There are two main categories of the United States’ visas that one can apply for: Immigrant and non-immigrant visas. A foreign national who intends to live permanently in the U.S will apply for an immigrant visa. A non-immigrant visa, on the other hand, is issued to foreign nationals who wish to stay in the U.S temporarily. It could be for business, tourism, study, or medical treatment.

Employees of NATO and international organizations are some of those who apply for non-immigrant visas. These employees are usually sent to the US for a specified period, after which they can move on to another country. For more details regarding non-immigrant visas and the application procedure, get in touch with us. At California Immigration Attorney, we have in-depth knowledge and experience handling all kinds of immigration issues. Therefore, we might help ease the process for you and increase its chances of success.

Understanding Non-Immigrant Visas for NATO and International Organizations Personnel

As mentioned above, non-immigrant visas are available for foreign nationals who seek to enter and live temporarily in the U.S. Some of those who receive these visas are employees of NATO and designated International organizations. The non-immigrant visa allows them to work, tour, and do business for a specified period. The type of non-immigrant visa a particular person will apply for will be defined by the immigration law and related to their reason for migrating to America for these visas.

Those wishing to relocate temporarily to the US for business or tourism will apply directly to the country’s consulate or embassy abroad. However, those wishing to get a non-immigrant visa to study or work will require a particular type of authorization and support documents before sending their visa application. Note that obtaining a visa is not a guarantee that you can enter the United States. A visa only shows that the United States Consular Office in an American Consulate or Embassy has reviewed your visa application and has determined that the applicant is eligible to enter the U.S.

Government officials, diplomats, and employees working for global organizations in the U.S are among the people who need a non-immigrant visa. The type of nonimmigrant visa they can apply for is called a G visa. Employees and officials of NATO who are sent to work in the United States will require NATO non-immigrant visas. Only Heads of Government or State can apply for A visas irrespective of their reason for visiting the United States. Other diplomats and government officials are given non-immigrant visas based on their resolve of traveling to the States.

Visas for Designated International Organization Employees

International employees who wish to stay in the U.S for a specified period will apply for a G visa. The G-1 to G-4 visas are available for employees whose purpose of travel is to work, attend meetings, or visit a particular recognized international organization. Those eligible to apply for a G visa according to U.S visa laws must receive one upon application. Only a few exceptions are available to this rule. The G visas are issued out as follows:

G-1 Visas

They are diplomatic visas available to permanent members of a foreign government recognized in the U.S, whose mission is to a selected international organization. The visa is available for those members and their close family members (children and the spouse). Note that members who qualify to apply for this visa will not be issued with one if they are visiting the United States for pleasure or personal business.

To qualify to apply for G-1 visas, applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  • They must be representatives of governments that are renowned by the United States.
  • They must be members of international organizations.

Note that G-1 visa holders can only perform those responsibilities associated with the organization they are representing and those which the President has allowed under International Organizations Immunities law. The holder will be allowed to remain in the U.S provided that the Secretary of State recognizes their visa status.

G-1 visa holders are allowed to invite their close family members, comprising those related to them by blood, adoption, or marriage. Those that reside in the applicant’s household regularly can also be recognized as their immediate family. Their servants and personal attendants can only join them in the U.S after applying for a G-5 visa.

Dependents of G-1 visa holders can be allowed to work in the U.S, but after receiving work permits from USCIS. If any of them works before obtaining a permit, it will be treated as violating their visa status. If a shared work agreement exists between the United States and their country of origin, the dependents can apply for work permits immediately they arrive in the U.S.

There is no obligation for G visa holders to pay tax in the U.S as long as they are working for recognized international organizations.

G-2 diplomatic visas are available for representatives of foreign governments acknowledged by the United States, traveling for a short period to the U.S for meetings or work for a selected international organization. The visa is also available to the representatives’ immediate family and staff.

G-3 diplomatic visas are available for the representatives of nonmember or non-recognized governments by the United States and their close family.

G-4 diplomatic visas are available for anyone moving to the U.S to start working in a selected international organization like the United Nations. The visas are also available for their close family.

G-5 diplomatic visas are available for domestic workers and personal workers of G-1 – 4 visas holders. The visa is only issued if the applicant moves to the U.S to offer services to G-1 through G-4 visa owners. G-5 visas are also given to the close family, comprising the children and spouse of those who qualify for the G-5 visa. The visa allows holders to remain in the States for a maximum of three years. If there is a need to stay longer, the holder can renew their visa for additional two years.

NATO Visas

NATO employees also have different types of NATO visas that they can apply to gain entry into the U.S. These visas enable NATO staff and representatives from member nations to travel to the U.S to work, do business, or attend meetings. NATO visas are temporary non-immigrant visas, too, just like the G visas. Those traveling with NATO visas are not subjected to document requirements and immigration inspections, according to NATO. The consular office decides whether or not to admit them, and then the Secretary of State determines the length of their stay in the U.S.

Applicants of NATO visas have NATO-1 through NATO-6 visas to apply for, depending on their position in NATO. The same visa an employee gets can also be issued to their immediate family, comprising children and the spouse. Personal assistants and domestic workers working for NATO employees are eligible to apply for a NATO-7 visa. Most armed forces employees are exempted from applying for visa and passport, but only if they meet the following requirements:

  • They are involved with the treaty’s Allied Headquarters in the U.S and are traveling strictly for official business.
  • They are moving to the U.S under the Forces Agreement NATO Status.

Whenever employees like those are traveling under the exempt status, they will generally travel via naval vessel or a military aircraft. Once in America, they will be required to produce their military IDs plus NATO traveling orders. Note that these employees’ immediate family is not involved in the visa and passport exemption. If an immediate family member wishes to travel to the U.S with personnel traveling under exempt status, they must apply for a NATO-2 visa to be allowed into the U.S.

How to Apply for NATO and G Visas

The application process for NATO and G visas vary significantly from one U.S Consulate or Embassy to another. The good thing is that applications can be completed online. The following are the significant steps one must undergo to complete the application process:

Visa Interview

All visa applications for those wishing to travel abroad must start with a visa interview. To travel to the U.S, you must attend the interview at a U.S Consulate or Embassy where you apply for the visa. Generally, Consulates and Embassies do not hold interviews with those in need of NATO and G visas, but a consular office may call for one. However, personal employees and domestic workers of G and NATO visa holders must attend an interview to be issued with G-5 and NATO-7 visas, respectively.

Completing an Online Application

Applicants need to complete Form DS-160, which is the online application form for a non-immigrant visa. Once it’s finished, print the form’s confirmation page. The page should be sent together with your visa application. NATO and select international organization employees who are reapplying for their visas will not fill the DS-160f form but the DS-1648. Provide your photo in a format explained on the Photo Requirements page. The image must be uploaded once you finish completing the application form.

Prepare and Submit Necessary Documents

Applicants of NATO and G visas have specific documents they need to submit to the U.S Consulate or Embassy in their home country. They are:

  • A valid passport for traveling to States. The passport needs to be legal for a minimum of six months beyond the period you wish to remain in the U.S. If your ticket includes more than one person, each person is required to submit their application if they need a visa.
  • Photo — Applicants are required to upload a picture of themselves while filling in the online application for a non-immigrant visa. The image must be recently taken, at least within the last six months of the application. Additionally, it must satisfy the formats provided in the Photo Requirements section.
  • A diplomatic letter — Applicants need confirmation from their employer (NATO or a recognized international organization) regarding their status and the official reason they are moving to the U.S. Some of the details that could be included in the note, especially for G-4 visa applicants, are the employer’s or officer’s name, their date of birth, title and position in the organization, the organization in which they are working, the reason for their travel to the States, a description of their work, date of travel and the expected length of time in which they will be in the U.S.

Suppose the applicant will be accompanied by his/her family members of employees. In that case, the diplomatic note should also include their names, the relationship they have with the applicant, dates of birth, and any other relevant detail.

  • Immediate family members applying for a separate visa from the principal applicant will submit the visa plus form 1-94 of the principal applicant.

Visa Fees

After completing and submitting their application, visa applicants must pay visa fees to enable the document’s facilitation. However, applicants who are eligible for official visa classifications are exempted from this fee. They include G, A, C-3, and NATO visa applicants.

Holders of diplomatic passports might be exempted from payment of visa fees irrespective of their reason to travel and visa classification. But they have to meet one visa qualifying criteria. Having a diplomatic passport is not sufficient for a person to be exempted from paying a diplomatic visa fee. U.S consular offices will consider other factors that could make the applicant eligible for visa fee exemption under the country’s immigration laws.

Note that you may be exempted from paying visa fees as an official passport holder but will be expected to pay the fees plus reciprocal issuance fee (if required) when applying for a non-official visa.

Immediate/Close Family

Among those eligible for NATO and G visas are the immediate/close family members of NATO and select international organization employees. Let us look in detail who the immediate/close family members are.

G, A, and specific NATO visas allow applicants to bring their immediate family members to the U.S while vising the country for official business. Immediate family, in this case, refers to the following:

  • The spouse/partner of the principal applicant. He/she must not be a member of another household and should regularly reside in the principle’s home while in the U.S.
  • An unmarried legal child of the principal applicant. Similarly, he/she/must not be members of another household. He must regularly reside in the principal applicant’s home while in the U.S. But, the unmarried child/children must be below 21 years of age. if over 21, they must be below 23 and full-time students in a post-secondary institution
  • Immediate/close family members could also include a person who:
  • Regularly resides in the principal applicant’s home.
  • One who is known as a close member of that family by their country of origin or the international organization the principal applicant works for
  • Passport applicants eligible for non-immigrant visas under this category may include the principal applicant’s other relatives related to him/her by blood, adoption, or marriage. They could also be close relatives of the principal applicant’s spouse.

However, for NATO employees, close family members comprise of children and a spouse, and anyone else who depends on the principal applicant for support.

Personal Employees

They are the other category of people who are allowed a G or NATO visa to accompany the principal applicant to the U.S on official assignment. The U.S immigration law allows personal employees, domestic workers, attendants, and servants of diplomats who are eligible to apply for NATO and G visas to obtain a G-5 and NATO-7 visa. However, they must meet the criteria provided by law.

At the start of the visa application procedure, the applicant is expected to attend an interview with the U.S consulate or embassy in their country of origin. He/she must provide a written agreement on the date of the interview. Additionally, the principal visa applicant must provide evidence that his/her employees will be paid a minimum income and provided conducive working conditions according to the U.S law. Applicants are also expected to provide proof that they will perform their employment duties as per the contract.

From that interview, the embassy or consular office will determine whether the applicant is eligible to be given a NATO-7 or G-5 visa. Note that both of these visas must be applied from outside the U.S.

Suppose the employer does not hold a higher rank, like that of a principal or deputy principle, or he/she does not have any diplomatic status like that of a minister. In that case, he/she will be required to prove that there will be enough money to pay a minimum wage to the accompanying personal employee and provide a conducive working environment as required by law. Note that the consular office or embassy will consider the number of private workers an employer can bring along and provide reasonable pay while in the U.S.

Here are the requirements for personal employees who are applying for non-immigrant visas:

An Employment Contract

The contract must have been signed by the employer and his/her employee, and it should provide the following details:

  • The employee’s responsibilities — the agreement must provide in detail the duties of the particular applicant, and also a statement showing that the employee will only work for that specific employer during their stay in the U.S.
  • Employees’ hours of service — the agreement must also provide the amount of time per week (in hours) the employee will be working. Generally, domestic employees in America are expected to work for between 36 and 40 hours every week. There must also be a provision of at least an entire day off every week. The agreement should show the number of sick days, paid holidays, and vacation days the worker will be given.
  • The minimum pay — Employee contracts must also indicate their expected hourly wage that the employee will receive once in the U.S. The salary must be more than the minimum income required of employees by the U.S state and federal law. Details regarding how the employer will pay the employee, weekly, biweekly, or monthly, must be provided. Remember that since 2011, the law does not allow workers to be deducted for medical care, lodging, medical insurance, and travel. Since 2012, employees are not to be deducted for their meals.
  • Overtime— the agreement must also be explicit on overtime work. Any extra hours that an employee works outside the stated weekly hours must be regarded and paid as overtime. Any job done on those hours should be paid according to the U.S laws. Note that state and federal laws may differ on how overtime work should be paid. Employers should research the matter beforehand and provide the right information regarding the state they are moving to.
  • Payments— Employee contracts must indicate when and how the employee will be paid. U.S laws require employers to avail their employees’ payments at least after the first ninety days of working. Payment should be made electronically to the employee’s bank account or by check. The law also prohibits employers from having access to their employee’s bank accounts. Employees should maintain records of their work and payment to be used if a complaint arises after termination.
  • Transportation — Employee contracts must indicate how the employee will be transported to and from the U.S. Employers are expected to provide their transportation. Even so, employers must not withhold transportation documents belonging to their employees. The original copies must be with the employee.

Lastly, the agreement must end with a declaration that the employee agrees to adhere to the United States’ local, state, and federal laws.

Find a California Immigration Attorney near Me

There is so much information that NATO employees or recognized international organizations must know before migrating to the U.S, albeit temporarily. An experienced immigration attorney could help you understand the requirements and simplify the visa application process. At California Immigration Attorney, we have handled several immigration cases. Therefore, we understand the process even better. Call us at 424-789-8809 for more information and help with NATO and G visas.