Domestic Employee Visa

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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, 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:

  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for work as a domestic employee
  • You plan to remain in the United States for a specific, limited period of time
  • Your employer meets certain qualifications
  • You have evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad
  • You have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure you return abroad at the end of your contract.

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:

  • You have at least one year's experience as a personal or domestic employee as attested to by statements from previous employers
  • You have been employed outside the United States by your employer for at least one year prior to the date of your employer's admission to the United States, or
    • Your employer-employee relationship existed immediately prior to the time of your employer's application, and your employer can demonstrate that he or she regularly employed (either year-round or seasonally) domestic help over a period of years preceding the time their application
    • 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.

Accompanying a U.S. Citizen

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

  1. The U.S. citizen employer has a permanent home or is stationed in a foreign country, or;
  2. U.S. citizen employer must be 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.

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:

  • A description of your duties in the United States
  • The number of hours you will work each week
  • The number of authorized holidays, vacation and sick days per year
  • The regular day(s) off each week
  • The rate of pay, which must be at least the prevailing or minimum wage per hour under Federal law (whichever is greater) in the State where you will be employed for all hours of duty. Current minimum wages throughout the United States are found here and currently prevailing wages can be found here. A certification that the employer will provide the employee free room and board
  • A certification that your employer will ensure that you do not become a public charge while working for your employer
  • A certification that you will not accept any other employment while working for your employer
  • A certification that your employer will not withhold your passport
  • A certification that both parties understand that you cannot be required to remain on the premises after working hours without compensation
  • A certification that your employer will pay your initial travel expenses to the United States and subsequently to your employer's onward assignment, or to your country of normal residence at termination.

If you are a domestic employee traveling with a U.S. Citizen, your contract must also certify that the employer will give at least two weeks’ notice of her or her intent to terminate the employment, and the employee need not give more than two weeks’ notice of his or her intent to leave the employment.

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 of 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 with one exception: A-3 and G-5 visa applicants do not pay the visa application fee.

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:

  • A description of the work to be performed
  • A statement that the domestic employee shall work only for the employer who signed the contract and will not accept any other employment while working for the employer.
  • The number of hours you will work each week
  • The number of authorized holidays, vacation and sick days per year
  • The regular day(s) off each week. A guarantee that you will be compensated at the state or federal minimum or prevailing wage, whichever is greater. Current minimum wages throughout the United States are found here and currently prevailing wages can be found here.
  • A guarantee that wages will be paid to the domestic employee either weekly or biweekly and also state what deductions are to be taken from the wages. No deductions are allowed for meals, lodging, medical care, medical insurance, or travel.
  • The contract must state that any hours worked in excess of the normal number of hours worked per week are considered overtime hours, and that hours in which the employee is “on call” count as work hours. It also must state that such work must be paid as required by U.S. local laws.
    • Under Federal law, the rate of overtime pay need not exceed the regular hourly rate if the employee resides in the home of the employer, but State law governing overtime rates also applies and must be checked. If the employee does not reside with the employer, overtime for hours in excess of 40 hours per week must be paid at the rate of time and a half.
  • For employees accompanying an employer on a non-temporary duty assignment (90 days or more), a statement that after the first 90 days of employment, all wage payments must be made by check or by electronic transfer to your bank account. Neither the employer nor their family members should have access to your bank accounts.
  • A promise by you not to accept any other employment while working for your employer.
  • A guarantee that the domestic employee will be provided with transportation to and from the United States.
  • Certification that the employer agrees to abide by all Federal, State, and local laws in the United States.
  • A statement that the domestic worker’s passport and visa will remain in their sole possession. In addition, the contract must state that a copy of the contract and other personal property of the domestic employee will not be withheld by the employer for any reason. The contract is essential to the process in that it provides you with a framework within which you may personally seek certain employment or human rights protections. Your employer must pay your initial travel expenses to the United States and subsequently to your employer's onward assignment, or to your country of normal residence at the termination of the assignment.

Application Items

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

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about the DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • For B-1 applicants only: A receipt showing payment of your US$160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee paid in local currency. This web page has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • A copy of your employer's visa or other method they will use to enter the United States (their Visa Waiver country passport or U.S. passport)
  • An employment contract, signed by both you and your employer, which meets all requirements listed above
  • For A-3 and G-5 applicants only: A Note Verbale confirming the employment status of the principal, the date of departure, the purpose of the trip and the length of stay in the United States. The Note Verbale should list the name of the employee and give the employer's title or official status. It should also specify the date of departure, and the purpose of the trip and length of stay in the United States. A-3 and G-5 applicants are not required to pay application fees.

In addition to these items, you 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

Determine your visa type by reading Common Nonimmigrant Visas. Each visa type explains the qualifications and application items. Choose the visa type that applies to your situation.

Be sure to also review the Visa Waiver Program. If your country participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you do not need to apply for a visa if you are traveling for business or pleasure and will only be staying in the Unites States for 90 days or less.

Step 2

The next step is to complete the DS-160 Form. Be sure to read the Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form carefully. All information must be correct and accurate. Once the form is submitted, you cannot make any changes. If you need assistance, please consult an immigration lawyer or translator. The call center cannot help you complete your DS-160. You will need your DS-160 number in step 5 to book your appointment.

Step 3

Visit www.ustraveldocs.com/do to create a profile with your biographical data and information relevant to the visa class for which you are applying. As you go through the process you will be able to select your visa type, enter personal data, add dependents, and select your document delivery location. After completing your profile, you will be directed to a confirmation page that lists the visa fee amount due. If you are applying with family members, you will be able to group your profiles and see the total amount due for the family. Please print the confirmation page and take it to Banco Popular in order to pay the application fee.

Step 4

Now that you have completed the DS-160 and your online profile, you must pay the application fee. The visa fee page lists the visa types and correlating fee in U.S. dollars and local currency. Payments can only be made in local currency (Dominican pesos) at the current rate of exchange. You can pay the fee at any Banco Popular Dominicano location. More information about payment options is here. To find a Banco Popular Dominicano branch, click here.

Step 5

After paying the application fee at the bank, return to www.ustraveldocs.com/do and sign in to your profile. Navigate to Schedule Appointment and answer the questions regarding your previous visa, if any. It is important to answer the questions carefully and truthfully; these questions will determine whether you need appointments at both the Embassy and Visa Application Center (VAC), an appointment at the VAC only, or if you qualify for mail-in service in lieu of an appointment.

The majority of applicants must program two appointments: one at the Visa Application Center (VAC) and another at the Embassy.

  • First, schedule your appointment at the Embassy.
  • Second, schedule your appointment at the Visa Application Center to take your photograph and fingerprints. This appointment should be completed at least one day before your interview at the Embassy, although same-day appointments may be available for applicants from remote areas.

Once you are in the system, you will see your dashboard.

Click on Schedule Appointment on the left-hand side menu.

This will start the process for scheduling your appointment. You will need three items to schedule your appointment:

  1. Your passport number.
  2. The receipt number from your Visa Fee receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  3. The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.
Step 6

On the date of your appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC) you will need:

  • A passport with validity at least six months beyond the time you will stay in United States (unless other agreements establish exceptions to this policy). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person who needs a visa must submit an application.
  • Confirmation sheet from the DS-160.
  • If the applicant is younger than 8 years and is not attending the interview, a photograph meeting the Department of State´s requirements must also be submitted. See Photographs and Digital Fingerprints for more information.
Step 7

After your appointment at the VAC to take your fingerprints and photograph, you will need to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy. Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview, arriving no more than 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time. You should bring:

  • Confirmation sheet for the appointment
  • Confirmation sheet for the DS-160
  • Your current passport with a barcode added at the VAC and previous passports
  • Any documents that support you application, depending on the type of visa solicited

The U.S. Embassy will not receive incomplete applications.

ATTENTION! Applicants ages 8 and younger do not need to attend the VAC and Embassy appointments. Only the parents or legal guardians of these applicants are required to be present for the VAC and Embassy appointments.

If your visa is approved, your visa will be ready for pick-up at the Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) location you selected.

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 in a sealed envelope. Applicants should unseal the envelope at the interview window and hand the document to the consular officer. The U.S. Embassy 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:

  • Proof of your employer's ability to pay the promised wage. Note: If you are applying for an A-3 or G-5 visa, this only applies if the employer holds a diplomatic rank of counselor or below.
  • Evidence establishing that your stay in the United States will be temporary.
  • Visit the Department of State's website for more information.

More Information

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