TRAVEL ALERT: On November 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of State announced it will change its Travel Advisory for South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe to Level 4 – Do Not Travel – due to the newly identified COVID-19 Omicron variant. In a Statement on the Omicron COVID-19 Variant and a Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease, President Biden introduced additional air travel restrictions from these eight countries that took effect on November 29, 2021. At this time, we do not have further information on qualifying national interest exceptions to this Presidential Proclamation.
Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Visa Operating Status: The U.S. Consulates General in South Africa are conducting visa interviews and accepting interview waiver applications only for applicants who are not subject to the Proclamation. This includes some immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, individuals traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the COVID virus, and those travelling as air or sea crew, among very limited others. If you fall into one of these categories and are unable to schedule an immediate appointment or interview waiver please follow instructions at https://ais.usvisa-info.com to request an expedited appointment or email your nearest U.S. Consulate. If you are eligible to apply for or renew your visa under the interview waiver program, we strongly encourage you do so. Eligibility is determined based on the answers provided to questions during the online appointment scheduling process.
We will re-evaluate this posture should travel restrictions change or be lifted. For those whose visa appointments have been cancelled, the MRV fee is valid until September 30, 2022 or a year from your payment date, whichever is longer, and may be used to schedule an interview appointment in the country where it was purchased. Visit the Department of State’s visa services operating status update and this page for the latest updates. For questions regarding scheduling an appointment online, requesting an expedited appointment, or renewing your U.S. visa via courier, please call +27 87 550 2160. Customer service center agents are available Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm local time.
COVID Vaccination Requirement: Effective November 8, 2021, President Biden introduced a global vaccination requirement that all adult foreign nationals (age 18 and older) traveling to the United States be required to demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to their airline prior to boarding a flight. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website explains that, for purposes of entry into the United States, the accepted vaccines will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. Please see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html for more information. Please also visit Requirements for Air Travelers to the U.S. and FAQs on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing for International Travel.
COVID Testing Requirements: On December 2, President Biden announced new actions to protect Americans against the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19, including strengthening global pre-departure testing protocols. Starting the week of December 6, the United States will require all inbound international travelers over the age of 2 years old, including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, to take a COVID test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding and deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery. Visit the CDC’s interactive Travel Assessment tool and CDC’s international travel guide for details of testing requirements.
Immigrant and Fiancé(e) Visas: All U.S. immigrant and fiancé(e) visas for citizens and residents of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Lesotho and Swaziland are processed through the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg. If your petition is still pending with USCIS, please contact USCIS Customer Service at https://www.uscis.gov/contactcenter. After USCIS approves the petition, you can contact the Department of State’s National Visa Center (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/national-visa-center.html) regarding scheduling. If your case has been scheduled and forwarded to the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, you may direct all inquiries to JohannesburgIV@state.gov.
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, 09:00-17:00, 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.