Bad news for first time South African US visa applicants - you can only get appointment in 2022

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Nov 4, 2021

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Fully-vaccinated travellers will get to visit the US from November 8. However, for first-time visa applicants, the process may take a little longer.

Jennifer Morris, the owner of Travel Savvy, said the first available appointments start from May 2022 in Durban and August 2022 for Cape Town and Johannesburg.

IOL Travel confirmed this with the US Embassy South Africa’s Visa Information Services.

The process, according to an agent, is ever-changing. He said appointments could be pushed forward or to a later date.

Morris said the delay to obtain a US visa impacts travel between South Africa and the US.

“Unless South African travellers already have visas, it’s impossible to visit the US until the third quarter of next year. The situation appears to be getting worse.

“There are approximately 80 000 South Africans living and working in the US, but anyone wanting to visit family is out of luck unless they already have a visa.

“Given that the US has been closed to South Africans since February, this means that some family members will not have seen each other for years by the time visa appointments come through,” she explained.

Morris is trying to secure visa appointments for South African students offered scholarships at US universities before the February 2022 term.

“After all the excitement generated by the reopening of US borders, the lack of visa appointments is a significant blow to South Africans desperate to travel,” she explained.

The visa application process

Travellers can visit ceac.state.gov to apply. The website will offer you visa options, from non-immigrant visas to immigrant visas.

Once you submit your application, you can move on to the next steps, such as scheduling your interview.

First-time visitors can apply for the DS-160 application. Once you have confirmation, print the page to take to your appointment.

Applicants are advised to create a user account on ais.usvisa-info.com

Once set up, it will provide you with the next available dates for an appointment. If satisfied with the dates, you can proceed with a payment of $160 (about R2 460). Travellers can pay by cash or credit card (this method is processed faster).

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