Diplomats and Foreign Government Officials

IMPORTANT NOTICES

U.S. Consulate General Sydney processes all diplomatic and official visa applications in Australia.  Applicants, please refer to the Contact Us section below for where to submit your application.

All officials traveling on behalf of their federal government require particular visas to transit or enter the United States.  Applicants for official visas generally are not required to appear in person for an interview at the U.S. Consulate, nor are there application fees.

If the application is complete and subsequently approved, the standard processing time is usually a minimum of fifteen (15) business days from receipt of all required documentation.

You are required to submit, by mail or in person (when urgent), the following documents in support of your visa application:

  • Form DS-160: Print the confirmation page of the electronic visa application.
  • Passport: Regular/Official/Diplomatic must be valid and undamaged.
  • Valid Official Visa(s) in other passport(s): A new visa will not be issued to you until we receive the passport (valid or expired) containing the valid visa(s). The visa(s) must be physically cancelled or reported as lost/stolen
  • Photograph: See our photo requirements. If there are any issues with the uploaded photograph, you will be required to provide a photo with your application.
  • Third Party Note (TPN) or Formal Request Letter/Cable by International Organization or Foreign Government Agency.
    • Australian Government Representatives: Submit a TPN, endorsed by DFAT. Refer to VisaLink.
    • International Organization Representatives: Submit a Formal Request Letter or Cable endorsed by the appropriate International Organization (e.g., UN, World Bank, IMF). UN officers and employees must submit a note authorized by the Chief of the Transportation Section, United Nations Secretariat.
    • Foreign Government Representatives: Submit a Formal Request Letter endorsed by a Foreign Government’s Embassy or Consulate (other than Australia or the U.S).
  • Self-Addressed Express Post Prepaid Satchel (Plastic Envelope) from Australia Post.
    • This MUST be provided for the return of your passport and U.S. visa.
    • Paper envelopes from Australia Post, and envelopes/satchels from courier services/companies other than Australia Post will not be accepted.
    • It is suggested that you take a photo with your phone of the tracking number on the prepaid satchel for any future inquiries and for your records.

Dependents – Please refer to our reciprocity for information on acceptable civil documentation, including instructions on how to obtain them. All documents not written in English, must be accompanied by certified translations. DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL CERTIFICATES OR DOCUMENTS. Copies will suffice.

  • Marriage CertificatePlease note that the ceremonial marriage certificate that is signed on the day of the wedding is insufficient for nonimmigrant visa purposes. Instead, please submit a copy issued by the Australian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or from the applicable Court or Registrar offices of the country where the marriage took place. The certificate must bear an original seal of that issuing office.
  • Birth Certificate for Child/Children

If you are traveling within the next seven business days, this is considered urgent travel.

To initiate the clearance process while we wait to receive your original Required Documents, scan and email the following to the office you will be submitting your application to (refer to Contact Us information below):

  • DS-160 confirmation page, you must upload the correct photo meeting our photo requirements.
  • Third Party Note (TPN) or Formal Request Letter or Cable by International Organization or Third Country Government Agency.
  • Biographic page of your passport.

Dependents:

  • Marriage Certificate
  • Birth Certificate

Once you have emailed the scanned copies of all the Required Documents, you MUST mail them via express post (for tracking purposes), including your physical passport and a self-addressed express post return envelope, to the Consulate for final processing. The visa is a physical sticker which will be placed in your passport. It is not issued electronically.

If you will be submitting a group of 20+ applications, please email the office you will be submitting these applications to. Please notify our office of the travel date and number of applications expected in that group so we may advise you as to how these applications should be prepared and submitted.

The U.S. Consulate General Sydney services all postal applications across Australia. Applications may be submitted in person Monday-Friday (excluding U.S. and Australian Public Holidays) at the U.S. Consulates General. You will only be granted access as indicated below with your Photo ID and an application for an A, G or NATO Visa.

Sydney
Urgent drop-off of an application or collection of a visa will be by appointment only. Please email address below.

U.S. Consulate General
Attn: Official Visas
Suite 2 , 50 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060

SydneyOfficials@state.gov

Melbourne
Applications may ONLY be dropped off at 2.00pm.

Postal applications must submitted to Sydney.

U.S. Consulate General
Attn: Official Visas
Level 6, 553 St Kilda Rd
Melbourne VIC 3004

MelbourneOfficials@state.gov

Perth
Applications may ONLY be dropped off between 8.00am-11.00am.

Postal applications must submitted to Sydney.

U.S. Consulate General
Attn: Official Visas
Shop 1 – Ground Floor, 16 St. George’s Terrace
Perth  WA 6000

PerthVisas@state.gov


Frequently Asked Questions

Please refer to the FAQs below. If you do not find the most suitable answer to your question, please email the appropriate Consulate by referring to the ‘Contact Us’ heading above.

Q: I have a valid official visa and am still working for the same agency. If I am traveling for a similar purpose and length of time (e.g., meetings, military exercise) as my previous trip, can I use this visa again?
A: Generally, Official visas are issued allowing ‘multiple’ entries and are valid for up to five (5) years. If you refer to your visa, under ENTRIES it will detail ‘M’ which means you can seek entry into the U.S. multiple times.

Q: I have a valid Official visa and I am still working for the same agency. However, the visa annotation does/does not include TDY.
A: While we would not discourage you from applying for a new visa to reflect your new purpose of travel you are not required to apply for a new visa. We would recommend that you travel with your new travel orders.

Q: I have received my passport and official visa but how do I read it?
A: Please refer to this example, How to Read Your Visa.

Q: My passport has expired but my visa is still valid. What do I do?
A: You can still use your U.S visa even if your passport has expired as long as your visa is not damaged, your nationality has not changed and the terms under which you obtained your original visa have not changed. You may carry both passports (expired one with the visa and your current passport) and present them both at the U.S port of entry.

Q: Why do you need my previous valid visa; I’m applying for a new visa?
A: If you currently hold an official valid visa in a previous/expired passport, you must also submit this previous/expired passport along with your new passport. If it is for the same visa class as the one you are applying for, it will be cancelled. It is not permitted to have more than one valid visa in the same visa class at the same time. If you no longer have possession of your previous/expired passport, please note this in your application materials so as not to delay your visa processing.

Q. Does this proclamation apply to me? A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This proclamation does NOT apply to you if you are a non-U.S. citizen seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following nonimmigrant visa classifications:

A-1,  A-2,  C-2,  C-3  (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO classifications); or if you fall within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement or other travel pursuant to U.S. legal obligation (as evidenced by a letter of invitation from the United Nations or other documentation showing the purpose of such travel).

 

Q: I am a dual U.S. /Australian citizen can I apply for an Australian official/ diplomatic visa?
A: U.S. citizens cannot serve as diplomatic agents in the United States.  The exception to this is if an individual is assigned to the UN, this would be different as you would be accredited to the UN and not the United States.

All U.S. citizens by law, must enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport, regardless of age or possession of foreign passports. Please contact American Citizen Services in your district for further assistance.

Q: How do I know what type of visa I need?
A: Factors to consider as to which is the most appropriate visa classification (A or G visa) to apply for are:

1) The activities that you will be performing while in the U.S.
2) And the position you currently hold or will be holding (if being posted in the U.S.) within your government.

The visa classification will ultimately be determined by the Consular Officer when they adjudicate your application.

Q: I am a Diplomat/Official travelling to the U.S for personal travel. What visa do I obtain?
A: First, complete the DS-160 application. Once completed please send the confirmation page via email to the Consulate you will be applying at, and they will provide further guidance.

Please note, if you are applying for a B visa with a diplomatic passport, under certain circumstances, you may not be required to pay an application fee. Also, if you have had a prior B2 visa issued you may not require another interview.

Q: Can I apply for a NATO visa here in Australia?
A: Yes, you may apply for a NATO visa here in Australia. Please refer to “Required Documents” listed above.

Q: I am an official traveling to the U.S. as a diplomatic courier/acting diplomatic courier. What visa do I need to apply for?
A: Official diplomatic couriers may apply for an A1 visa. Officials acting as diplomatic couriers should apply for the A2 visa. Please refer to information on the A visa.

Q: I’m traveling through the United States to conduct government business in another country.  Do I need a visa?
A: You should apply for a C3 Transit visa if your only purpose of traveling to the United States is to transit a U.S. airport enroute to official government business in a third country.  If you already possess or are applying for an A or G visa, you do not need to apply for a separate C3 visa to transit the United States.

Q: Do I need an official visa if I am traveling on behalf of the State Government?
A: No. Travel on State Government business does not require a visa if you otherwise meet the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) by obtaining a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Form, If you do not meet the requirements to travel on the VWP then you may apply for a business visa which requires an interview at the nearest U.S. Consulate. For instructions on how to apply, visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/au.

Q: Does my passport need to be valid for 6 months?
A: As a general rule, passports must be valid for six (6) months beyond the date the traveler will exit the United States, however, the United States has signed agreements with a number of countries (including Australia and New Zealand) to waive this requirement.  When such an agreement is in place, the passport must be valid for the entire period of the visitor’s intended stay, but the additional six months validity period is not required.

 Q: I am a Diplomat/Official travelling to the U.S for personal travel. Which passport should I use?
A: You may use your regular, official, or diplomatic passport. Officials planning to use their official or diplomatic passport for personal travel should ensure that this is permitted by their employing agency.

 Q: Can an official visa be issued into my regular passport?
A: Official visas can be entered into any type of passport – regular, official, or diplomatic. The visa classification will be determined by the Consulate based on a brief description of the activities to be performed in the U.S. and by the applicant’s position within his or her government

Q:What information should be included in the TPN when I submit a request with VisaLink?
A: To obtain a TPN refer to the VisaLink website. The TPN will be endorsed by DFAT.

As of October 1, 2020, to meet U.S. visa requirements, TPNs issued by foreign government entities must include either:

1) specific dates of intended travel to the United States, or 2) if travel plans are not specific or will occur over multiple trips, a statement whether any trip to the United States will exceed 90 days.

Examples of acceptable TPN’s:

  • “John Smith will be traveling to the United States of America for the purpose of participating in bilateral meetings in Washington, DC between 01 October 2020 and 12 October 2020.” 
  • “Jane Doe will be traveling to the United States of America for the purpose of participating in joint military exercises at ABC base in Nevada.  They will make multiple entries into the United States of America between 01 October 2020 and 01 February 2025.  No temporary assignment to the United States will exceed 90 days.”
  • “John Doe will be traveling to the United States of America for the purpose of participating in joint military exercises at ABC base in Nevada.  They will make multiple entries into the United States of America between 01 October 2020 and 01 February 2025.  Temporary assignment to the United States will exceed 90 days.”

Q: Can I use any photo for my application?
A: No, the photo requirements are very specific, three main points to consider when supplying a photo:
a.     It must be less than 6 months old
b.    It must be taken in front of a plain white background
c.     You must be facing the camera front on

Q: I can’t upload my photo, what do I do now?
A: You must send a photo meeting the requirements along with your application. Refer to our list of known photographers who take U.S. sized passport photographs. DIGITAL PHOTOS CANNOT BE EMAILED.

Q: Who can apply for a dependent visa?
A:  The following immediate family members of the same household may apply;

  • Spouse (legally married)- The U.S. does NOT recognize de-facto relationships.
  • Same-sex domestic partner of officials where the sending government does not legally recognize same-sex marriages. This exception does not extend to applicants applying for a G4 visa.
  • Unmarried children
    • Under the age of 21, or
    • Under the age of 23 and in full-time attendance as students at post-secondary educational institutions; and
  • Other individuals who:
    • Reside regularly in the household of the principal alien;
    • Are not members of some other household;
    • Are recognized as dependents of the principal alien by the sending government or international organization, as demonstrated by eligibility for rights and benefits, such as the issuance of a diplomatic or official passport, or travel or other allowances; and
    • Are individually authorized by the Department

Q: Do I need to provide a marriage certificate and/or birth certificate?
A: If your dependent, spouse and/or child will be submitting an application then a marriage or birth certificate will be required. Please note copies will suffice, do not send original documents.

Q: I am in a de-facto relationship, how do I accompany my partner?
A: You will need to qualify for a visa to the U.S. in your own right. If you will purely be accompanying your partner you may want to apply for the Business/Tourist (B1B2) visa. If you intend to work or study while in the U.S. you will require the appropriate visa type to allow you to do this. Please refer to the following website for further instructions on applicable fees, how to schedule an appointment and how to apply for the visa.

Q: I am applying to work as an Intern at the United Nations, what do I need to apply for a visa?
A: You will be required to apply for an Official type G-4 visa and provide the following accompanying documents.

  • A Note from the Chief of the Transportation Section, United Nations Secretariat.
  • A note from an appropriate United Nations (UN) office located at the UN headquarters, providing either:

(1) an express statement that the UN considers the applicant its employee during the internship, or
(2) an acknowledgement that the UN will exercise ultimate authority over the continuation of the intern’s assignment and the control and direction of the official duties to be performed for the duration of the intern’s assignment in the United States.

In addition to the above you must follow the standard “Required Documents” for the official visa application process.

Q: I am an official who is being posted to the U.S. My personal employee/domestic worker will be traveling with me. What visa should they apply for?
A: This depends on the class of visa that you will obtain/have obtained. Please refer to the table below for the correlating visa class for employees.

Official Employer’s Visa Personal Employee’s/ Domestic Worker’s Visa
A1 & A2 A3
G1 to G4 G5
NATO-1 to NATO 6 NATO 7

Q: What documents are required for my personal employee’s/domestic worker’s visa application?
A: In addition to the “Required Documents” as detailed above, an employment contract between the employee and employer must be submitted as part of the application. It must also be signed by both parties. For further information please refer to the above table and click on the applicable visa classification.

Q: Is my personal employee/domestic worker required to attend an interview and are there any fees?
A: Yes, they will be required to attend an in-person interview with the Consular Officer. Please contact the Consulate where the application will be submitted to schedule an appointment. Refer to ‘Contact Us’ above for details.

Please note the interview must be conducted outside the presence of the employer or recruitment agent. If the employee requires an interpreter to attend with them, the interpreter must be a neutral party.

And no, there are no application fees or other associated costs.

Q: What are my rights and protections as a personal employee or domestic worker?
A: Information is available on our website.

Q: I am currently posted in the U.S., and I need to renew my A/G/NATO visa. Can I renew it in the U.S.?A: Yes, you may under limited circumstances. Please refer to our website for instructions on how to submit an application for a renewal of a visa in the U.S.

Please note that this applies only to officials currently located in the U.S. that are renewing their visa.  Officials and diplomats traveling on behalf of their government must obtain or be in possession of the appropriate visa before entering the U.S. New visa applications cannot be submitted in the U.S. and must be obtained at an Embassy or Consulate that covers the consular district where the applicant resides.