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How to Apply for a Visa

How To Apply For a Non-Immigrant Visa

All applicants, including those for visa renewal and children must book an appointment. Applicants should be able to book appointments at their own convenience around the clock to schedule and reschedule their appointments.

It is important that applicants apply early, since appointments are given on a first-come, first-served basis.  All applicants, including children, must appear in person for an interview Monday through Thursday morning at the given time of appointment. This service is not available on Fridays and the last Wednesday of every month. Please carry a printout of your appointment details on the given date of appointment.

How do I book an appointment?

All applicants,including children, MUST book an appointment and appear in person through the U.S. Visa Service website. Please read instructions carefully and bring your appointment letter to your scheduled appointment.

  1. The first step is to complete visa application form (DS- 160) for each applicant.
  2. Create an account at U.S Visa Service Website you will be prompted to fill out travel information and also select your desired DHL branch for Passport/Visa collection. This is where you will collect your passport if your visa is approved. 
  3. Print out a deposit slip found in your account, you will use it to pay the visa application fee also known as Machine readable Visa (MRV) Fee via Postbank or mpesa, per instructions stated on the website.
  4. Once you pay the fee, please return to your account and enter the”MRV fee Receipt Number.” You will be taken to the appointment calendar to select your preferred appointment date.

When should I schedule an appointment?

Please schedule your visa appointment well in advance to account for any delays.  Many visas are valid for one year and allow the person to travel to the U.S. anytime during the visa’s validity.

Can I reschedule or cancel my appointment?

Scheduled appointments may be changed, and/or cancelled by contacting the call center at +254-20-500 6656(in Kenya) or + 1 703 439 2303(in the United States)or through the U.S. Visa Service call center website.

What time should I arrive?

Applicants should appear at the U.S. Embassy for their appointments no earlier than 30 minutes prior to, or 30 minutes after the appointment time.  For example, if your appointment is at 7:00am, you should not arrive before 6:30am or after 7:30am.

How long do appointments take?

Wait times for an interview can vary. We suggest that applicants bring reading material to occupy themselves while they wait for their interview. What happens if my visa application is approved?

If your application is approved, the visa is processed and your passport in returned via courier a week after the interview. Occasionally, however, we will be unable to do so due to circumstances and technical issues beyond our control.

What documents do I need to bring?

  • A signed Passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of return from the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make a separate application. Please note we do not accept mutilated passports.
  • Mandatory Completed Form DS-160 for each applicant, all questions answered. The Embassy does not accept hand written application forms.
  • A passport sized photograph (2” x 2”): When you submit your visa application online, you are required to upload a photograph. For more information on photo guidelines visit the Department of State Travel site
  • Confirmation of payment of non-refundable application fee at Postbank or through Mpesa for each applicant. If payment is throught Postbank please bring along the deposit slip. If payment is through Mpesa, you will need to provide the 9 (Nine) digit provided via sms confirming the transaction.
  • It is suggested you bring documents that demonstrate your ties to your country of residence.  However, submission of supporting documents does not guarantee that you will be issued a visa.
  • Please present your sponsor’s original bank statement from a commercial bank recognized by the Central Bank of Kenya. Please note: SACCO’s do not meet this requirement. Mini-statements and certified photocopies will not be accepted. The bank statement must be from an individual’s account. Business bank statements will not be accepted even if the sponsor is the sole proprietor.

What additional documents do I need as a Student/Exchange Program Visa Applicant?

  • Unless otherwise exempted, participants whose SEVIS I-20 or DS 2019 form, was issued on or after September 1, 2004 must pay a SEVIS I-901 Fee to the Department of Homeland Security for each individual program. The fee may be paid through a special website, via western union, or by mail on form I-797. Please note the Embassy will NOT accept student applications if the SEVIS payment does not reflect in our computer systems.
  • Students need to bring test scores and financial exhibits from their sponsors.
  • I-20 or the DS-2019 form must be valid.  If expired we can accept an extension letter, fax or email from the student’s prospective school, college, university.
  • Names and date of birth on the passport’s bio-data page and the information on the I-20 or the DS 2019 form must correspond.
  • Students should apply for their visa well in advance of their reporting date for school; however they should apply no earlier than 120 days prior to their reporting or expected date in school.
  • If issued visas, students or the exchange program visitors cannot report to school more than 30 days before the intended date of arrival as per the I-20 or DS-2019.

What additional documents do I need as a returning student/exchange visitor?

  • Form I-20/DS-2019 that has been endorsed on the back by a school official within the past 12 months.
  • A certified copy of your grades from the school in which you are enrolled or previous school (student)
  • Financial documents from you or your sponsor, showing your ability to cover the cost of your school.
  • Returning students/exchange visitors are NOT required to pay the SEVIS fee.

Additional documents for Other Visa Applicants

  • H1Bs, L1s, Q1s, P1s, R1s (petitions based) and C1 applicants do need visas.  For more information visit the Department of State Travel site.  
  • The above may have to pay an issuance fee depending on the visa type and nationality.
  • Certain nationalities may also pay issuance fees depending on the visa type.  For more information visit the Department of State Travel site.

Please Note:

  • Applicants without the above documents will not be interviewed.
  • Applicants need to demonstrate their social, economic and family ties to their country of residence.
  • No firearms, liquids, powder, gels, food and beverages or smoking inside the embassy compound.  This applies to baby formula, powdered food and lotion.

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