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How to Apply

How to Apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa

How to Apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa

Step 1: Introduction: Learn more about the process. The answers to most general questions may be found in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

 Step 2: Prepare Photos: Visa applicants are required to upload a proper photo when filling in the visa application form, called the DS-160 form. Applicants must also bring a photo with them to their interview. Photo specifications are very exact. The following links may be accessed for information regarding visa photos for the application form DS-160:

 Step 3: Complete the Application:  All non-immigrant visa applicants are required to complete an electronic visa application form DS-160.  Upon completion of the required information, the form will be electronically transmitted, generating a biographical confirmation page that must be printed and submitted at the time of the visa interview.  Please bring the DS-160 confirmation page to your interview.

 Step 4: Make an Appointment: Appointments are made by visiting our online appointment system. Do not e-mail the Embassy asking for an appointment. Please visit the non-immigrant visas appointment website to book your appointment.  See at the bottom of this page for the expedited appointment policy and how to schedule group appointments.

Up-to-date information regarding our wait times can be found by following this link:

Step 5: Pay the Non-Refundable Visa Application Fee: Please consult our schedule of fees to determine the fee for your visa category.  This fee can be paid in Rwandan francs or U.S. dollars at BCR Main Branch Kigali, and the original receipt must be presented at the time of the interview.  There may be an additional fee for non-Rwandan nationals who are granted a visa; this fee will be collected at the time of the interview. You can see if your country has a reciprocity fee.  Please note that the visa application fee can only be paid at the Banque Commericale du Rwanda (BCR, now I&M Bank) main branch in the center of downtown Kigali.

 Step 6: Gather the Required Supporting Documentation: The following items must be brought to your interview:

  1. DS-160 biographical confirmation page,
  2. Non-refundable visa application fee bank receipt form BCR,
  3. Passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay in the United States,
  4. Passports containing all previous U.S. visas, even if expired,
  5. Appointment confirmation sheet,
  6. All required supporting documents for your visa type (see below),

For Visitors (B-1/B-2):  Applicants must demonstrate that they are properly classifiable as visitors under U.S. law by:

  • Evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip may be provided. It is impossible to specify the exact form the documentation should take as applicants' circumstances vary greatly.
  • Those applicants who do not have sufficient funds to support themselves while in the U.S. must present convincing evidence that an interested person will provide support. 
  • Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may provide other documentation substantiating the trip's purpose and specifying the nature of binding obligations, such as family ties or employment, which would compel their return abroad.

For Interns / Trainees (J-1): applicants must present Forms DS-2019 and 7002, issued by the sponsoring organization.

For Medical treatment: Please bring documents showing that a physician in the U.S. has agreed to treat you, cost of treatment, and means of payment.

For student visas (F-1/M-1): Applicants for student visas must submit the following documents in addition to those listed above:

  1. An original I-20 form issued by the educational institution;
  2. Proof of funds available to pay for one year of studies and travel;
  3. Evidence of academic preparation and English language skills that can include but are not limited to school diplomas, transcripts of grades, certificates of exams taken, and/or TOEFL exam score;
  4. Proof of payment of the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) fee. (Find additional information on paying the SEVIS feeYou MUST pay the SEVIS fee before arriving for the interview.

For more information on studying in the U.S. please visit the Education U.S.A. Website.

Step 7: Appear at the U.S. Embassy for your scheduled visa appointment: Arrive no more than five minutes before your scheduled interview.  You will not be permitted to enter the U.S. Embassy before your appointment time.  You will need to present ID at the Embassy Consular Entrance, and will be asked to leave their cell phones and other electronics at the guard post.

 Policy for Expedited Appointments

Visa applicants wishing to travel to the United States must apply for a visa and schedule an appointment online at: If there are no available appointments before the applicant’s intended travel date and the applicant has emergency travel or is applying for an F, J, or M type student visa, the applicant may request an expedited appointment. Emergency travel is defined as travel to attend a funeral or receive urgent medical attention, or urgent and unanticipated business travel. The applicant must schedule the first available appointment date and then write to requesting an expedited appointment.

Please note that expedited appointments are given in very limited cases; we strongly urge you to make an appointment as early as possible, as our appointment slots fill very quickly. The email must include the requesting person’s full name, date and destination of the intended travel, reason for travel, and must explain the reasons why an expedited appointment is required.  The Consular Section will review the applicant’s request and, if possible, will expedite the appointment to a date that will fit the applicant’s travel needs. There is no guarantee the applicant will receive an expedited appointment. If you email and have not completed each of these requirements or your reason for travel does not qualify for an expedited appointment, you will not receive a reply.

Bearers of diplomatic passports who are traveling to the U.S. for official travel can learn more about how to do so here.  Holders of diplomatic notes who are applying for visas for personal travel may request expedited appointments as well; these are not guaranteed but will be granted on a space-available basis.

Policy for Group Appointments: Groups of five or more applicants who plan to travel to the United States for the same reason and with the same intended destination or funding source may request a group appointment.  Please note that a family does not qualify as a group; a family must book individual appointments online.  Groups of student visa applications who are organized by local NGOs but attending different universities are also eligible for group appointments.  Unless the group’s attendance at a conference is clearly in the interest of U.S. foreign policy, conference attendees are not eligible for group appointments.  This determination is at the sole discretion of the Consular Section.  All group visa applicants will be processed and interviewed on the same day.