Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Immigrant Visas

Immigrant Visas

An Immigrant Visa is required of anyone who wishes to enter the United States to reside there permanently, whether or not that person plans to seek employment in the United States. U.S. immigration law provides for the issuance of Immigrant Visas in four general categories: immediate relative, family-based, employment-based, and the Diversity Visa (DV) Program, known as the "green card" lottery.

The Diversity Visa process is a bit different from other Immigrant Visas. It involves direct submission of an application during a specified annual time period via Only if you are selected by the lottery will you receive instructions on how to schedule a visa appointment and complete the required documentation to apply for the Diversity Visa. Note that the I-864/I-134 Affidavit of Support does not apply to DV applicants, unless the Consular Officer specifically requests one at the time of the interview.

For all other Immigrant Visa categories, there are THREE steps involved in applying:

Step 1:  A petitioner/sponsor files an immigrant visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Step 2:  The National Visa Center, or USCIS Nairobi, processes the immigrant visa petition and sends it to the Nairobi Consular Section.

Step 3:  The applicant completes the medical exams and paperwork required for the immigrant visa interview.    

The Immigrant Visa unit conducts visa interviews by appointment only. You will be notified of your appointment date by the National Visa Center (NVC) or Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), unless you are a K visa applicant or expedited case.  For K visa and expedited cases, the Immigrant Visa unit will contact you directly with instructions on the visa process as soon as we receive your file from the National Visa Center.

APPOINTMENTS:  If you need to schedule or reschedule an appointment, or register for DHL in order to collect your passport, please visit our scheduling contractor’s website here ( or call them at (+254 20) 619-0600 (in Kenya) or +1 703 988 7112 (in the United States).  

Appointments are scheduled for 6:30am, Monday through Thursday, excluding Kenyan or American holidays and the last Wednesday of every month.  Immigrant Visa applicants will continue to pay required visa fees at the U.S. Embassy Nairobi cashier on the day of their interview.

QUESTIONS:  For questions about your specific case, you may contact the Immigrant Visa Unit by email at or 363-6622 (Option “1”) from Monday through Thursday, 1:00-4:00p.m.  Note that we are closed to the public the last Wednesday of every month and all Kenyan and American holidays. 

MINOR CHILDREN: Please note that all applicants below 14 years of age are required to have a guardian accompany them to their interview.  The guardian must bring with them the original power of attorney from the petitioner and a government issued photo identification to be allowed access to the Embassy.

EVIDENCE OF RELATIONSHIP: All immigrant visa applicants applying for a K1 (fiancé) visa or a family-based immigration benefit must produce secondary evidence of your relationship to the petitioner (the person who filed the petition in the US) during the visa interview. Bring evidence of the relationship to include any of the following:

  • Wedding photographs and/or other photos of the petitioner and beneficiary together (please indicate who is in each photo).
  • Emails, Facebook chats, WhatsApp chats, SMS text message history.
  • If a step-child case: To prove joint residency between a step-parent and the beneficiary’s parent, you can submit copies of driver’s licenses for both, joint bank documents, and/or rent, lease or mortgage documents to show that both share a common residence. If applicable, submit birth certificates for any common children between the stepparent and beneficiary’s parent.

*Note: All photos must be printed. Photos on compact disc or cell phone will not be accepted.

VISA COLLECTION:  Once you have been interviewed and approved for an immigrant visa, your travel document or passport will be ready for collection usually within one week from the day of your interview.  You must collect your visa packet at the DHL location you selected when registering.  Please do not make any travel arrangements until you have your visa in hand. 

If your visa was already issued and you were not able to travel before the expiry date of the visa please be aware that you will be required to repay the visa processing fee of $325.00 USD (or the equivalent in Kenyan Sh.) for family sponsored visas and $265.00 USD (or the equivalent in Kenyan Sh.) for K (fiancé) visas for a new visa to be issued.

For more information and reprocessing of your visa  please contact the immigrant visa unit at

All Diversity Visa (DV) applicants:  If you did not travel  before the expiry date of your visa, please be aware that we are unable to reissue a new visa.

USCIS “GREEN CARD” FEE:  Almost all Immigrant Visa recipients must pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee after visa collection.  You will be given detailed instructions for payment at the time of your interview. Note that this fee does NOT apply to K1/K2/K3, Returning Resident, or International Adoption Visa recipients.   For more information, visit:

Rights and Protections for Foreign-Citizen Fiancé(e)s and Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Spouses of Lawful Permanent.  Please click here for detailed information.