US visa for Kenyan citizens
Kenyan citizens need to get a visa to enter the United States in most cases. An exception is if you have dual citizenship, in which your other citizenship is a country in the Visa Waiver program. In this case, you would need the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to enter the US.
- Types of US visas for Kenya
- US visa application in Kenya
- How long can a Kenyan citizen stay in the US on a visa?
- Get a US visa photo for applications in Kenya online
This article will break down the basics of applying for a US visa, especially as this is the case that applies to most.
Types of US visas for Kenya
In the big picture, US visas are divided into two categories:
- Non-immigrant. This category is intended for tourists, entrepreneurs, students, or employees who will spend some time in the United States for a specific purpose and not relocate and live in the country. In fact, applicants must prove that they are not immigrating by showing the ties they have to their home country;
- Immigrant. These visas are issued to persons planning to live in the United States permanently.
In any case, obtaining a US visa usually involves filling out applications, collecting paperwork, and passing your interview(s) at your local American embassy or consulate.
This article will focus more on non-immigrant visas, especially the visitor visas (B1 and B2), as it is the kind of visa most applied for, and explains the basics of other visas as well.
US visa application in Kenya
In Kenya, US visa applications are handled by a third-party company: Applicant Service Centers. Here are the steps of applying for a visa in Kenya.
Complete the DS-160 form
Register and apply on the Applicant Service Centers site
Register on the company’s website. Fill out your details, input your DS-160 confirmation number, and follow all the needed instructions.
Pay for the visa application fee
The fee differs for different types of visas. Most visitor visas to the U.S. cost $160.
You can choose to pay by cash by following the instructions on the website. Or, use Safaricom M-Pesa.
Schedule your appointment
Schedule your visa appointment on the site.
Attend the appointment
After you have your appointment scheduled, attend it and come on time. Have the needed documents with you:
- Current passport, valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the United States;
- A passport containing the most recently issued U.S. visa (if applicable);
- Form DS-160 confirmation page;
- Confirmation and Instructions page printed from the website;
- Visa application photo that fulfills requirements;
- Unless entering the United States for another purpose, Accompanying family members should present a marriage certificate (spouse) or birth certificate (for unmarried children under 21).
US visa photo requirements for applications in the Philippines
Your application photo must fulfill the following criteria:
- The picture must not be older than six months;
- The photo’s background must be plain white;
- The US visa photo size is 2x2 inches (5x5 cm) in print and 600 - 1200 pixels in digital;
- Face to photo ratio: your face should occupy about 70% of the picture.
Here’s an example of a US visa photo:
Follow instructions and track your application
Follow the instructions given at the appointment and track your application on the servicing company website.
How long can a Kenyan citizen stay in the US on a visa?
Depending on the visa type, you can stay in the US from mere days (for example, with transit visas) to years (such as with employment visas and student visas). The same type of visas may vary in the period; for example, if you’re getting a US visa for an internship, its validity may depend on your training period. B1 and B2 visa (visitor visa) holders are allowed to stay in the US for up to 6 months at a time.
Get a US visa photo for applications in Kenya online
As mentioned above, US visa photos have to follow specific requirements to be accepted. To make sure that your images are compliant down to the minor details, we recommend you trust your photo editing to a professional tool like Visafoto, so that the processing company and embassy will accept them.
Just upload a portrait of yourself taken in appropriate lighting, with proper dress code, and adequately posed: look straight to the camera and keep a neutral expression. Visafoto will take care of the rest.
Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here, and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport, or ID.
You will get two files from Visafoto: a digital photo for electronic applications and a template ready for printing, so you’re covered in whichever mode of application you use.