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

A personal or domestic employee who accompanies or follows to join an employer who is seeking admission into, or is already in, the United States in B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, or Q nonimmigrant status, must meet the following requirements:

  1. The employee has a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of abandoning (notwithstanding the fact that the employer may be in a nonimmigrant status which does not require such a showing);
  2. The employee can demonstrate at least one year’s experience as a personal or domestic employee;
  3. The employee has been employed abroad by the employer as a personal or domestic employee for at least one year prior to the date of the employer’s admission to the United States or if the employee-employer relationship existed immediately prior to the time of visa application, the employer can demonstrate that he or she has regularly employed (either year-round or seasonally) personal or domestic employees over a period of several years preceding the domestic employee’s visa application for a nonimmigrant B-1 visa;
  4. The employer and the employee have signed an employment contract which contains statements that the employee is guaranteed the minimum or prevailing wages, whichever is greater, and free room and board, and the employer will be the only provider of employment to the employee; and
  5. The employer must pay the domestic’s initial travel expenses to the United States, and subsequently to the employer’s onward assignment, or to the employee’s country of normal residence at the termination of the assignment.

Accompanying a U.S. Citizen

a. Personal or domestic employees who accompany or follow to join U.S. citizen employers who have a permanent home or are stationed in a foreign country and who are visiting the United States temporarily may apply for a B-1 visa.  The employer-employee relationship existed prior to the commencement of the employer’s visit to the United States, 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 (4) 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 in both English and Bangla and 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 you will receive 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.

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

Personal or domestic employees accompanying or following to join an employer who is a foreign diplomat or official are eligible for A-3 or G-5 visas, depending on the visa status of their employer. 

All A-3 and G-5 visa applicants are required to come in for a personal interview.  The Ministry’s protocol courier may submit A-3 and G-5 visa application packages to the Embassy on any Sunday, Monday, Wednesday or Thursday between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., at the Consular Section Waiting Room.

The application package should include following items:

  • DS 160
  • A note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Valid passport (should be valid for six months beyond the period of intended stay in the United States),
  • One recently taken 2”x2”photo
  • Properly executed employment contract (in both Bangla and English).

Once the application package is received, the Embassy will contact the applicant directly via the Consular Section’s e-mail address (DhakaVisaSupport@state.gov) with an interview date and time.  If the applicant does not have an e-mail address, the Embassy will notify the Ministry or the international organization of the appointment details.    

All employment contracts for domestic workers must state an hourly wage to be paid to each domestic worker entitled to an A-3 or G-5 visa and the rate must be the greater of the minimum wage under U.S. federal, state, or local law.  In accordance with the revised U.S. law, deductions on meals, lodging, medical care, medical insurance, or travel are no longer permissible.  

Before the consular officer can finalize adjudication of an A-3 or G-5 domestic worker visa, the foreign mission must register the domestic worker’s information with the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions.  The designated office of foreign mission must complete the Pre-Notification of a Domestic Worker form and send it to DomesticWorkers@state.gov, copying DhakaVisaSupport@state.gov. The same rule applies if the A-3 or G-5 applicant’s family will follow to join.

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

Consular Officer must be satisfied that the wage to be received by the A-3, G-5 applicant is a fair wage comparable to that offered in the area of employment.  To insure that the applicant will receive a fair wage, applications for such visas must include an employment contract signed by the employer and the employee.  The contract must include the following elements:

  1. Description of Duties:  The contract must describe the work to be performed (e.g., housekeeping, gardening, child care), and must include 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.
  2. Hours of Work:  The contract must state the time of the normal working hours and the number of hours per week.  It is generally expected that domestic workers will be required to work 35-40 hours per week.  The contract must also state that the domestic employee will be provided a minimum of one full day off each week.  The contract must indicate the number of paid holidays, sick days, and vacation days the domestic employee will be provided.
  3. Minimum Wage:  The contract must state the hourly wage to be paid to the domestic employee.  The rate must be the greater of the minimum wage under U.S. Federal, state, or local law.  The contract must state 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. 
  4. Overtime Work:  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.            NOTE:  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.
  5. Payment:  The contract must state that after the first 90 days of employment, all wage payments must be made by check or by electronic transfer to the domestic worker's bank account.  The bank account must be in the United States so that domestic workers may readily access and utilize their wages.  Neither Mission members, nor their family members, should have access to domestic workers' bank accounts. 
  6. Transportation to and from the United States:  The contract must state that the domestic employee will be provided with transportation to and from the United States.
  7. Other Required Terms of Employment:  The contract must state that the employer agrees to abide by all Federal, State, and local laws in the United States. The contract also must include a statement that the domestic worker's passport and visa will be in the sole possession of the domestic worker.  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 must include a statement that the domestic worker's presence in the employer's residence will not be required except during working hours.
  8. Other Recommended Terms of Employment:  The contract may include additional agreed-upon terms of employment, if any, provided they are fully consistent with all U.S. Federal, State, and local laws.  Any modification to the contract must be in writing (in both Bangla and English) and the employee must be informed.

Consular Officer may hold applications where the applicant does not submit a contract, the contract does not guarantee a fair wage or working conditions, or have any evidence that the employer will not comply with the conditions specified in the contract.  In such cases, Consular Officer will refuse the application under the appropriate provision of the U.S. Law.

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 and possess a valid passport.
  • One (1) 2”x2” (5cmx5cm) photograph taken within the last six months. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • 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 in both English and Bangla and 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.

All A-3 and G-5 visa applicants are required to come in for a personal interview.  The Ministry’s protocol courier may submit A-3 and G-5 visa application packages to the Embassy on any Sunday, Monday, Wednesday or Thursday between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., at the Consular Section Waiting Room.

The application package should include following items: 

  • DS 160
  • A note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Valid passport (should be valid for six months beyond the period of intended stay in the United States),
  • One recently taken 2”x2”photo
  • Properly executed employment contract (in both Bangla and English). Please click here to find the format of the contract

Once the application package is received, the Embassy will contact the applicant directly via the Consular Section’s e-mail address (DhakaVisaSupport@state.gov) with an interview date and time.  If the applicant does not have an e-mail address, the Embassy will notify the Ministry or the international organization of the appointment details.    

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

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

Step 2

Pay the visa application fee.

Step 3

Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need the following information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number
  • The receipt number from your Visa Fee receipt. (Click here if you need help finding this number.)
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
Step 4

Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, your current and all old passports, and the original visa fee payment receipt. 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. The U.S. Embassy or 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:

  • 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.

Ensure that you do not bring any documents in a sealed envelope to the Embassy for your interview.

More Information

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