Immigration Law

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Diplomatic Visa

The kind of visa a diplomat or other government official will need in order to travel to the United States depends on the purpose of the trip. For official travel to the U.S., these individuals will usually be issued A-1, A-2, and G-1 through to G-4 visas. U.S. immigration law stipulates that in order to qualify for the A, G, or NATO visas, applicants must meet a number of specific requirements. Listed below are a few popular questions answered by immigration lawyers on diplomatic visa related issues.

After a G-4 diplomatic visa expires, how much time does one have to leave the country?

Usually, after the G-4 visa expires, the visa holder’s privileges and immunities are valid for 30 days past the expiry period. In a few cases, the individual can be allowed to stay in the country for up to 60 days to finish formalities and tie up any loose ends. However, beyond the 60 day grace period, none of the G-4 visa privileges and immunities will remain valid. Finally, it is important to note that once a G-4 visa holder’s visa expires, he/she will be not be eligible to renew or apply for a new status even within the 30/60 day grace period.

More information on this can be found here

Can my girlfriend who has lived with me for many years be considered a dependant and be allowed to travel and stay with me in the U.S. on an A-2 diplomatic visa?

Unfortunately, U.S. immigration law stipulates only a spouse and/or children qualify as dependants, so your girlfriend won’t be able to join you as a dependant.

I am a U.S. citizen and my wife came into the country on a diplomatic visa as she was working for an embassy of another country. Can she change her status to that of a permanent resident without jeopardizing her job?

There are many kinds of diplomatic visas available with different requirements. Some stipulate the applicant should have no resident status, while others allow the applicant to retain their job but relinquish "diplomatic status and immunities". Your wife would need to consult with her country’s Chief of Mission to see whether she will be allowed to change her status to that of a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident. When a diplomat adjusts status, the U.S. government requires the diplomat to sign a waiver of their privileges and immunities. The Department Of State notifies the Mission of the loss of that status. Since your wife is the spouse of a U.S. citizen, she can file her adjustment at any time. For now, she may opt to continue with her career until she is required to work overseas or "retire".

I have a Master’s degree and six years of work experience in Catholic Schools in Ireland. I now want to join my boyfriend who will be going to stay in New York for a few years on a diplomatic visa A-2. What are my options?

You will not be able to go with him unless you are married to each other. If you want to go on your own, you would need to have a job offer in the U.S. before you go, unless you currently have a B-2 visa. You can’t travel to the U.S. and then change status using a Visa Waiver. However, you can use a Visa Waiver to travel to the U.S., find a job, and then return home to have your new employer petition an H1-B visa for you. You could find more information on this here.

Q and J visas are the other options you can look at. More information on this is given at the links below:

Embassies and consulates usually do not require an interview with applicants applying for A-1 and A-2 visas. However, an interview can be requested for by the consular officer. Also, personal employees, attendants, and servants of A visa holders, who would become applicants for A-3 visas, would need to be interviewed. Immediate family members, such as the spouse and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are members of the household, would have to follow the same application procedures as the principal applicant.

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