Diplomatic & Official Visas

With the exception of a Head of State or Government who qualifies for an A-1 visa regardless of the purpose of the visit to the United States, the type of visa required by a diplomat or other government official depends upon the reason for entering the United States.

Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature or traveling as tourists require the appropriate H, L or B visa, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program; they do not qualify for diplomatic or official visas.

Spouses, Partners and Children: Immediate family includes only those unmarried sons and daughters, whether by blood or adoption, who reside regularly in the household of the principal alien and who are not members of some other household, provided that such unmarried sons and daughters are:  (A) Under the age of 21, or (B) Under the age of 23 and in full-time attendance as students at post-secondary educational institutions. Individuals who do not qualify as immediate family members may be eligible to apply for B-1/B-2 visas. B-1/B-2 visa applicants are required to pay the MRV application fee, and reciprocal issuance fees, if applicable.

Note: A,G and NATO visa applicants are exempt from paying visa application fee for official visas only.

To qualify for an A-1 or A-2 visa,you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government. The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not, in itself, the defining factor in determining whether or not an applicant qualifies for an A visa; the particular duties or services to be performed must also be of an inherently governmental character or nature.  . Foreign officials who intend traveling to the United States on official business must obtain an “A” visa prior to their entry. They cannot travel on tourist visas, or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

Note:  Qualified A visa applicants traveling to the United States for assignments of less than 90 days will be issued visas annotated “TDY” (temporary duty).

Local government officials representing their state, province, borough, or other local political entity do not qualify for “A” visa status; they require B-1 or B-2 visas.

To qualify for a G visa you must be entering the United States in pursuance of official duties. Members of a permanent mission of a recognized government to an international organization are eligible for G-1 visas; representatives of a recognized government traveling to the United States temporarily to attend meetings of a designated international organization are eligible for G-2 visa and representatives of non-recognized or non-member governments are eligible for G-3 visas; G-4 visas are issued to individual personnel who are proceeding to the United States to take up an appointment at a designated international organization, including the United Nations.

You will qualify for a NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5 or NATO-6 visa if you are seeking admission to the United States under the applicable provision of the Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, National Representatives and International Staff, or are a member of the immediate family of an alien classified NATO-1 through NATO-6.

Personal or domestic servants who are accompanying or following to join an employer who is the holder of an A, G or NATO visa are eligible for A-3, G-5 or NATO-7 visas.  This category of persons includes, but is not limited to, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, parlor maids, valets, footmen, nannies, au pairs, mothers’ helpers, gardeners, and paid companions.

Applying in Ankara: If you plan to travel to the United States on official government business,please complete the application form DS-160, print the confirmation page and you or a courier may bring your application package directly to the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Ankara from Monday through Friday (excluding Turkish and American holidays) between 11:00-11:30 and 15:00-15:30. The applicant or anyone who has the tracking number ticket given when submitting the documents, may pick up the passport(s) three business days later at 16:00.

Reminder: If you are a Turkish Diplomat or a foreign diplomat assigned to a Diplomatic Mission in Turkey and would like to travel to the United States as a tourist with your diplomatic passport, please complete the application form DS-160, print the confirmation page and submit an appointment request by sending an e-mail to AnkaraDiplomaticVisa@state.gov along with your barcode number.

Applying in Istanbul: Please complete the electronic visa application form DS-160. Diplomatic note and official invitation letters should be emailed directly by the sponsor government or organization to Ist-DiplomaticVisas@state.gov. Upon completing the steps above, you may send an email to Ist-DiplomaticVisas@state.gov to schedule an internal appointment. You or a designated person may bring your application package directly to the consulate on your scheduled appointment date. Emails are responded within two business days. Please be informed that we cannot accept applications sent by mail.

Reminder:  Diplomatic or official visa applications cannot be processed on the same day.  Some applicants also may need additional administrative processing which takes 2-3 weeks.  We recommend that you apply for a visa well in advance of your proposed travel date.  You should not make final travel plans or purchase non refundable tickets until your visa is issued and you have received your passport.

Your visa application package must include the following documents:

1. An Invitation Letter:

  • For A1 and A2 visas, a Note Verbal.
  • For NATO visas, a Note Verbal.
  • For G visas, an official invitation letter from the World Bank, IMF or UN.

The Note Verbal should list the name, date of birth and passport number of the official travelers and specify their title or official status.  It should also specify the date of departure from Turkey, and the purpose of the trip, place of stay and length of stay in the United States.

2. An undamaged passport with at least 6 months validity (Please note that if your passport is torn or damaged, we recommend that you obtain a new biometric passport before applying for your visa);

3. A photograph that meets State Department specifications;

4. The printed confirmation page of your electronic visa application form DS-160. 

Please note that neither diplomatic nor official visa applications can be processed on the same day as submitted. Visa processing takes two business days under normal circumstances.  Some applicants may need additional administrative processing which can take longer.  We recommend that travelers apply for a visa well in advance of their proposed travel date. Travelers should not make final travel plans or purchase non-refundable tickets until their visas are issued and they have received their passports.

Domestic Employees of A, G or NATO Visa Holders

Personal or domestic servants who are accompanying or following to join an employer who is the holder of an A, G or NATO visa are eligible for A-3, G-5 or NATO-7 visas.  This category of persons includes, but is not limited to, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, parlormaids, valets, footmen, nannies, au pairs, mothers’ helpers, gardeners, and paid companions.

 A-3, G-5 and NATO 7 visa applicants are required to provide the following supporting documents: 

  • A copy of the employer’s diplomatic visa;
  • A contract in both English and (if the applicant does not understand English) a language understood by the applicant that has been signed by both employer and employee.
  • A-3 and NATO-7 visa applicants must provide a Note Verbal listing the name of the employee,  and the employer’s official title or status.  It should also specify the date of departure from Turkey, and the purpose of the trip and length of stay in the United States;
  • G-5 visa applicants must provide the original official request from the international organization, if it has not been sent directly to the Embassy.

The contract must contain the following provisions:

  • Description of duties (e.g., Housekeeping, gardening, child care);
  • Hours of work – Time of the normal working hours and the number of hours per week; a guarantee that the employee will be compensated at an hourly wage which must be greater of the minimum wage under U.S. federal, state or local law;
  • Overtime Work: The contract must state that any hours worked in excess of the normal working hours are considered overtime hours and must be paid as required by U.S. local laws;
  • Payment: The contract must state that after the first 90 days of employment, all wage payments must be made by check or by electronic transfer to the employee’s bank account in the U.S.
  • Transportation: Employee will be provided with transportation to and from the United States.
  • Other Required Terms of Employment:  The employer agrees not to withhold a copy of the contract and other personal property including  passport of the employee for any reason.  The employee will not accept any other employment while working for the employer. The employee is not required to reside in the same household of the employee except working hours.