I've been trying to find the precise text of the laws relating to G and A visas. There's apparently a law that you can't apply for any other non-immigrant visa than a G or A if you're eligible to apply for a G or A. In particular, if your spouse has a G or A visa, then you can't apply for e.g. an H-1B.

I've not found clear information of the situation where a spouse is already a nonimmigrant visa holder. Are you forced to give up your old visa in this case? I've tried to find the actual text of the law that governs this, but I can't find it. Is anyone able to point me to the exact text?

To be clear. I'm not looking for an answer to any other question than getting a pointer to the precise text.

  • G is a diplomatic visa, A is an official visa for representatives of a foreign government. Are you a primary applicant for either?
    – Karlson
    Jul 14, 2015 at 14:20
  • @Karlson A is the diplomatic category (ambassadors to the US, foreign heads of state, related staff, etc.); G is for representatives to, and employees of, international organizations.
    – phoog
    Jul 14, 2015 at 19:28
  • @phoog Ok. Still doesn't change the question.
    – Karlson
    Jul 14, 2015 at 19:31
  • @Karlson the question is about an h1b whose spouse is applying for G4, so the answer to your question is no.
    – phoog
    Jul 14, 2015 at 19:41
  • I can't even find the text that prevents derivative G4 visa holders from adjusting to H1B status. The state department information pages make this assertion, and mention "extremely limited" exceptions exist, but there's no reference. This circumstance may be such an exception. There are plenty of immigration lawyers online saying that someone in H1B status can retain that status after becoming the spouse of someone in G4 status, and I saw one World Bank employee asserting that multiple colleagues had received green cards while in G4 status, through their H1B spouses' applications.
    – phoog
    Jul 14, 2015 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


8 CFR 214.2 specifies who is eligible to receive each type of US visa. 214.2(a) specifies A visa requirements, and 214.2(g) specifies G visa requirements.

8 CFR 274a.12 specifies which visa holders can accept employment and under which circumstances. 274a.12(c) specifies when dependents of A and G visa holders can obtain employment, specifically, they must obtain a favorable endorsement from the Department of State and then be approved by USCIS. 274a.12(c)(1) covers A visa holders, and 274a.12(c)(4) covers G visa holders.

22 CFR 41.24(b)(3) specifies that foreign government officials entering the U.S. on official business who qualify for A status must be given A status, and (b)(4) specifies that those entering the U.S. who qualify for G status must be given G status, even if they qualify for another nonimmigrant status.

For people already holding a valid US visa, you change status to an A or G visa by filing form I-566, and can apply for employment authorization on that form.

  • Someone seems to have deleted all the comments. I hate that. Anyway, while this now does answer the question, it still leaves unanswered the implied question about exceptions to the rule. The wording of the CFR certainly leaves open the possibility that one exception may be that someone who is already in a non-immigrant status other than A or G may be able to keep that status after becoming eligible for derivative G status.
    – phoog
    Jul 16, 2015 at 16:55
  • @phoog I think what he really needs is a lawyer. Jul 16, 2015 at 16:55
  • That's probably true, but I would start by asking at US CIS.
    – phoog
    Jul 16, 2015 at 17:17

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