All Kenyan citizens travelling to the USA need to have a visa in order to be allowed to enter the country. However, the nature of the visit determines the type of visa one can apply. They are divided into two categories; Immigrant and non-Immigrant visas. Immigrant Visas are given to Kenyans who want to live permanently in the United States while non-immigrant visas are given to Kenyan citizens who want to visit the USA for a temporary purpose.
1. Non-Immigrant ( Temporary) Visas
These type of visas is usually applied by Kenyans visiting the USA for a short period of time i.e for business, medical, tourist, visiting family, student, transit visas or even visas to carry out religious work. They are valid for up to 6 months.
Nonimmigrant Visa Categories
Purpose of Travel
Required: Before applying for visa*
Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)
Au pair (exchange visitor)
Australian professional specialty
Border Crossing Card: Mexico
CNMI-only transitional worker
Diplomat or foreign government official
Domestic employee or nanny - must be accompanying a foreign national employer
An employee of a designated international organization or NATO
Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States
Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional:
H-1B1 - Chile
International cultural exchange visitor
Medical treatment, visitor for
NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada
Performing athlete, artist, entertainer
Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)
Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge
DOL then USCIS
Student: academic, vocational
Temporary agricultural worker
DOL then USCIS
Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.
DOL then USCIS
Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor
Training in a program not primarily for employment
Treaty trader/treaty investor
Transiting the United States
Victim of Criminal Activity
Victim of Human Trafficking
Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)
Before applying got a visa at the U.S. Embassy or consulate, the following may be required:
- DOL – The U.S. employer must obtain a 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 petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
- SEVIS – Program approval entered into 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.
1. Visitor Visa
Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for Kenyans who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2)
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.
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.
How to Apply
1. Complete the Online Visa Application here and print the application form DS-160 which you will be required to carry to the interview. During the filling form DS-160, you will be required to upload your photo which must meet these photo requirements.
Please take your time and care to answer all questions on the DS-160 accurately and completely; otherwise, you may have to correct your application and reschedule your visa interview appointment.
2. Schedule an Interview
All Kenyan applicants are required to schedule an interview as part of Visa application. Interviews are scheduled at the Kenyan USA Embassy which is located along the United Nations Avenue in Nairobi.
An officer at the USA Embassy will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive the appropriate visa for your travel. You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a visa. Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken during the process. Usually, the interview takes up to 10 minutes long.
Note: The waiting time for an interview at the USA Embassy in Kenya is 30 days according to the latest announcement from the embassy.
If you are age:
Then an interview is:
13 and younger
Generally not required
Required (some exceptions for renewals)
80 and older
Generally not required
Below are the estimated wait time for different visas. Advance travel planning and early visa application are important
Non-immigrant Visa Type
Appointment Wait Time
1 Calendar Day
Student/Exchange Visitor Visas
1 Calendar Day
All Other Non-immigrant Visas
1 Calendar Day
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 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.
USA Visa Processing Time in Kenya
The USA visa processing time is 2 days in Kenya.
- Applicants for non- immigrant visas are not allowed to accept employment or work in the United States during the visit.
- There is no guarantee you will be issued with a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
- If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.
2. USA Student Visas for Kenyan Citizens
These type of visas are issued to Kenyan citizens who wish to study in the United States of America.Visas for New students can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the start date for a course of study. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on your student visa more than 30 days before the start date. Continuing students can be issued with a visa any time as long as the student is currently enrolled at a SEVP-approved school or institution and in SEVIS. Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before classes start.
How to Apply
1. Complete the Online Visa Application
- Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application by filling and completing Form DS-160 then print the application form at the end which you will bring to the interview. During this process, remember to upload your photo which must meet these photo format requirements.
You must gather and prepare the following required documents before your student visa interview:
1. You must have a Kenyan passport which must be valid at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States.
2. Duly completed and signed Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160.
3. Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
4. Your Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in this Photograph Requirements.
5. Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20 – Your school will send you a Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20. All students must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Your spouse and/or minor children, if they intend to live in the United States with you, will each receive an individual Form I-20.
During the interview at the Kenyan USA Embassy, the officer interviewing you may ask for the following documents :
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
- Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school
- A proof of your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study and How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.
After confirming you have all the required documents, schedule an interview and make sure you have the non-refundable visa application fee of $160. It will take 2 working days to process your Visa. ( Please refer to above Visitor Visa for additional details)
USA Embassy Kenya Contacts
US Embassy in Kenya is located along the United Nations Avenue in Nairobi.
Phone: +254 20 363-6000
Fax: +254 20 363-6157
P. O. Box 606 Village Market
Facebook: U.S. Embassy Nairobi