Step 1. Check the Validity of Your Passport
Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States, unless exempt by country-specific agreements (PDF, 57 KB). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
Step 2. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
- Completed Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
Please note that you must answer EVERY question on the application forms. If the answer to a question is “none,” please write “none”(Do not leave it blank). Incomplete/incorrect forms will be returned and will require you to schedule a new interview appointment.
Important! Many of our visa applicants are completing the DS-160 incorrectly, causing us to postpone their planned visa interview dates.
Step 3. Collect any Supporting Documentation
Only a passport, DS-160 confirmation page, a 2 x 2 inch color photo not older than 6 months – with a light or white background, and the forms listed in Step 2 are required for the visa interview. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
- The purpose of your trip;
- Your intent to depart the United States after your trip; and/or
- Your ability to pay all costs of the trip.
Note: Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant’s residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a nonimmigrant tourist visa. If you do choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember that it is not one of the factors that we use in determining whether to issue or deny a nonimmigrant tourist visa.
Step 4. Schedule an Interview Appointment
To schedule an appointment for a non-immigrant visa (NIV) interview, please consult the Embassy’s online NIV Appointment System. Please have your DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form Confirmation Number handy. It is located on your DS-160 confirmation page, in bold print.
Step 5. Submit Your Passport and Visa Application Forms
On the day of your interview, bring with you to the Embassy the completed DS-160 confirmation sheet 2 inch x 2 inch color photo (white background, no glasses, not older than 6 months), a valid passport, and the visa application fee.
Step 6. Pay the MRV Fee
On the day of your interview, please pay the following nonrefundable visa application fees: $ 160 for B-1 (Business) and B-2 (Tourism & Visit) nonimmigrant visas; $ 190 for H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas; and $ 270 for E visas.
All fees must be paid in cash and in either U.S. Dollars or Malawian Kwacha (currencies cannot be mixed).
Step 7. Interview for your visa with the Consular Officer
During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
Step 8. Pay the Visa Issuance Fee
Previously, the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe was able to issue Malawian citizens 10-year, multiple entry visas—this is our standard around the world. However, the Government of Malawi instituted new visa regulations in October 2015 for U.S. citizens traveling to Malawi, including limited visa validity and new fees. For example, a U.S. citizen must now pay US$300 for a 12-month, multiple entry visa to Malawi. U.S. visa policy is based on the principle of reciprocity. So, in response, the United States Embassy had no choice but to match the same validity and fees charged by the Malawian government to U.S. citizens.
If you are approved for a visitor’s visa to the United States, often called a B1/B2, the visa will be valid for a single entry within three months of the date of issuance. For example, if your B1/B2 visa was issued on February 16, 2016, it would expire May 15, 2016.
Because it is a single-entry visa, you would have to reapply for a new visa if you wanted to return to the United States, even on the same trip. For example, if you entered the United States on March 1, 2016, and decided to take a short side trip to Canada or Mexico, you would need a new visa before reentering the United States.
If your visa is approved, you have the option of paying an additional reciprocity fee at the time of issuance to extend its validity. Those fees are listed below:
Multiple entry visa valid for 6 months: US$60
Multiple entry visa valid for 12 months: US$140
If your visa is approved, and you would like to pay the additional fees for a longer validity visa, please inform the Consular Officer during your visa interview. Otherwise, if your visa is approved, you will be issued a single entry visa valid for three months.
Step 9. Return to Collect Your Passport and Visa
If you are issued the visa, return the following workday at 4:00 pm to collect your passport and visa.