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If you’re trying to enter the United States under diplomatic business, you may be able to get a G-4 visa, which is the quickest visa to obtain, but your business must be temporary. You can’t use it for personal business either - it’s strictly for your job as an officer.
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What Is the G-4 Visa?
A G-4 Visa is for government officials or employees of international organizations who need temporary entry into the United States. This is a non-immigrant visa and can be granted to the employee/officer and his/her family members or staff.
A G-4 visa is specifically for the job at hand. You shouldn’t use a G-4 visa to conduct personal use.
Who Needs a G-4 Visa?
The primary applicant for a G-4 visa must be a diplomat or officer of the government. Anyone who the Secretary of State recognizes as an official employee or officer is eligible.
In addition to the government official, you can include your family on the visa. This includes your spouse and unmarried children. Children must be under the age of 21 if they aren’t full-time college students. If your unmarried children are in college, they can come over on your visa until age 23. Also eligible are children with special needs under the age of 26.
If you have parents or other relatives you must bring with you, the USCIS may grant an exception, but it’s on a case-by-case basis.
If you have staff members that are crucial to the position, they can come too.
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How to Get a G-4 Visa
To apply for a G-4 visa, you’ll first need specific documentation but the documentation is rather simple.
First, you need a non-immigrant visa application and the application for a G-4 visa. To prove you’re a diplomat, you must provide a diplomatic note. Like all immigration documents, you’ll also need your passport and a recent photograph.
To get a G-4 visa, you’ll need to make an appointment with the US consulate in your area. Make sure the consulate issues G-4 visas. Before you go to your appointment, contact the international body that recognizes you as a government official and ask them to request for your G-4 visa to the consulate. This will move things along faster.
When you apply for your visa, you’ll need the letter from the international body recognizing you as a diplomat and your appointment letter. The process is simple - you don’t have to undergo an interview, just bring the right paperwork.
What’s the Processing Time?
Unlike most other immigrant documentation, a G-4 visa can be obtained quickly. Most people get it within a few weeks. The US Embassy will inform you of the decision and if you were denied, they’ll provide you with reasons why. If approved, you’ll have the necessary documentation within a few days.
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What’s the Cost?
Unlike most visas, anyone eligible for a G-4 visa is exempt from paying the standard visa fees. If you hold a diplomatic passport, you may not have to pay any visa fees whether you’re applying for a G-4 visa or any other type. The decision is on a case-by-case basis and determined by the consular officer in charge of your case.
Applying for a Green Card With a G-4 Visa
Typically only the primary G-4 visa holder can apply for a green card, but even primary visa holders must meet certain requirements.
If you’ve been in the United States for at least 3 ½ years of the last 7 years; you lived in the United States for at least 15 years before you retired, and you are retired from an international organization as an officer, you may be eligible for a green card. Before you retire, you must file Form I-360 (at least 6 months before retirement).
You may also be eligible if you are the child of a retired international organization officer. You must be unmarried and your parents (the retired officer) must have lived in the United States for 3 ½ of the last 7 years and you personally must have been in the United States for 7 years from the age of 5 to 21.
The Bottom Line
The G-4 visa is the quickest way to gain entry into the United States, but it’s reserved for officers of international governments. If you’re eligible for the G-4 visa, you may also be able to bring your family, but the visa is for temporary use and not personal use.