- What is a G-4 Visa and who needs one?
- Who is a G-4 eligible dependent?
- Securing a G-4 Visa from Outside the United States
- Changing Status from Another Non-Immigrant Visa Category to a G-4
- Changing G-4 Dependent Status to Another Non-Immigrant Visa
- Changing from G-4 Status to Legal Permanent Residency
- Renewing Your G-4 Visa
- Visa Status of Domestic Partners
- Impact of Visa Status on Expatriate Benefits
- Obtaining a G-5 Visa for a Domestic Employee
- When You Separate or Retire from the IMF
The G-4 visa is a nonimmigrant U.S. visa for employees of international organizations and members of their immediate families. Officers and employees of international organizations are considered "principals" while their family members are considered "dependents."
Individuals who already hold a G-4 visa for another international organization may transfer their status to the IMF. After they cancel their registration with the U. S. Department of State with prior organization, the Fund HR Center will register them with the U.S. State Department. Once the individual has been registered, the Fund's American Express Visa & Passport Office will apply for a new G-4 visa
Persons possessing a valid U.S. work authorization or holding a U.S. Alien Registration Receipt Card, which provides permanent resident status in the U.S., do not need to secure a G-4 visa to work at the Fund. New Fund hires may direct questions about G-4 visas to their HR contact in the Recruitment and Staffing Division.
G-4 eligible dependents include the G-4 principal's:
- Spouse or same-sex domestic partner
- Children of any age who are members of the principal's household.
- Parents and other close relatives, under limited circumstances.
However, you should be aware that, even though children of any age may be granted a G-4 visa:
- For benefits purposes (including relocation travel), the Fund defines a "dependent child" as your natural or legally adopted child, your stepchild, or the natural or legally adopted child of your domestic partner, who is:
- Under 19 years of age; or
- 19 or older, but under 24 years of age, and is:
- Unmarried and earning an annual income below the ceiling established by the Fund each year; or
- A full-time student, and receives more than half of his/her support from you; or
- Handicapped as defined in the IMF Medical Benefits Plan.
- G-4 dependents who would like to seek employment in the U.S. must obtain work authorization. Work authorization is granted only to:
- Spouses and same-sex domestic partners;
- Unmarried children under age 21;
- Unmarried children under age 23 who are full time students at post-secondary educational institutions; and
- Unmarried children of any age who are physically or mentally disabled
You must obtain a U.S. G-4 visa before you travel to Washington to begin your assignment at the IMF. Under U.S. law, the IMF cannot pay you any remuneration (including salary and travel), unless you are in possession of this visa when you enter the U.S.; and a change to G-4 status is not permitted after arrival in the country. Therefore, if you arrive in the U.S. without a G-4 visa, it will be necessary to leave the country and apply for the G-4 visa from abroad. You should also be aware that dependent family members who are eligible for G-4 visas should also obtain them before traveling to the U.S.
You are advised to begin the visa application process with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible after receiving the confirmation of your appointment in order to allow them sufficient time to issue your visa. If you do not hold a valid passport from your government, you must first obtain one before applying for your U.S. visa. If you and family members already have passports, please check that they will not expire in the near future.
To obtain G-4 visas for yourself and your family, you will need to make a visa appointment with the nearest U.S. consulate that issues nonimmigrant G-4 visas. Once you have scheduled your appointment, please notify the Fund's Recruitment and Staffing Division (RSD) so that they may send the request for a G-4 visa to the appropriate U.S. consular office and prepare a travel authorization for your trip. The Fund will send you a copy of the request sent to the consulate and you should bring it, along with your appointment letter, with you when you apply for the visa. This documentation will normally be sufficient evidence to obtain the visa. Should you encounter any difficulty in obtaining a G-4 visa, you should immediately contact the Fund. You should not leave your country/city of residence without obtaining a G-4 visa.
If you are recruited from within the United States and hold a nonimmigrant visa other than a G-4, you will normally need to leave the country in order to secure a G4 visa before beginning employment at the Fund. Generally, the G4 visa is obtained outside the United States in a few days. However, in some cases, the change of status may take longer. The Fund's Visa Services Office will advise you on how long this process is likely to take and how you should proceed. Please note that, generally, employment at the Fund cannot begin until your visa status has been changed to G-4, and you must not return to the U.S. without having obtained the appropriate visa.
If you hold a visa that already allows you to work at the IMF, such as an F-1 Student Visa with Optional Practical Training, a change of status may be possible from within the U.S. You should contact the Fund's Visa Services Office to make that determination.
A dependent spouse or child cannot change his/her nonimmigrant status while still eligible to hold G-4 status. The U.S. State Department does not allow a dependent G-4 visa holder to change status to a different nonimmigrant visa (e.g., F-1 student visa or H-1B temporary worker) as long as he or she is eligible for, and entitled to, a G-4 visa.
A Fund employee or his/her dependents may change status from nonimmigrant to immigrant status, provided that the individual is eligible for such status, files the appropriate documents, and is approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, you should be aware that a staff member changing from G-4 to legal permanent resident status becomes ineligible for the Fund's expatriate benefits.
Your family's G-4 visas may be renewed in the U.S. through the Passport & Travel Visa Services Section of the Fund's Transportation Division. The renewal process can be initiated at any time within the 60-day period prior to the visa's expiration date; however, you are encouraged to apply for renewals well in advance of any expected travel outside the U.S.
On July 22, 2009 the U.S. Department of State (DOS) amended the definition of "immediate family" to allow same-sex domestic partners of staff members holding G-4 visas to apply for G-4 visas. The term "immediate family" previously required that immediate family members—other than the spouse and unmarried sons and daughters—be related to the principal or spouse by blood, marriage or adoption. The definition now includes, upon authorization from the DOS on a case by case basis, any other alien who is not a member of some other household; will reside regularly in the household of the principal alien; and is recognized as a family member of the principal alien by the sending Government as demonstrated by eligibility for rights and benefits from that Government, such as the issuance of a diplomatic or official passport or travel or other allowances. In requesting the G-4 visa the domestic partner will need to provide the relevant U.S. consulate "appropriate evidence" to show that he or she is a member of the principal alien's household. What constitutes "appropriate evidence" will be up to the particular consulate. The domestic partner can request a G-4 visa at a U.S. Consulate or in some circumstances can change status while in the U.S. from another nonimmigrant visa category to G-4. In the past domestic partners typically needed a B visitor visa to remain in the U.S. with the G-4 principal. The advantage of the G-4 visa is that it will not require frequent renewals as the B visa did.
Non-U.S. nationals who have G-4 visas or asylum status in the United States are eligible for expatriate benefits from the Fund provided they meet the required criteria for the benefit. If you are a U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR), you will be eligible for expatriate benefits only if you relinquish your LPR status in favor of a G-4 visa. Conversely, G-4 staff members who convert to U.S. permanent residency become ineligible for the Fund's expatriate benefits. If you are a U.S. national and your duty station is in the U.S., you will not be eligible for expatriate benefits even if you relinquish your U.S. citizenship.
Domestic employees of G-4 visa holders are not eligible for G-4 visas. They must obtain a G-5 visa through the Fund, which acts as the sponsoring organization. The domestic employee does not qualify for transportation at Fund expense.
The G-5 visa program is available as a special privilege for Fund staff who are G-4 visa holders. Staff members are required to comply with all U.S. regulations governing the employment of G-5 domestic employees. If you plan to bring a domestic employee with you, please contact RSD for more information.
Following your retirement or separation from the Fund, you and your family members may remain in the United States under G-4 status for up to 60 days. Once you have separated from the Fund, you cannot travel abroad and re-enter the U.S. on your G-4 visa even if your visa is still valid.
Retired staff members who, while maintaining G-4 visa status, have resided and been physically present in the United States for periods totaling fifteen years, and, while maintaining G-4 visa status, have resided and been physically present in the United States for periods totaling three and a half years during the seven years before applying, can apply for U.S. permanent residency if they apply within six months following retirement. The IMF defines a "retiree" as someone who is either receiving or is immediately eligible to receive a pension. Spouses of retirees are also eligible to obtain a green card by filing along with the retiree. Under certain circumstances, a widow or widower of a G-4 visa holding staff member may apply for a green card if he/she satisfies certain residence and physical presence requirements.
*The topics presented on this page are provided by the IMF for informational purposes. Policies governing the issuance of non-immigrant visas and dependent work authorization are determined by the U.S. authorities.