How to Apply for a US Visa: A Comprehensive Guide to Applying for a US Visa in Kenya

The United States is a popular destination for many Kenyan travelers due to its diverse landscapes, and opportunities. Whether you’re planning to visit for tourism, business, education, or family reunification, obtaining a US visa is an essential step in making your American dream a reality. In this guide, we will walk you through how to apply for a US visa in Kenya, covering the basic requirements and the different types of visas available to Kenyan applicants.

How to Apply for a US Visa: A Comprehensive Guide to Applying for a US Visa in Kenya
How to Apply for a US Visa : A Comprehensive Guide to Applying for a US Visa in Kenya . SRC: @Kenyanmoves

This application process can be straightforward if you carefully follow the required steps and provide accurate and complete information.

How to apply for US Visa Kenya and types of US visas

Before you start the application process, it’s crucial to understand the various types of visas available for Kenyan citizens.

The most common categories include:

1. Tourist Visa (B-2 Visa)

This visa is for those planning to visit the United States for leisure, such as tourism, visiting friends or relatives, or attending social events.

2. Business Visa (B-1 Visa)

If your purpose for travelling to the US is for business-related activities, such as meetings, conferences, or negotiations, you should apply for a B-1 visa.

3. Student Visa (F-1 Visa)

 If you intend to pursue academic or vocational studies in the US, you will need an F-1 student visa. This category includes visas for both degree and non-degree programs.

4. Exchange Visitor Visa (J-1 Visa)

If you’re participating in an exchange program, including academic, cultural, or scientific exchanges, you will require a J-1 visa.

5. Work Visa (H-1B, H-2B, L-1, etc.)

These visas are for individuals seeking employment opportunities in the United States. The specific type of work visa depends on your qualifications and job offer.

6. Family-Based Visa (IR-1, CR-1, F2A, F2B, etc.)

If you have close family members who are US citizens or permanent residents, you may be eligible for a family-based visa, allowing you to join them in the US.

7. Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery

The Diversity Visa program, also known as the Green Card Lottery, provides a limited number of immigrant visas to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

Kenyan citizens who participate in the DV lottery can stand a chance to obtain a green card and eventually become US permanent residents.

US visa application process in Kenya

Now, let’s explore the general steps and requirements for applying for a US visa in Kenya.

1. Determine the Type of Visa You Need

Start by identifying the specific US visa category that suits your purpose of travel. The requirements and application process may vary depending on the visa type.

2. Complete the Online Visa Application (DS-160)

Visit the official U.S. Department of State website and fill out the DS-160 form.

After completing the form, you’ll receive a confirmation page with a barcode that you need to print and keep for your records.

3. Pay the Visa Application Fee

Pay the non-refundable visa application fee, which varies depending on the visa category. You can pay this fee online through the U.S. Visa Information and Appointment Services website.

4. Create a Profile on the US Visa Information and Appointment Services Website

After paying the visa fee, create an account on the US Visa Information

After paying the visa fee, create an account on the US Visa Information and Appointment Services website. This profile will be used to schedule your visa appointment and track the status of your application.

5. Schedule a Visa Appointment

 Log in to your US Visa Information and Appointment Services profile and schedule a visa appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Kenya.

6. Gather Required Documents

Collect all the necessary supporting documents for your visa application.

These documents may include:

  • Your valid passport with at least six months of validity beyond your intended travel date.
  • DS-160 confirmation page with barcode.
  • Visa application fee receipt.
  • Passport-sized photos meeting the specific requirements.
  • Any additional documents required for your visa category (e.g., employment letter, invitation letter, financial documents, etc.).
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7. Attend the Visa Interview

On the scheduled date, appear at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for your visa interview.

Be sure to arrive on time and bring all the required documents. During the interview, a consular officer will ask you questions about your travel plans and intentions.

8. Pay the Visa Issuance Fee (if applicable)

If your visa application is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee. The fee amount depends on your visa category and reciprocity agreements between the United States and Kenya.

9. Submit Biometric Information (if required)

Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, you may be required to provide biometric information such as fingerprints and a photograph at the Visa Application Center.

10. Wait for Visa Processing

After the interview and biometric submission (if required), your visa application will undergo a review


This may take several weeks. You can track the status of your application through your US Visa Information and Appointment Services profile.

Visa Issuance

If your visa is approved, you will receive a visa stamp in your passport, allowing you to travel to the United States.

What next if my visa is denied?  

If your visa is denied, the consular officer will provide you with a reason for the denial, and you may reapply in the future if circumstances change.

Follow our above steps on how to apply for US visa in Kenya to fast-track your application process and enhance your chances of a successful visa application.

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Karancha Edrian

I'm a versatile content writer, mentor and pro cyclist.