Diplomatic Visas

Visa type (diplomatic, official and regular) is distinct from visa classification (A, B, C, D, E, etc.). An otherwise eligible applicant would qualify for a diplomatic type visa if within one of the categories listed in 22 CFR 41.26(c), regardless of the visa classification.

Designating a visa as a “diplomatic” type visa does not accord diplomatic privileges and immunities to the visa holder. Rather, the Vienna Convention and other instruments of international law determine whether an alien benefits from diplomatic privileges and immunities. At the port of entry (POE), the holder of a diplomatic visa may receive expeditious examination but otherwise must qualify for admission like other nonimmigrants.

Thus, possession of a diplomatic passport or the equivalent, is not by itself sufficient to qualify for a diplomatic-type visa under 22 CFR 41.26(c)(1). However, a diplomatic passport or the equivalent is required in order to issue a diplomatic-type visa under 22 CFR 41.26(c)(1).

In accordance with 22 CFR 41.107(c)(1), all qualifying applicants for diplomatic-type visas are exempt from both the application (MRV) and issuance (reciprocity) fees, regardless of visa classification.  This includes applications submitted for either official or non-official travel.

Overseas, common positions which may qualify for diplomatic visas include:

  • Ambassadors, public ministers, other officers of the diplomatic service, and consular officers of career;
  • Military officers holding a rank not inferior to that of a brigadier general in the United States Army or Air Force and Naval officers holding a rank not inferior to that of a rear admiral in the United States Navy;
  • Military, naval, air and other attaché, and assistant attaché assigned to a foreign diplomatic mission;
  • Officers of foreign-government delegations to international organizations so designated by Executive Order.