Updated February 1, 2021
Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996 and the subsequent proclamations issued May 24, 2020, and January 25, 2021:
- The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe.
- The Republic of Ireland.
- The 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland).
- The Federative Republic of Brazil.
- The Islamic Republic of Iran.
- The People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
- The Republic of South Africa.
H-2 applicants should review https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/national-interest-exception-for-certain-h-2-travelers-from-south-africa.html for information on National Interest Exceptions for certain travelers from South Africa.
Click here to read the most recent Presidential Proclamation in full for detailed information.
H2A VISA HOLDERS AND APPLICANTS
If you have already received your approved H2A visa but it was not annotated with a National Interest Exception and you have imminent travel to the United States, fill out the below form. You will receive email notification when your National Interest Exception is processed.
If you are applying for an H2A visa as a farm worker and have not yet submitted your visa application, you do not need to fill out the below National Interest Exception request form. Go to https://ais.usvisa-info.com/ to apply for your visa and you will be considered for a National Interest Exception. If you have already submitted your H2A visa application via the Interview Waiver Program, but not yet received your visa, do not fill out the National Interest Exception request form. You will be considered for a National Interest Exception.
The travel restriction does not apply to:
- U.S. citizens.
- Legal permanent residents (LPRs).
- Most immediate family members of U.S. citizens.
- Other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.
If the travel restrictions apply to you and you do not qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the proclamation, or if you are unsure if the travel restrictions apply to you after reading the proclamation and this page in full, please complete and submit the form in this link:
For information on current COVID testing requirements for travel to the United States from the South Africa please see the CDC website. The Presidential Proclamation continues to apply to travelers from South Africa even with a negative COVID test.
The final decision on admission to the United States is made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. No assurances can be given in advance.
The United States Embassy and Consulates in South Africa remain unable to resume routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services at this time. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date. The MRV fee is valid and may be used to schedule an interview appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-za/niv or call our call center at +27 (0) 87 550 2160 to request an emergency appointment.
Applicants for H1B, H2B, H4, L and certain J categories covered by Presidential Proclamation 10052 should request an appointment only if you have reason to believe you may qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the Proclamation here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/.
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.
See our Directory of Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.
Travel to the United States on a temporary basis, including tourism, temporary employment, study and exchange.
For foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States.
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.
(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.)
The Visa Information Service Center (VISC) is open Monday to Friday, 8:00-20:00, for telephone calls to answer questions, accept payments, and book appointments.
From the U.S.: 1.703.988.7092
Customer Service Statement
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 every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
- 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.