GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (A, G, C & NATO)
Thanks to our presence in Washington, DC, Palm Global has the privilege of working with ambassadors, diplomats, and other representatives of countries around the world. We also work with employees of international organizations (i.e., The World Bank, IMF, and OAS) and their families. The A, G, and C visa categories are specifically tailored to allow these foreign nationals to travel and work in the United States.
The “A” Visa for Ambassadors and Diplomats
Ambassadors, diplomats, and other representatives of countries around the world can utilize A-1 visas with A-2 visas for immediate family members and A-3 for servants or staff. The visa is decided by the US consulates overseas. US-based visa work comes into play either when the A-2 diplomats and their dependents are seeking their own green card status, or when their attendants and staff seek to detach and obtain their own status.
There are several notable allowances for A-2 dependents, which includes spouses and children under 21. Most countries have reciprocal agreements with the U.S. that permit work authorization for these dependents. Further, the visa even allows for several additional categories of children over age 21, including not only adult children with special needs but also unmarried full-time college students under age 23 (or under age 25 if a bilateral agreement has been signed by the U.S. and the sending country). Still, these individuals need to change their status from A-2 to another visa category at the conclusion of their studies – often to continue school or begin working in the U.S. We recommend advance planning about 1.5 to 2.5 years prior to the required date of transition from A-2 to another visa status.
For the domestic workers who accompany the family in A-3 status, our Palm Global can help prove the contractual nature of the relationship – a requirement for A-3 status. But later, after US entry, it is not uncommon for these individuals to want to detach themselves from the diplomatic family by pursuing another visa (which has to be approved overseas before use) or by becoming a permanent resident through the labor certification process, which affords special regulatory requirements to domestic workers. The regulations governing A visa requirements can be found at 8 C.F.R. 214.2(a).
The “G” Visa for Diplomats and Other Representatives of Foreign Governments
Many other distinguished individuals are present on G visas: G-1 status for principal representatives of permanent government mission or international organization (IMF, World Bank, OAS); G-2 status for non-principal representatives; G-3 status for representatives of countries lacking de jure recognition; G-4 status for officers and employees of international organizations; and G-5 status for domestic employees of the previously listed G visa holders.
These representatives are not required to maintain an overseas residence and may bring their immediate family members on dependent visas, which includes spouses and children under 21. Their employment income is often excused from U.S. taxation. Most dependents of G-1, G-3, and G-4 visa holders are eligible for employment authorization, though all dependents employed in the U.S. are subject to income taxes and must follow additional protocols when applying for a work card. G-2 and G-5 dependents may not work in the United States.
However, the G visa category is similar to the A visa in that it allows for several additional categories of children over age 21, including not only adult children with special needs but also unmarried full-time college students under age 23 (or under age 25 if not a G-4 dependent and a bilateral agreement has been signed by the U.S. and the sending country). Because of the unique grant of dependent status to adult children of principal G visa holders, these individuals often look to change their dependent status from to another visa category at the conclusion of their studies – often to continue school or begin working. This is where Palm Global recommends advance planning to prepare for the transition to another visa status.
The “C-2” Visa for U.N. Representatives
The C-2 visa can be used by for foreign nationals who are simply “transiting” the United States on their way to and from assignments at the United Nations Headquarters District in New York City. These individuals are restricted to the NYC area during their stay.
To be eligible for C status one must: be passing in immediate and continuous transit through the U.S.; be in possession of a plane/boat ticket to their final destination; possess sufficient funds for the trip; and have prior permission to enter the destination or transit countries. Any period of stay in the United States must be less than twenty-nine days. Foreign nationals present in C status are prohibited from changing to another visa classification from within the United States – they must depart and apply at a consulate overseas.
The “NATO” and “N” Visas for Special Immigrants
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) signatories have a written agreement that defines the terms of their armed services personnel when serving abroad. NATO servicemember visas are separated into 5 categories corresponding to their rank and status; categories 6 and 7 are for civilians and attendants, respectively. NATO servicemembers are normally exempt from CBP inspection. NATO-6 visa holders are admitted for Duration of Status (D/S), and NATO-7 visa holders have a 3-year period of stay that may be extended.
Parents and children of G-4 visa holders and NATO employees are accorded special immigrant status through the N visa. These “special immigrants” are subject to unique requirements when filing for permanent residence.