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March 11, 2013

Visa Services

Welcome to the U.S. Embassy Asmara Consular Section. The United States seeks out and enthusiastically welcomes genuine travelers to our country to do business, to visit family, to explore our culture, to see our sights, to enjoy our natural beauty, to make new friends, to study at our schools, and to exchange ideas.

Please click on the options to the left for more information.

We are located inside the U.S. Embassy, 179 Ala Street, Asmara, Eritrea 

Please Note: The American Embassy offices, including the Consular section, are closed on Eritrean and US public holidays.

What is a Visa?

A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. This visa can be a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.

A visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A visa entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission; it does not guarantee entry. An officer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the port of entry determines the visa holder's eligibility for admission into the United States.

For information on U.S. visa requirements, including studying, doing business or just visiting, please visit the U.S. State Department visa information page.

Citizens of countries within the Visa Waiver Program do not require a visa if their passports conform to certain standards. In addition, beginning January 12, 2009, all Visa Waiver Program travelers will be required to obtain a travel authorization via the Electronic System for the Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to the United States.

If you forgot to return your I-94 form when exiting from the United States, please visit this website for information:

Types of Visas

Holiday - Student - Business - Temporary Visits (Non-Immigrant Visas)

You should apply for a nonimmigrant visa if you are a resident of Eritrea and would like to go to the United States for a temporary visit. Travelers going to the United States for tourism, business, official government purposes, education, exchange programs, and temporary work should apply for a nonimmigrant visa. The Consular Officer at your embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need at the time of your interview.

Resident (Immigrant Visas)

Individuals who wish to live or reside permanently in the United States should apply for an immigrant visa. In general, to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s) or by a prospective employer. Additionally, the Diversity Visa Program provides a certain number of permanent resident visas annually. These visas are drawn from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. 

Please Note: Resident services are not available at the U.S. Embassy Asmara. Immigrant Visas, Diversity Visas, and Adoptions for residents of Eritrea are currently processed at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi or the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa:

The Importance of Applying Early

Interest in travel to the United States continues to grow and generally peaks during the summer. We welcome qualified visitors to apply for visas for tourism, business, education, cultural exchange and other purposes. As you plan for your trip to the United States, we encourage you to plan ahead to allow us enough time to process your visa prior to your intended travel date. We recommend that travelers begin the visa application process by scheduling an appointment for an interview as early as possible. Although you must provide the address where you will stay in the United States and the name and telephone numbers of a person in the United States who you will visit, you do not need to make travel reservations before applying for your visa. This will ensure that there is enough time to schedule your interview, review your application, conduct any required administrative processing, and determine whether we can issue a visa.

Processing Times of Visas

Immediately after interview, you will know the decision of your visa application. Approved applicants should have the visa ready for collection the Thursday 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.

Expedited Interviews

The Embassy offers expedited appointments in certain cases.  Applicants facing emergencies should email 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.


Contact Information

Telephone: (291) 1-120-004
Fax: (291) 1-124-255

Location:  179 Ala Street, Asmara, Eritrea 

*Please do not send/mail/email any materials related to a Non Immigrant Visa case directly to the Consular section.  Applicant must bring any/all documents that they would like the officer to consider to their interview.

Customer Service Statement to Visa Applicants

The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known.  Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged. 
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:  

  • We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa. 
  • We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique. We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous. 
  • We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions. 
  • We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations. 
  • We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on our website. 
  • We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
    Furthermore, if you are a:
    •  Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
    •   Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
    •   Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.

At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:

  • Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible. 
  • Complete your application fully and accurately. 
  • Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans. 
  • Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.

Security Notice

Please do not bring electronic devices (mobile phones, radios, recorders, computers, PDAs, cameras, walkmans, etc.) with you when you come to the U.S. Embassy. You and your effects will be screened at the entrance.  Prohibited items are not allowed entry. Bringing such items will delay your entry and may cause you to miss your appointment.

Penalties for Misrepresentation 

Please keep in mind that your signature on any visa application form is your guarantee that all information you provide is true and correct.  You are personally and legally responsible, even if a travel agent or someone else prepares documents for you. Any fraudulent documents or misleading statements may result in your permanent ineligibility for any future visa.


Please note that the Embassy does not deal with so-called visa brokers or visa fixers. Anyone who claims they can guarantee visa issuance or expedite visa processing is lying. The Embassy treats allegations of fraud or malfeasance in visa processing very seriously.

Contact Information

Telephone: (291) 1-120-004
Fax: (291) 1-124-255

Location:  179 Ala Street, Asmara, Eritrea 

Travel & Tourism in the U.S.

  • Tourism Badge

Non-Immigrant Visas