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 within to 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.
- 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 by International Organization or Third Country Government Agency Australian Government Representatives: Submit TPN, endorsed by DFAT. Refer to VisaLink.
International Organization Representatives: Submit Formal Request Letter endorsed by International Agency (eg. UN, World Bank, IMF).
Third Country Government Representatives: Submit Formal Request Letter endorsed by Third Country 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. DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL CERTIFICATES. Copies will suffice.
- Marriage Certificate: Please 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 required documents, either by mail or please refer to the Contact Us details below for in person drop-off at our office. You are required to scan and email the following documents:
- DS-160 confirmation page, you must upload a photo;
- Third Party Note (TPN) or Formal Request Letter by International Organization or Third Country Government Agency
- Biographic page of your passport.
- Marriage Certificate
- Birth Certificate
Please email the office you will be submitting your application to, you may refer to our Contact Us information below.
Group Travel 20+ applicants
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 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. Please contact American Citizen Services in your district for further assistance
Q: How do I know what type of visa I need?
A: The visa classification(s) will be determined by the Consular Officer and is based on your activities to be performed in the U.S. and position within your government indicated on the TPN or Formal Request Letter.
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 en route 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: 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, then email the Consulate you will be applying at to schedule an interview and for further guidance.
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: 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 and;
- 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: 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 month validity period is not required.
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: 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:
- “Mr/Ms X 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.”
- “Mr/Ms X will be traveling to the United States of America for the purpose of participating in joint military exercises at ABC base in Nevada. S/he 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.”
- “Mr/Ms X will be traveling to the United States of America for the purpose of participating in joint military exercises at ABC base in Nevada. S/he 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: 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: 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 sons and daughters
- 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: 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.
Applications may be submitted in person Monday-Friday (excluding U.S. and Australian Public Holidays). You will only be granted access at this time with your Photo ID and an application for an A, G or NATO Visa.
VIC, TAS, SA, NT applicants
The U.S. Consulate General, Melbourne services applicants from VIC, TAS, SA, and NT.
Applications may ONLY be dropped off at 2.00pm.
U.S. Consulate General
Attn: Official Visas
Level 6, 553 St Kilda Rd
Melbourne VIC 3004
The U.S. Consulate General, Perth services applicants from WA.
Applications may ONLY be dropped off between 8.00am-11.00am.
U.S. Consulate General
Attn: Official Visas
4th Floor, 16 St. George’s Terrace
Perth WA 6000
ACT / NSW / QLD applicants
The U.S. Consulate General, Sydney services applicants from ACT, NSW and QLD.
Applications may ONLY be dropped off between 2.00pm – 2.30pm. Please ensure you review our security regulations.
U.S. Consulate General
Attn: Official Visas
Level 10, MLC Centre, 19-29 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000