Students, Diplomats & Other Visitors

A Visas: Foreign Government Officials

Foreign government officials or employees of foreign government officials are classified as non-immigrants in the A category, which has subcategories for different types of employees and officials.

  • A-1: officers of permanent diplomatic missions or consular posts in the United States and visiting high-level officials of a foreign state
  • A-2: other accredited officials and employees of a foreign government, including consular employees
  • A-3: personal employees of foreign nationals in the A-1 and A-2 categories

Family members of an A-1, A-2, or A-3 foreign national are included in the same A subcategory as the principal foreign national.

A-1 and A-2 visa holders are admitted to the United States for an indefinite period of stay, dependent on their continued recognition by the State Department as qualified A non-immigrants. A-3 visa holders are admitted to the United States for a period of no more than three years, and can receive extensions of stay in two-year increments.

B Visas: Temporary Visitors for Business or Pleasure

Foreign visitors for business and pleasure are classified as non-immigrants in the B category. The applicant must:

  • Be coming to the United States temporarily;
  • Have a foreign residence that he or she has no intention of abandoning;
  • NOT work or act as a representative of the foreign media; and
  • NOT come to the United States to study, although some study incident to a legitimate visit to the United States is permissible.

The B category is comprised of two subcategories: B-1 business visitors and B-2 visitors for pleasure. B-1 business visitors may engage in commercial transactions but may not receive a salary or fee from a U.S. source. B-2 visitors may travel to the United States as tourists, to visit friends and relatives, for medical treatment, to take part in conferences or conventions, or as amateur athletes, musicians, or artists who will receive no compensation.

F Visas: Students

Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States to engage in a full course of academic study may be admitted in the F-1 category. Students may also enter the United States to study with a J visa if the educational institution has an exchange visitor program approved by the U.S. Information Agency. Vocational students must enter the United States in the M non-immigrant category.

In order to qualify for F student status, the applicant must:

  • Be enrolled in a full-course of study at an educational institution approved by the Attorney General for attendance by foreign students;
  • Be proficient in English or enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
  • Have sufficient funds available to cover study and living expenses; and
  • Maintain a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of abandoning.

The first step in applying for an F-1 visa is to secure admission to a qualifying school and to receive from the school Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility. Students in F-1 status are eligible for employment only in limited circumstances, which should be explored either with an international student advisor at the educational institution or with an immigration attorney. Accompanying family members are accorded F-2 status and are ineligible for employment in the United States.

G Visas: International Organization Representatives and Employees

The G category is available to representatives and employees of international organizations covered by the International Organizations Immunity Act, as well as the attendants and household help of the representatives and employees.

The purpose of your intended travel to the U.S. must be pursuant to official duties.

  • G-1: permanent mission members of a recognized government to a designated international organization
  • G-2: representatives of a recognized government traveling to the U.S. temporarily to attend meetings of a designated international organization
  • G-3: representatives of non-recognized or non-member governments
  • G-4: officers and employees of recognized international organizations, including the United Nations

The Law Offices of Sheila Starkey Hahn, PC welcomes you to contact us for information about how we can assist you with a U.S. visa.