingerprint scan requirement. Personal employees, attendants and servants of G and NATO visa holders, that is, applicants for G-5 and NATO-7 visas, are required to be interviewed. Additionally, as part of the visa interview, a quick, two-digit, ink-free fingerprint scan will be completed. Please contact the embassy or consulate in your home country for more information. Visa application forms should be delivered to the embassy or consulate in the country in which you are a resident.
Nonimmigrant Visas: