Have you never imagined how ambassadors, heads of state and other government officials move to the United States from their own country and what kind of visa permits them to move to the United States?
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Well, look no further because the article will bring to your understanding the importance of the A1 visa and what it entails to be a government official of another country.
What is the A-1 Visa?
The A-1 visa is a type of visa that only a government worker can obtain. This includes some of the following government positions:
- Head of State such as the President
- A consular officer that is going to serve in their country’s consulate or embassy within the U.S
- Ministers or cabinet members of a foreign country going to the U.S for government purposes
- European Union (EU) or African Union (AU) representatives of government
This also includes the immediate family members of this group like their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
The K-1 visa is the only non-immigrant us visa that allows high government officials to move into the United States for the purpose related to the development of the diplomatic relationship between the US and a foreign country. as a result, these local government officials and not eligible for this type of visa.
The K-1 visa permits its holder to partake in various activities within the United States. the most prominent privilege that a-1 visa have are as follow:
- They can travel in and out of the United States for unlimited time as long as their visa is still valid.
- You cannot be tried at any court in the US government regardless of the crime
Their visas are processed faster than any other non-immigrant visa, but depending on your plans within the country your A1 visa might be revoked. some of the instances are as follows:
- If you plan to overthrow the U.S government through unlawful means or terrorism
- If you plan to commit crimes, engage in espionage, or export good or sensitive information which is prohibited in the U.S
- If the Secretary of State determines that there are negative foreign policy consequences when you enter the U.S
To add to this the M-1 visa holder and not allowed to begin employment in the US. They are in the country for just government purposes so the US government will not permit them to work.
Furthermore, the A-1 visa holder is not permitted to enrol in a study or academic program since it does not give them time to be focused on their primary purpose of visit.
What are the requirements of the A-1 visa?
In order for you to qualify for the A1 visa, there are some basic requirements that the government official is to meet. If they are not in the eligible government position then they should look for any other type of visa that can help them achieve their goal to visit the US. the following are examples of people that are eligible for the A-1 visa.
- High-level officials like the head of state or ministers, also judicial officers and legislative leaders
- Ambassadors or consular officers that visit the U.S for diplomatic purposes
- All representatives of foreign states which have diplomatic relations with the U.S
Representatives of countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the U.S may be allowed to get the A-1 visa if it is seen that the visit to the U.S is in the interest of the country.
Apart from meeting the requirements for the position within the government, every applicant must also show their couples for visits. The purpose should qualify as being government-related but the applicant is not eligible to apply for the A-1 visa.
How to apply for the A-1 visa?
The application process for the A-1 visa it’s quite direct and doesn’t have so much procedure, unlike other non-immigrant visas. but the application cannot be started unless the person applying has a diplomatic passport.
So if you are been appointed into a government position newly which qualifies you for the a-1 visa you should get a diplomatic passport before applying.
If you are within the US for another visa you can send your A1 visa application to the US citizenship and immigration service but if you are outside the US you should go through a US Embassy or consulate that resides in your country of residence.
When you are done getting your diplomatic passport the application for the a-1 visa procedure is as follows:
Fill out Form DS-160
Form DS-160 is an online application form that is used for non-immigrant visas full-stop although it depends on the type of visa you are applying for it will have the appropriate field that is required.
It takes your personal information as well as information regarding your purpose of visiting the full stop at the end of your application when you submit you will get a visa confirmation code of which you have to save because you will need it in the application process.
Submit the necessary A-1 visa documentation
Additional with your Form DS-160, you will have to submit a folder with documents to the US Embassy or USCIS which depends on where you are applying from. the document that is necessary for your A1 visa application is as follows
- A valid diplomatic passport
- The passport should have a validity period of more than 6 months after your intended departure from the U.S.
- Your Form DS-160 confirmation page that you get when you complete the form.
- One photograph meeting the US visa Photo Requirements
- Diplomatic note written from your country’s government. The note shows include:
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- Position within the government
- Purpose of travel
- Description of your duties and job position
- Intended travel period
- Names, dates of birth, and relationship with your dependents, if they intend to travel with you.
- Names, dates of birth, and job positions of attendants or servants, if you need them to travel with you.
Documents applicants of the a-1 visa are not going to go through any other process. visa interview which is normally done for other US visas and not required for the E-1 visa. But the US Embassy is permitted to require an interview if they have a reason for it outside the Form DS-160 and supporting form.
How long is the processing time for the A-1 visa?
When you have submitted your A1 visa application the time for processing is very short. there are cases where the visa response is immediately given on the same day you submit your application.
The US Embassy will stamp your passport and then you can begin to make plans for your travel to the US if you’re applying from another country.
What is the validity of the A-1 visa?
When you get your A-1 visa the US Embassy gives you a period of validity for your intending travel dates or for an indefinite time. Therefore, if you are travelling between September 1st and October 1st the embassy might choose to have your visa prepared for only that one month.
However, if given the visa for an indefinite period of time you will be allowed to stay in the United States for as long as the US government recognise your position in the government as qualifying for an A1 visa.
In a situation where you reside, you are not expected to go back to your home country of residence. The department of state used some time to ensure their records are updated and when they see your resignation you are required to return back home.
When your validity comes to an end you can request an extension by submitting it to the department of state. you can also have a letter from your government stating the reason why you need an extension of stay.
lastly, you can ask for a change of status why you are in the U.S. for you to be able to do this you are to submit Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request – A, G or NATO Dependent Employment Authorization or Change/Adjustment to/ from A, G or NATO Status.
This form should be submitted to the department of state and if you’re old dependent her also applying for a change of Status you should include them in the form also.
Can I get a Green Card with an A-1 visa?
Having a green card with an A-1 visa is a little difficult but not impossible. for you to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States this visa holder has to give up their diplomatic status.
This implies that they are no longer going to have the privileges that they had with the A-1 visa. In order for you to do this, you should file Form I-508 – Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities.
After that the A-1 visa holder can then apply to get a green card through marriage investment or if they can show that they cannot return to their home country safely.
Can my dependents accompany me with an A-1 visa?
As earlier said F-1 visa holder can have their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old come to the United States. They can also bring their immediate family or close related if they choose to. The defendant is permitted to work after getting an employment authorisation document.
As a government official, you can get your A1 visa quickly and the procedure for it is not as rigorous as any other type of visa therefore moving to the United States for government purposes is very possible.