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US Visa requirements for Kenyans and how to apply

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US Visa Requirements for Kenyans: The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.

There are two categories of USA visas, immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Immigrant visas are issued to people from other countries who intend to live permanently in USA. Non-immigrant visas are issued for people who wish to visit the United States temporarily.

US Visa Requirements for Kenyans: Nonimmigrant Visa Categories

There are different types of Non-immigration USA visas:

  • Work Visa: Kenyans who have been offered an employment from a US employer to live and work in United States.
  • Student Visa: A student visa (F1 Visa) is offered to international students who want to study full-time at any accredited academic institution in United States.
  • Family Visa: The family visa is granted to US Citizens who wants to sponsor their families – spouses, children, wives, siblings or parents to join them in the US.
  • Tourist or Business Visa: This type of visa (known as B1 and B2 visa) is granted to those who need a short travel entry permit for business (B2 visa), tourism or visitation (B1 visa).

The chart below contains many different purposes of temporary travel and the related nonimmigrant visa categories available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Purpose of Travel Visa Category Required: Before applying for visa*
Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only) B-1 (NA)
Au pair (exchange visitor) J SEVIS
Australian professional specialty E-3 DOL
Border Crossing Card: Mexico BCC (NA)
Business visitor B-1 (NA)
CNMI-only transitional worker CW-1 (USCIS)
Crewmember D (NA)
Diplomat or foreign government official A (NA)
Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer B-1 (NA)
Employee of a designated international organization or NATO   G1-G5, NATO (NA)
Exchange visitor J SEVIS
Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States A-2
NATO1-6
(NA)
Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics O USCIS
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
Chile, Singapore
H-1B1 – Chile
H-1B1 – Singapore
DOL
International cultural exchange visitor Q USCIS
Intra-company transferee L USCIS
Medical treatment, visitor for B-2 (NA)
Media, journalist I (NA)
NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada TN/TD (NA)
Performing athlete, artist, entertainer P USCIS
Physician J , H-1B SEVIS
Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor) J SEVIS
Religious worker R USCIS
Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge H-1B DOL then USCIS
Student: academic, vocational F, M SEVIS
Temporary agricultural worker H-2A DOL then USCIS
Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature. H-2B DOL then USCIS
Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor B-2 (NA)
Training in a program not primarily for employment H-3 USCIS
Treaty trader/treaty investor E (NA)
Transiting the United States C (NA)
Victim of Criminal Activity U USCIS
Victim of Human Trafficking T USCIS
Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) V (NA)
Renewals in the U.S. – A, G, and NATO Visas (NA)

*What the abbreviations above mean – Before applying for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the following is required:

  • DOL = The U.S. employer must obtain foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, prior to filing a petition with USCIS.
  • USCIS = U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval of a petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
  • SEVIS = Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
  • (NA) = Not Applicable – Additional approval by another U.S. government agency is not required prior to applying for a visa

Important Notes:

  • About this chart – It is not a complete list of all travel purposes for the visa category. Select a visa category webpage for more information. The chart lists almost all nonimmigrant visa categories, with the exception of several not listed above. Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 402.1 for all nonimmigrant visa categories.
  • Canadian NAFTA Professional workers – A visa not required; apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at border port of entry.
  • K nonimmigrant visas – For U.S. citizen fiancé(e) and spouse for immigration related purposes. Refer to Immigrant Visa Categories.

US Visa Requirements for Kenyans: Immigrant Visa Categories

The chart below contains different purposes for immigrating to the United States, and the related immigrant visa categories for which information is available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored <valign=”bottom”>Visa Category</valign=”bottom”>
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen IR1, CR1
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition K-3 *
Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S. K-1 *
Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4
Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens IR2, CR2, IR5, F1, F3, F4
Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents F2A, F2B
Employer Sponsored – Employment
Employment-Based Immigrants, including  (preference group):

  • Priority workers [First]
  • Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability [Second]
  • Professionals and Other Workers [Third]
  • Employment Creation/Investors [Fifth]
  • Certain Special Immigrants: [Fourth]
 

 

E1
E2

E3, EW3

C5, T5, R5, I5

S (many**)

Religious Workers SD, SR
Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters SI
Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government SQ
Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government SQ
Other Immigrants
Diversity Immigrant Visa DV
Returning Resident SB

Important Notes:

*K Visas – Listed with immigrant visas because they are for immigration related purposes.

About this chart – This chart is a list of many immigrant visa categories, but not every immigrant visa category.

**Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 502.1 for a listing of all immigrant visa categories.

US Visa Requirements for Kenyans: How to Apply for USA Visa

All applicants are required to book an interview appointment on U.S. Visa Service website.

  • Start your application process by completing the visa application form DS-160.
  • Create an account at the website and fill out all your travel information.
  • Print out a deposit slip found in your account. You will use the slip to pay the visa application fee via mpesa or Postbank.
  • Once you have paid the application fee, enter the receipt number in your account on the Visa Service website.
  • Then, you will be taken to the calendar, where you can select your preferred appointment date.

Interview appointments are given on a first-come, first-served basis and the Embassy conduct interviews Monday through Thursday morning. Applicants without all the required documentation will not be interviewed.

US Visa Requirements for Kenyans: Documents  Required Before Applying For A USA Visa For Kenyan Citizens 

1.Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your period of stay in the United States. Each individual who needs a visa must submit a separate application, including any family members listed in your passport.

2.  Duly filled and signed Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in this Photograph Requirements.

3.  Your Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.

4. The purpose of your trip

Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country.

5. Financial records and statements showing your ability to pay all costs of the trip and during your stay in the United States.

If you cannot cover all the costs for your trip, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your trip.

6. Your intent to depart the United States after your trip. You must have return tickets to show they intend on leaving the United States according to the dates they have mentioned and validate the duration of stay.

7. You must not have any prior criminal cases or any ongoing cases

8.  Dates of your last five visits or trips to the United States, if you have previously traveled to the United States. You may also be asked for your international travel history for the past five years.

9. Resume or Curriculum Vitae – You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.

10.  Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.

USA Visa fees for Kenyan Citizens 

You will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of  $160.00 for the non-immigrant visa processing.  This is payable via Mpesa using the Paybill number 100202. You will show the Mpesa transaction message as a proof of payment at the embassy.

After the visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee and make arrangements for the return of the passport and visa to you.

Visa Processing

US Visa application processing is resolved within 2 – 3 calendar days after your interview. Your visa will be ready for pick-up or will be delivered by courier. For cases where administrative processing is required, it may take about 60 days for your application processing to be resolved.

Please visit the US Embassy in Kenya or visit their website for detailed visa information.

United State Embassy Office Address

United Nations Avenue Nairobi
P. O. Box 606 Village Market
00621 Nairobi, Kenya

If you have any questions about how to apply for a USA visa, please let us know in the comment box below.

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