Immigration Law

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What is an A Visa?

The United States immigration law has several requirements in order to qualify for a diplomatic visa. To get an A-1, A-2 or A-3 visa, the applicant needs to be visiting the U.S. as a representative of their national government for the sole purpose of doing official business for their country. However, government officials who plan to visit the U.S. for non-governmental functions that could be of a commercial or recreational nature cannot apply for A visas.

Listed below are a few questions answered by immigration lawyers on A visas.

Can an A-2 visa holder that has lived in the US since 1994, be eligible to apply to stay in the U.S. under section 13?

This is a possibility; however, due to the eligibility requirements, it may not be likely. In order to qualify, her duties here would have had to be diplomatic in nature. For more information on this, visit If one does not meet the eligibility criteria, they will be denied.

Can a foreign allied military officer with an A-2 visa, show they are a Lawful Permanent Resident in order to get a VA mortgage loan to buy a family home?

This visa is a non-immigrant visa and a Lawful Permanent Resident is defined as a person who resides in the U.S. on an immigrant visa. However, this shouldn’t affect one’s prospects as a buyer since there are mortgage companies who are willing to give mortgages to individuals who hold diplomatic work visas.

As an A-2 visa holder, can a person own a sole proprietorship (consulting) business in the U.S. if they file taxes on it, along with the income from the foreign government which is tax exempt?

This visa only allows the applicant to work on the job that brought them to the country. If income is generated from somewhere else, it would need reported to the IRS, and they will then let USCIS know. Unless the visa is modified, no other income can be earned.

Can a couple with an A-2 visa hire a nanny who entered the U.S. under an A-3 visa but continued to stay in the country after her contract finished?

If the nanny does not have any status in the U.S., she won’t be able to change her old status or obtain a new one. As soon as a person is out of status in the U.S., he/she starts to accumulate unlawful presence in the U.S. and therefore becomes ineligible for any benefits.

If a child’s parent was a diplomat and brought them to the US, but has now returned to their home country, can the adult child apply for US citizenship?

Unfortunately, based on the rules of U.S. Immigration law, an individual cannot obtain permanent resident status just because he/she has been in the country for a long time. However, if they are enrolled in college or get married to a US citizen then a petition could be filed.

Foreign officials who travel to the United States on official business cannot travel visa-free or on tourist visas under the Visa Waiver Program. They would need a Diplomatic visa (A-1, A-2 or A-3) to enter the country. Qualified applicants who travel to the United States on assignments which are less than 90 days in duration will be issued visas annotated "TDY" (temporary duty).

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