Updated April 1, 2015
Non-immigrant visas are for international travelers temporarily visiting the United States for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment, cultural exchange, and certain types of temporary work. These visas allow you to travel to a United States port-of-entry and request permission from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to enter the United States. Warning: A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States!
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A NIV?
It is simple to apply for a non-immigrant visa to the United States as long as you follow these steps:
- Determine your purpose of travel and the appropriate visa: Visa classifications are very specific and often times require different supporting documentation. Please visit the State Department’s website at Visa Types for Visitors for information on application and documentation requirements by visa classification.
- Complete the CEAC online visa application (DS-160): Every NIV applicant, including children, must complete the CEAC online application form. For families applying together, each family member must complete a separate application form. The application can be accessed here: http://ceac.state.gov/genniv. You must print the confirmation page with barcode from the DS-160 and bring it to your appointment.
- Prepare supporting documents: Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, certain supporting documentation is required (i.e. students must have a valid I-20 and proof of SEVIS payment). You must have the appropriate supporting documentation on hand in order to complete your interview. There are no mandatory document requires for most B1/B2 purposes of travel. However, may applicants choose to bring proof of employment, property, etc. The consular officer may or may not ask for these documents.
- Schedule appointment: Appointments must be scheduled online using the barcode appearing on the DS-160 confirmation page. You cannot schedule an appointment before clicking "Submit" at the end of the DS-160 form. Click here to schedule an appointment now. Each applicant must have his/her own appointment.
- Attend interview: Please arrive 20 minutes early and bring your DS-160 confirmation page with barcode, visa interview fee ($160.00 or nafka equivalent), valid passport with at least one empty page, 5cmx5cm photograph on a white background, and all required supporting documents for your visa category.
Note: - The Embassy is closed for Eritrean and American holidays.
HOW FAST CAN I GET AN INTERVIEW?
Visa appointments are opened several times a week and there are cancellations. If you are not able to make an appointment for your desired date, please check the calendar often. Please see Visa Wait Times link for complete information.
HOW FAST CAN I GET MY VISA PROCESSED?
Immediately after your interview you will know the decision of your visa application. Approved applicants should have the visa ready for collection the Friday morning after the interview. However, in some cases, an application may require additional processing. If this happens, it may take anywhere from one week to six months to complete. For this reason, the Embassy requests applicants schedule their appointments well in advance of any proposed travel to the U.S.
I HAVE AN EMERGENCY: CAN I GET AN EXPEDITED APPOINTMENT?
The Embassy offers expedited appointments in certain cases. Applicants facing emergencies should email ConsularAsmara@State.gov to request an expedited appointment:
- Emergency medical treatment, as well as any persons traveling in support (such as parent caring for a child). Include: name of individual traveling, name of hospital in U.S., name of physician, date of appointment.
- Family emergency, such as death, severe or terminal illness.
- Student and exchange visitor having a nearing reporting date for school and/or program. Include: name of individual traveling, name of school, school start date, DS-160 confirmation bar code number, telephone number, and passport number in your email.
- Other emergency as approved by the Consular Chief.
CAN I TRAVEL WITHOUT A VISA?
Many citizens from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries can travel to the U.S. without a visa, if they meet certain requirements. Please read the information below:
- Visa Waiver Program (VWP) current biometric passport guidelines
- Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
The Embassy does not offer public inquiry times at the Embassy. Persons who have questions regarding American Citizen Services and Non Immigrant Visas may contact the consular section at 291-1-120004 daily between 5:00-6:00PM and via email at ConsularAsmara@state.gov. Additional information, including applications, may also be found on our website at http://eritrea.usembassy.gov/ and at the American Center (in the Eritro-German Bldg.)
Additional information is available with the Department of State’s Visa Office’s Public Inquiries Division.