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U.S. Visa Services
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Immigrant Visas

The U.S. Embassy has resumed limited processing of immigrant visas, in accordance with the priorities set out by the Department of State. We ask for your patience as our current capacity for visa processing is severely reduced due to COVID-19 safety precautions. We are faced with a significant backlog in most visa categories and all applicants should expect significant delays.

Immigrant visa services are being prioritized in accordance with Department of State guidance, which can be found here. Embassy Nairobi is maximizing our limited resources to accommodate as many Tier One and Two (immediate relative and fiancé(e) cases) as possible.  The Embassy is also scheduling a limited number of Tier Three (family preference cases and visas for certain U.S. government employees abroad) and Tier Four (employment preference and diversity visas) each month. We recognize that visa applicants, particularly those in Tiers Three and Four, will face continued delays.

Diversity Visas: Embassy Nairobi is processing a very limited number of Diversity Visa cases. Please note that we are currently NOT able to accept Diversity Visa cases from other consular districts. The Department values the diversity visa program and is making every effort to process as many Diversity Visa cases as possible, consistent with other priorities, despite the severe operational constraints and backlog resulting from the COVID pandemic.  However, as a result of COVID the number of visas issued in lower-priority preference categories or in such programs as the Diversity Visa program likely will not approach the statutory ceiling in Fiscal Year 2021.

Non-Immigrant Visas

WARNING –  Non-immigrant visa holders who within the past 14 days have been present in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (excluding overseas UK territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) will not be admitted to the United States, with certain exceptions such as F-1 (student) visa holders.  Thus, if possible, non-immigrant visa holders who are traveling to the United States should not transit through Europe.  In addition, if you book a flight that transits through Europe, even if you subsequently change your travel plans to avoid Europe, you may still be denied boarding.  For more details, please see here.

The U.S. Mission to Kenya understands that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment. We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, we have extended the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already-paid fee. Please continue to monitor this site for information on when we will return to routine visa operations.

To keep both applicants and our staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of appointments for all of these categories is much lower than normal. If you would like an appointment to apply for a visa, please visit our Global Support Website here.  Please also remember that all visas and travel to the United States may be subject to further restrictions – please go to travel.state.gov for the latest updates.

Expedited/Emergency Appointments: If you have an urgent need to travel because of an emergency, please go to our Global Support Website and apply for an “Expedited Appointment” – for instructions on how to do so, go here and scroll down to the section on “Visa Appointment Questions.”  Please note that, due to the limited number of available appointments, only the most urgent matters, such as the following, will qualify for an expedited appointment:

    • Death of an immediate (parent, child, or sibling) family member in the United States.
    • Urgent medical care in the United States for the applicant.
    • Professional medical escort for someone receiving care in the United States.
    • Students who would suffer irreparable harm, such as the loss of a scholarship, if they arrive after their scheduled start of classes. Please note that expedited appointments will not be granted for students more than 30 days before their scheduled start of classes.
    • Accompanying a minor U.S. citizen to the United States. Note that no more than one escort will be permitted.
    • Pilots, air crew, and other airline personnel who are traveling for training, or aircraft pickup, delivery, or maintenance.
    • Travel to support a major entertainment product conducted in the United States that would not go on without the traveler.
    • Travel by highly specialized professionals or experts to install, service, maintain, or receive necessary training for vessels, machinery, and other critical equipment required by U.S. and foreign firms with a substantial investment in the United States.
    • Travel by executives and senior-level employees providing strategy and direction to U.S. and foreign firms with a substantial investment in the United States. Requests for an expedited appointment under this category must specify the exact job title of the traveler and the nature of the employer’s investment in the United States.
    • Executive direction in connection with vital support of Critical Infrastructure Sectors as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, or supply chain directly linked to Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Designated sectors are: chemical, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare and public health, information technology, nuclear reactors, transportation, and water/wastewater systems. Requests for an expedited appointment under this category must specify the exact nature of the executive direction and which Critical Infrastructure Sector applies.

Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Classes in Kenya: We are pleased to announce new interview waivers for visa renewals. If your visitor or student visa (B1/B2, F1, F2, J1, J2, M1, M2) is still valid, or expired less than one year ago, you may be able to renew your visa without an in-person interview. Eligibility for an interview waiver will be determined as you go through the process of scheduling an appointment on this website. You will be provided instructions on how to proceed if you have been determined to qualify for an interview waiver. Please note that if you are not applying for one of the above-mentioned visa types, or if you are applying for a visa for the first time, you are not eligible for an interview waiver.


Follow the link for more information regarding national interest exceptions (NIEs) to Presidential Proclamation 10143 and transit through the Schengen Area, UK, or Ireland.

What is a Visa?

A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship or nationality.

Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program.  The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.  If you cannot find what you are looking for here, please visit Travel.State.gov for additional information.

Note: U.S. citizens do not need a U.S. visa for travel to the United States, but when planning travel abroad a U.S. citizen may need a visa issued by the embassy or consulate of the country they wish to visit.

Do You Already Know What Type of Visa You Need?

For nonimmigrant visas, you can go directly to the online application for the DS-160; or for immigrant visas, directly to the USCIS site for the relevant forms.  If you are unsure, please use the Visa Wizard below to help you determine your visa type.

U.S. Embassy Nairobi Visa Processes