G nonimmigrant visas are for employees of international organizations and representatives of foreign governments in the United States. This article explains all you need to know about the G-1 visa, including what the G-1 visa is, who qualifies for it and who doesn’t, and what the visa application process is.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Updated October 2, 2022
What Is the G-1 Visa?
The G-1 visa is a diplomatic nonimmigrant visa. The U.S. government issues G-1 visas to designated principal resident representatives of foreign governments working in international organizations in the United States. If you are a G-1 visa holder, your spouse and dependent children can also qualify for G-1 status to accompany you to the U.S.
Other G visa categories include the following:
G-2 visas are for representatives of recognized governments traveling temporarily to the United States for a meeting for their international organization.
G-3 visas are for representatives of unrecognized or nonmember governments.
G-4 visas are for other workers traveling to the United States. G-4 visa holders must have an appointment at their designated international organization.
G-5 visas are for the personal employees and domestic workers of another G visa holder.
Who Qualifies for a G-1 Visa?
To qualify for a G-1 visa, you must be a foreign government official at an international organization in the United States. You must be traveling to work in a permanent mission representative position in the United States. If you meet eligibility guidelines for G-1 official visa status, you must use it to enter the United States for your work. You’ll need to enter through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if entering for other reasons. The Department of State rarely makes exemptions for this rule.
You may review the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual, which lists the applicable international organizations. Examples of international organizations include the United Nations and World Bank.
For employees representing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States offers a separate type of visa — the NATO visa. And heads of foreign governments use an A-1 visa to travel to the United States for official business.
What Is the G-1 Visa Application Process?
To apply for a G-1 visa, locate your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Review the consulate’s or embassy’s website for more specific application instructions. All G-1 visa applicants must submit an online visa application form and include any required documentation. Generally, you won’t need to complete a visa interview with your local U.S. embassy or consulate for the G-1 visa. However, a consular officer may request an interview in some rare cases. For the G-1 visa application, you also won’t need to provide any fingerprint scans to the U.S. government.
As a G-1 visa applicant, you can find Form DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, on the Consular Electronic Application Center website. You must complete the form and print out the confirmation page once finished. You’ll also need to upload a photo of yourself that meets the Department of State’s guidelines.
If you’re a current G-1 visa holder reapplying for your visa, you should complete Form DS-1648 instead. You can find more information about visa renewal from the State Department.
What Documents Do You Need for the G-1 Visa Application?
You’ll need to prepare the following documents for submission to your embassy:
Your Form DS-160 confirmation page.
Your valid passport. Be sure that your passport remains valid for at least six months after the end of your stay in the United States.
A diplomatic note or travel orders. Your employer should provide you with official documentation of your reason for traveling to the U.S. A valid diplomatic note should include your name, date of birth, position, travel dates, estimated length of stay, and your reason for traveling. Your employer should indicate where you’ll be working and what responsibilities you’ll have. They’ll also need to provide information about any immediate family members (or dependents) you wish to take with you.
If you’re entitled to a G-1 visa, you won’t need to pay any U.S. visa fees for this application or visa issuance. Be sure to keep a copy of your visa and I-94. Your dependents will need these copies to obtain their own G-1 visas later.
If you’d like to bring any of your personal employees or attendants to the United States, review the State Department’s website for more information on the application process. These individuals will need to complete a consular interview before traveling.
The G-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means it does not present a pathway to permanent residency in the United States. You must return to your home country before your visa expires. However, sometimes nonimmigrant visa holders become eligible for U.S. green cards if they happen to meet and marry a U.S. permanent resident or citizen during their stay.