Visas

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.

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.

Effective December 31, 2021, the Presidential Proclamation suspending entry of those who have been present in Botswana and other southern African countries has been revoked, and travel may now resume in accordance with the guidelines below.

On October 25, President Biden announced the United States will adopt a global air travel policy. This policy prioritizes public health, protecting U.S. citizens and residents as well as those who come to visit us. 

Effective November 8 all non-citizen, nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or individuals traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) airline passengers traveling to the United States, must demonstrate proof of vaccination as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Order prior to boarding a U.S. bound aircraft. More details regarding what constitutes full vaccination are available on this page of the CDC website. Note that children under 18 years of age are exempt from the vaccination requirement, as are certain other limited categories, available here.

All travelers will be required to show a pre-departure negative test taken within one (1) calendar day of travel to the United States prior to boarding. This applies to all travelers – U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), immigrants, and foreign nationals. 

Children between the ages of two and 17 who are not fully vaccinated may board a flight to the United States with a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test conducted on a specimen collected no more than one day before departure if accompanied by fully vaccinated parents or guardians. 

If you had a positive viral test on a sample collected during the past 90 days, and you met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with your positive viral test results and a signed letter from a healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.” You will also be required to confirm that the information you present is true in the form of an attestation.

If traveling unaccompanied or if one or more of the parents or guardians accompanying the child is not fully vaccinated, the child must present a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test on a specimen collected no more than one day before departure.  Children younger than two years of age are not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test; U.S. citizens traveling from countries that do not have adequate COVID-19 testing capacity can submit a request for an exemption to the CDC through the nearest U.S. embassy.

Passengers will need to show their vaccination status, and airlines will need to:

Match the name and date of birth to confirm the passenger is the same person reflected on the proof of vaccination.

  • Determine that the record was issued by an official source (e.g., public health agency, government agency) in the country where the vaccine was given.
  • Review the essential information for determining if the passenger meets CDC’s definition for fully vaccinated such as vaccine product, number of vaccine doses received, date(s) of administration, site (e.g., vaccination clinic, healthcare facility) of vaccination.

Airlines must deny boarding to passengers who do not meet these requirements or those who test positive for COVID-19.

Requests for Vaccination or Pre-Departure Testing Exceptions: If a traveler needs to travel for humanitarian or emergency reasons and cannot meet the vaccination or pre-departure testing requirements, it is possible to request an exception to the rules be granted. The CDC will adjudicate and approve or deny all requests for exception to the vaccination requirement for humanitarian or emergency reasons. As the Order has been issued to reduce introduction of the known COVID variants, as well as future variants, CDC has instructed that the criteria for exceptions are narrow, and the urgency must be readily apparent. Individuals may request a waiver through Embassy Gaborone. 

For additional information or if you have specific questions, please contact your airline and visit the CDC’s website.

NOTE: U.S. citizens in countries where adequate COVID-19 testing is not available or who may not be able to satisfy the requirements, should be prepared to remain in place until such time as they can meet the requirements.

Actions to Take:

  • Monitor the CDC website for the latest guidance regarding testing requirements.
  • Check with your air carriers or travel representative prior to departure for the United States.
  • Check COVID-19 Country Specific Information pages for updated information on COVID-19 related to the availability of testing.
  • Visit Travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
  • Click here for our Travel to the U.S. FAQs.

Immigrant Visas

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.).

Physical Address: Embassy Drive, Government Enclave, Gaborone, Botswana
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 90 Gaborone, Botswana
Consular Information Line: (+267) 373-2201
U.S. Citizen Services: (+267) 373-2322
After Hours Emergency (U.S. Citizens Only): (+267) 373-2222
Consular FAX Line: (+267) 318-0232
Email: ConsularGaborone@State.Gov

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. Provided the student has a completed DS-160, proof of paid SEVIS fees and active/initial SEVIS status.
  • 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.