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Visas for home service personnel (B1, A3, G5)

Overview

Personal or domestic servants who are accompanying or following an employer to the United States may be eligible for B-1 visas. This category of domestic employees includes, but is not limited to, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, valets, footmen, nannies, au pairs, mothers' helpers, gardeners, and paid companions.

Those accompanying or following to join an employer who is a foreign diplomat or government official may be eligible for an A-3 or G-5 visa, depending upon their employer's visa status.

Qualifications

If you are a domestic employee and wish to apply for a B-1 visa, you must demonstrate that:

Accompanying a Nonimmigrant Visa Holder

If you are a domestic employee and wish to accompany or join an employer who is not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and who seeks admission to, or who is already in, the United States under a B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, or R nonimmigrant visa then you may be eligible for a B-1 visa classification, provided:

Accompanying an American Citizen

a. Personal or domestic employees who are accompanying or following to join U.S. citizen employers temporarily assigned to the United States may be eligible for a B-1 visa classification provided that:

(1) The employee has a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of abandoning;

(2) The alien has been employed abroad by the employer as a personal or domestic servant for at least six months prior to the date of the employer’s admission to the United States OR the employer can show that while abroad the employer has regularly employed a domestic servant in the same capacity as that intended for the applicant;

(3) The employee can demonstrate at least one year experience as a personal or domestic servant by producing statements from previous employers attesting to such experience; and

(4) The employee is in possession of an original contract or a copy of the contract, to be presented at the port of entry, which contains the original signatures of both the employer and the employee.

b. The U.S. citizen employer is subject to frequent international transfers lasting two years or more as a condition of the job as confirmed by the employer’s personnel office and is returning to the United States for a stay of no more than six years. The employer will be the only provider of employment to the domestic employee, and will provide the employee free room and board and a round trip airfare as indicated under the terms of the employment contract; and

c. The required employment contract has been signed and dated by the employer and employee and contains a guarantee from the employer that, in addition to the provisions listed in item (b) above, the employee will receive the minimum or prevailing wages whichever is greater for an eight hour work-day. The employment contract must also reflect any other benefits normally required for U.S. domestic workers in the area of employment. The employer will give at least two weeks’ notice of his or her intent to terminate the employment, and the employee need not give more than two weeks’ notice of intent to leave the employment.

Accompanying a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident

U.S. Legal Permanent Residents (Green card holders) are not permitted to bring their domestic workers to the United States on a B-1 visa under any circumstances.

Contract Requirements for B-1 Visa Holders

As a domestic employee applying for a B-1 visa, you must present an employment contract, signed by both you and your employer, which includes:

Accompanying an A-1, A-2, or G-1 - G-4 Visa Holder (A-3 or G-5 Visas)

If you are the attendant, servant, or personal employee of someone classified A-1 or A-2 or G-1 through G-4 then you are entitled to the appropriate A-3 or G-5 classification. You must demonstrate entitlement to an A-3 or G-5 classification (e.g., letter of reference from a former employer, evidence of previous employment in that sector, etc.). Consular officers must establish the official status of the employer and the intent of both parties to enter into (or remain in) an employer-employee relationship. In addition, domestic helpers of diplomats (A3) and international organization employees (G5) must first be registered with the Department of State's Office of Foreign Mission Management Information System (TOMIS) before applying for a visa. For details about TOMIS registration please contact the U.S. Department of State's Office of Foreign Missions.

A-3 and G-5 visa applicants must be interviewed by a consular officer. They must follow the normal application procedures for the general public, including scheduling an interview.

The consular officer must be satisfied that the wage to be received by the A-3 or G-5 applicant is a fair wage comparable to that offered in the area of employment and sufficient to overcome public charge concerns. Applications for such visas must include an employment contract signed by the employer and the employee.

Contract Requirements for A-3/G-5 Visa Holders

As a domestic employee applying for an A-3 or G-5 visa, you must present an employment contract, signed by both you and your employer, which includes:

Application Items

To apply for a B-1, A-3 or G-5 visa, you must submit the following:

In addition to these items, B-1 applicants must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.

How to Apply

Step 1
Contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate directly if you are applying for an A-3 or G-5 visa. If you are applying for a B-1 visa, pay the visa application fee and follow steps 2 through 4.

Step 2
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 3
Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

Step 4
Visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, your current passport and all old passports. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents are only one of many factors a consular officer will consider in your interview. Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality is a concern, you should bring your documents to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in a sealed envelope. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate will not make your information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.

You should bring the following documents to your interview. Original documents are always preferred over photocopies and you must bring these documents with you to the interview. Do not fax, email or mail any supporting documents to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers in the United States

Learn and know about your rights and protections as a temporary worker in the United States.
Read more here.

More Information

For more information about A-3, B-1, and G-5 visas, visit the Department of State's website.

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