Visas

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.

If you are selected for a position at the IMF and are not the holder of a U.S. passport or Permanent Resident Card (i.e. green card), we will work with the U.S. State Department and the relevant U.S. consulate or embassy to provide a G-4 visa. The G-4 visa is a non-immigrant 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." If you already hold a valid U.S. Permanent Resident Card, (which provides lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.) or already have work authorization as a dependent of a G-4 visa holder, you do not need a G-4 visa to work at the IMF.

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Who is a G-4 eligible dependent?

G-4 eligible dependents include the G-4 principal's:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children who are members of the principal’s household and who are:
    • ○ Under the age of 21
    • ○ Under the age of 23 but are full-time students at post-secondary educational institutions
    • ○ Unmarried children of any age who are physically or mentally disabled
    • ○ Children under the age of 26 who are eligible for IMF benefits. For benefit purposes, a dependent child is eligible for the IMF’s Medical Benefits Plan up to the age of 26.
  • Parent and/or parent-in-law
  • Note: The U.S. State Department does not allow a dependent G-4 visa holder to change status to a different non-immigrant 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.

    Can G-4 eligible dependents seek employment in the U.S.?

    G-4 dependents who would like to seek employment in the U.S. must obtain a separate work authorization. Work authorization is granted to those who meet the above eligibility for a G-4 visa except:

  • Children under the age of 26 who are eligible for IMF benefits
  • Parent and/or parent-in-law
  • Work authorization for a dependent can only be obtained after your dependent has an active G-4 visa and you have started work.

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    How to Apply for a G-4 Visa

    Staff members and any dependent family members must obtain a U.S. G-4 visa before traveling to Washington, D.C. to begin an assignment at the IMF. 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. We cannot pay any remuneration (including salary and travel), unless you are in possession of this visa when you enter the U.S.

    To obtain G-4 visas for yourself and your dependents, you will need to make a visa appointment with your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate that issues non-immigrant G-4 visas. This process should be started as soon as possible after receiving the confirmation of your appointment but cannot normally be started more than three months before your expected entry-on-duty date. Once you have scheduled your appointment, please notify your HRD recruitment contact so that they can send the request for a G-4 visa to the appropriate U.S. consular office. The IMF will send you a copy of the request sent to the consulate and you should bring it, along with your appointment letter, when you apply for the visa. This documentation will normally be sufficient evidence to obtain the visa.

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    Changing Status from Another Non-Immigrant Visa Category to G-4

    If you are recruited from within the United States and hold a non-immigrant visa other than a G-4, you will need to leave the country in order to secure a G-4 visa before beginning employment at the IMF. Generally, the G-4 visa is obtained outside the U.S.in a few days. However, in some cases, the change of status may take longer. Please note that, generally, employment at the IMF 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 will need to notify your HRD recruitment contact to make that determination once you have received your offer of employment.

    If you are a U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR), you can relinquish your LPR status in favor of a G-4 visa. However, if you are considering changing your status, you are encouraged to discuss with your HR representative to understand any benefit implications.

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    Obtaining a G-5 Visa for a Domestic Employee

    Domestic employees of G-4 visa holders can obtain a G-5 visa through the IMF, which acts as the sponsoring organization. The G-5 visa program is available as a special privilege for IMF 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. Sponsorship of a G-5 domestic employee can only be initiated after you have started working at the IMF.

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    When You Separate or Retire from the IMF

    You and your family members may remain in the U.S. under G-4 status for up to 30 days. Once you have separated from the IMF, you cannot travel abroad and re-enter the U.S. on your G-4 visa even if your visa is still valid. In addition, retired staff members may be eligible to apply for U.S. permanent resident status under the G-4 “Special Immigrant Retiree” provision. In order to be eligible as a Special Immigrant, retired staff members must show they have maintained G-4 visa status and resided and been physically present in the United States for periods totaling fifteen years before retirement. Retired staff must also maintain G-4 visa status and have resided and been physically present in the United States for periods totaling three and a half years during the seven years before applying for permanent resident status. Lastly, retired staff must apply for permanent residency 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.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    I already hold a G-4 visa for another international organization. Can I transfer my visa?

    You may transfer your status to the IMF. After you cancel your registration with the U.S. Department of State with your prior organization, the IMF HR Center will then register you with the U.S. State Department. Once you have been registered, the IMF's American Express Visa & Passport Office will apply for a new G-4 visa.

    Can I change my G-4 Status to Legal Permanent Residency?

    You and your dependents may change status from non-immigrant to immigrant status, provided that the person changing their status is eligible for such status, files the appropriate documents, and is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, you should be aware that if you are changing from G-4 to legal permanent resident, you will become ineligible for the IMF's expatriate benefits.

    Are G-4 visa dependents immune from income tax or Social Security liability on wages earned in the United States?

    No. G-4 visa dependents who are granted employment authorization are responsible for paying all federal, state, and local income, employment, and related taxes and Social Security contributions on any compensation received. Employers withhold applicable taxes and FICA duties from G-4 dependents just as they do for their other employees.

    Can dependents of G-4 holders work for other international organizations?

    Dependents of G-4 visa holders who seek employment in other international organizations may either become a principal staff member in that institution or work under valid work authorization as a G-4 dependent. Dependents who take on full-time employment at an embassy will need to change from G to A status.

    How long can a G-4 dependent work in the United States?

    Once approved, an application for employment is typically granted for three years. However, work authorization can be continually renewed for as long as the G-4 dependent is legally entitled to remain in the U.S. Dependents are reminded to allow sufficient time to apply for authorization renewals to avoid a gap between the expiration of the current EAD and the issuance of a new one.

    Can a G-4 dependent work for an employer after being authorized to work as a self-employed individual?

    Yes. In many instances, a G-4 dependent who initially obtained work authorization as a self-employed individual is hired to work for an employer. In that case, the G-4 dependent can begin to work for the new employer under his or her currently valid EAD.

    Are there any special procedures for work authorization involving children who hold G-4 dependent visas?

    If the dependent is under 17, he or she will need a labor certification from the child's school or relevant county official. If the dependent is between 21 and 23, he or she will need to provide a letter from the post-secondary institution, documenting full-time student status and the expected date of graduation. The letter must be on university letterhead with the school seal.

    Is employing someone on a G-4 dependent visa the same as "sponsoring" that person under the immigration laws?

    No. Hiring a G-4 dependent who has acquired work authorization as described above does not constitute "sponsorship" of the employee, as that term is used and recognized in other aspects of immigration law. For example, in the case of temporary employees hired pursuant to section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of the INA (commonly referred to as "H-1B employees") or in the case of individuals applying for immigrant status, an employer must actively sponsor an applicant and deal directly with both the U.S. Department of Labor and the USCIS. This is not the case for employers who hire G-4 dependents.

    If my spouse's employer has agreed to sponsor my spouse, currently holding a G-4 non-immigrant visa for an immigrant visa (green card), can he or she then change status to that of an immigrant? Alternatively, if my spouse is successful in the Annual Immigration Diversity Lottery, is he or she eligible to change status?

    Yes. A dependent spouse or child can change status from non-immigrant to immigrant status, provided he or she is eligible for such status, files the appropriate documents, and is approved by the USCIS.