Visas

The U.S. Embassy in Asmara is open for routine nonimmigrant visa services. Due to resource constraints, the consular section is only able to offer routine appointments to individuals who reside permanently in Eritrea. If you are a resident of Eritrea and wish to schedule a visa appointment, you may call the consular section Monday through Thursday from 4PM to 5PM or Friday from 11:30AM to 1:30PM at (+291)1-12-0004. You may also schedule online here or by email via consularasmara@state.gov.

The consular section has a limited capacity to schedule emergency appointments for non-resident applicants who have an urgent need to travel to the United States for medical care, a family emergency, or to join an academic program or employment offer with an upcoming start date. We do not have the capacity to accept appointment requests from applicants who have been previously refused for the same purpose of travel. Non-resident applicants may request an appointment by email to consularasmara@state.gov only; appointments made in our online system by non-resident applicants who do not have prior email approval will be cancelled.  

Please note that certain restrictions on the issuance of visas to citizens of Eritrea by the U.S. Embassy in Asmara remain in place (see below).

The Secretary of State has ordered consular officers in Eritrea to implement additional visa restrictions effective January 15, 2021.

Under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), when notified by the Secretary of Homeland Security that a particular country has denied or unreasonably delayed accepting the return of one of its nationals, the Secretary of State must order consular officers in that country to discontinue granting any or all visas until the Secretary of State is informed by the Secretary of Homeland Security otherwise.

As a result of Eritrea’s continued lack of cooperation in issuing travel documents and accepting the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States, consular officers in Eritrea are ordered to discontinue granting all nonimmigrant visas (NIVs) except for A1, A2, C2, C3, G1, G2, G3, G4, NATO1, NATO2, NATO3, NATO4, NATO5, and NATO6 visas, and others whose travel is covered by Section 11 of the UN Headquarters Agreement to citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of Eritrea.  Limited exceptions exist for applicants who are travelling for humanitarian or emergency reasons or whose travel serves U.S. national interests. 

If you believe you qualify for an INA 243(d) exception, you can apply for an NIV but visa fees will not be refunded. 

  • If it is determined that you are not eligible, your visa application will be denied (refused) and you will be provided a reason for the denial.
  • If it is determined that you are eligible but the requested 243(d) exception does not apply, you will be notified that the visa will not be issued because of 243(d). In this case, your application will be reconsidered when the 243(d) order has been lifted and visa issuance resumes.  You may be asked to return to the Embassy for a second interview and/or to provide additional documentation when the 243(d) order has been lifted.
  • If it is determined that you qualify for the visa and the exception applies, your visa will be issued.

Consular operations at the U.S. embassy in Asmara will continue. These visa restrictions do not affect other consular services provided, including adjudication of applications from individuals not covered by the suspension.

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. Applicants from outside of Eritrea may apply here for a visa, but language difficulties and interviewing officers’ unfamiliarity with local conditions in your country may make it more difficult to demonstrate your visa qualifications here than in your home country or country of permanent residence.

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.

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.).

Consular Section
U.S. Embassy Asmara
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Asmara, Eritrea

ConsularAsmara@state.gov (we answer emails within two business days.)

Fax: (+291)1-12-4255

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.