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US Visa Application in South Africa: Fees and Eligibility Criteria

Applying for a US visa from South Africa can be challenging, but with proper planning and understanding of visa types, fees, and eligibility criteria, it becomes more manageable and achievable, ultimately achieving travel or immigration goals. This article provides a guide on US Visa Application in South Africa increasing the chances of a successful outcome and realize their travel or immigration goals. What is a US Visa?

A U.S. visa is a passport-sized permit allowing travel to the U.S., reviewed by a consular officer. To enter the United States, a foreign citizen typically obtains a U.S. visa, which is typically included in their passport. There are two main types: nonimmigrant visas for temporary stays, and immigrant visas for permanent residency.

Types of US Visas Available in South Africa

US Visa Application in South Africa: Fees and Eligibility Criteria
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Below is the most common types of U.S. visas available in South Africa:

Nonimmigrant Visas

  • B-1/B-2 Visa (Business/Tourist): The B-1 visa is the most common for temporary US visitors, allowing business or tourism purposes, with a 120-month validity period and a typical 6-month stay per visit.
  • C-1 Visa (Transit): This visa is for people who need to travel through the United States to get to a third country. The validity period is typically 60 months, and the maximum stay is usually less than 24 hours.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas allow permanent residence in the U.S., requiring petition from a U.S. citizen or LPR, and come in various categories.

  • Family-based visas: These visas are for people who have relatives who are U.S. citizens or LPRs.
  • Employment-based visas: These visas are for people who have been offered a job in the United States.
  • Diversity visa lottery: This visa lottery is for people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

How Much Does US Visa Cost in South Africa?

The application fee for a U.S. visa in South Africa is $160, non-refundable and payable at the visa appointment. Additional costs include consulate processing fees, medical examinations, and courier service fees, which are no longer required.

Eligibility Criteria for US Visa Application in South Africa

US visa applications in South Africa have unique eligibility criteria, varying based on visa type, but consular officers consider general factors when reviewing applications. Below are are some general factors that a consular officer will consider when reviewing your application:

  • The main reason for your trip to the U.S. This aligns with the type of visa you’re applying for (business, tourism, study, etc.).
  • The individual’s strong ties to South Africa, such as job opportunities, property ownership, or close family ties, indicate a strong desire to return to the country after their US visit.
  • You’ll need to show sufficient funds to cover your stay in the United States.
  • Your past travel history, including any previous visas you’ve held and your compliance with them.
  • You may be required to undergo background checks.

US Visa Application in South Africa

The U.S. visa application process in South Africa involves a few key steps:

Step 1 : Determine Your Visa Type

Determine the most suitable visa for your travel to the United States, consider the B-1/B-2 (business/tourism), C-1 (transit), and immigrant visas for permanent residence categories. Use the U.S. Department of State travel website or the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in South Africa’s Visa Wizard tool.

Step 2 :Complete the Online Application (DS-160)

Visit the Department of State website and fill out the DS-160 visa application form, which collects biographical data, travel plans, and other relevant information.

Step 3 :Pay the Application Fee and Schedule an Interview

Complete the DS-160 form, schedule an interview, and pay $160 online. Appointment availability may be limited due to high demand.

Step 4 :Gather Required Documents

While documents required can vary depending on the visa type, some general documents include:

  • A valid South African passport valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the U.S.
  • A copy of the DS-160 confirmation page.
  • A passport-sized photo.
  • Proof of financial resources to support your stay in the U.S.
  • Documentation for your purpose of travel (e.g., business invitation letter, proof of enrollment for studies).

The U.S. Embassy website provides a detailed list of required documents for each visa category [US embassy in south africa visas ON U.S. Embassy & Consulates in South Africa (.gov) za.usembassy.gov].

Step 5 :Attend the Visa Interview

During the interview, a U.S. consular officer will assess your visa eligibility, requiring you to provide information about your travel plans, South African connections, and purpose for U.S. visit.

Step 6 :Visa Application Processing

The consular officer will decide on your visa application, which typically takes 15 business days, and you’ll be notified when your Visa is ready for collection.

How To Track Your US Visa Application in South Africa

The US visa application process in South Africa does not a dedicated tracking system. However, you can check the status using the CEAC Status Tracker or contact the US Consulate if the CEAC status hasn’t been updated after 15 business days since the interview. The contact information can be found on the US Embassy & Consulates in South Africa website.(.gov) za.usembassy.gov]

What happens if my visa application is denied?If your visa application is denied, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for the denial. In some cases, you may have the option to appeal the decision or reapply for the visa.

Can I apply for multiple types of visas simultaneously? Yes, it is possible to apply for multiple types of visas simultaneously if you meet the eligibility criteria for each visa category. However, each application will be assessed independently.

US Embassy & Consulates in South Africa Contact Details

Location & Information

1 Sandton Drive
Phone: +27 (11) 290-3000
Fax: +27 (11) 884-0396

During regular business hours (Monday – Thursday: 8:00 to 5:00 p.m.; Friday: 8:00 to 12:00 noon):

  • From inside South Africa, dial 011-290-3000
  • From the U.S., dial: 00-27-11-290-3000

Further Reading >>Cost Of Traveling To South Africa: Broad Budget-Friendly Guide

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