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. 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-1 or B-2 visas, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program; they do not qualify for diplomatic visas.
Important note: 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.
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.