Visas

Malawi is now in its fourth wave of COVID-19 and is seeing testing positivity rates greater than 40% and vaccine rates under 5%.  

Nonimmigrant visa processing will resume when local conditions improve.  When normal operations resume, applicants with appointments who were scheduled from November 29-December 17 and adversely impacted by the Presidential Proclamation will be given interview priority, followed by first time student applicants.  Returning students going to the same school, with the same visa type, may e-mail us to participate in the visa interview waiver program. 

We continue to accept requests for emergency appointments for humanitarian/emergency cases. Please note that student or employment-based visas are not emergency cases and do not qualify for exceptions.

If the consul determines your case meets our strict guidelines designed to protect our applicants and our staff, you will be given an appointment as quickly as the embassy can safely accommodate your interview.

Humanitarian/emergency cases may include an immediate relative’s death, grave illness, or life-threatening accident taking place in the United States. Immediate relatives are defined as parents, children, or siblings of the applicant.

If you believe your case qualifies for an appointment under the humanitarian/emergency guidelines above, or as a returning student to the same school in the same visa class, please contact LilongweConsular@state.gov and use “Qualifying NIV Appointment Request” as the subject of your message. Please include evidence of your exception. For example, if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR, please include photos or scans of proof of your spouse’s citizenship or LPR status and marriage license. If you are the parent of a U.S. citizen or LPR, please include photos or scans of proof of your unmarried, under 21 years of age, child’s citizenship/status and a birth certificate clearly indicating you as the parent or a court document clearly identifying you as the legal guardian. If you are a returning student, please provide a copy of your previous visa and your current I-20. 

Please note that noncitizens who are nonimmigrants and seeking to enter the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States from a foreign country.

If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will NOT be allowed to board a flight to the United States, unless you meet the criteria for an exception under the Presidential Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic and CDC’s Order.

Categories of noncitizen nonimmigrants that meet the criteria for an exception under the Proclamation and CDC’s Order include:

  • Persons on diplomatic or official foreign government travel
  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Persons with documented medical contraindications to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Participants in certain COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • Persons issued a humanitarian or emergency exception
  • Persons with valid visas [excluding B-1 (business) or B-2 (tourism) visas] who are citizens of a foreign country with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or their spouses or children (under 18 years of age)
  • Sea crew members traveling with to a C-1 and D nonimmigrant visa
  • Persons whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, or Secretary of Homeland Security (or their designees)

If you travel by air under one of these exceptions, you will be required to attest that you are excepted from the requirement to present Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 based on one of the exceptions listed above. Based on the category of the exception, you may further be required to attest that:

  1. You will be tested with a COVID-19 viral test 3–5 days after arrival in the United States, unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days;
  2. You will self-quarantine for a full 7 days, even if the test result to the post-arrival viral test is negative, unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days; and
  3. You will self-isolate if the result of the post-arrival test is positive or if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Based on the category of the exception, if you intend to stay in the United States for longer than 60 days you may additionally be required to attest that

  • You agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19; and
  • You have arranged to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within 60 days of arriving in the United States, or as soon thereafter as is medically appropriate, unless (for children) you are too young to be vaccinated.

A parent or other authorized person should attest on behalf of a passenger under 18 years old. An authorized person may attest on behalf of any passenger who is unable sign their own attestation (e.g., because they are too young, or because of physical or mental impairment).

If you are a noncitizen nonimmigrant and are fully vaccinated, make sure your vaccine and proof of vaccination are acceptable to board a flight to the United States.

For additional information on recommendations and requirements before and during travel to the United States and after arriving in the United States, visit Non-U.S. citizen Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States

The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine whether you qualify for travel and if so, 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 to determine which visa category may be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States and see our fees for visa services, noting that some additional reciprocity fees apply in some countries.

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 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.