Visas

Important Notice:

The consular exchange rate has increased from 650 CFA per 1 USD to 700 CFA per 1 USD. As such, fees for consular services will be more expensive if you are paying in CFA. Please ensure you bring enough money to your appointment to pay necessary fees. You can find a complete fee schedule on the Department of State’s website: Fees for Visa Services (state.gov) ”

Note: Each fee is rounded UP to the nearest 1,000 FCFA

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Embassy Cotonou continues to have reduced capacity to process nonimmigrant visas.  We are currently offering as many appointments as local conditions, resources, and safety considerations allow.  Any applicant with symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, or fever must reschedule their interview.  Masks are required for all individuals aged 2 and above in the consular waiting room.

All appointments for nonimmigrant visa interviews (other than for diplomats and officials (A and G)) must be made through our appointment scheduling service.

While U.S. Embassy Cotonou aims to process visa cases as soon as practicable, there are increased wait times and substantial backlogs, and we will be unable to accommodate many requests for expedited appointments.  We regret that we will not be able to interview all applicants before their desired travel dates.

We will keep adding more appointments as capacity allows.  New calendar months open six months in advance.  Applicants may book appointments even if their travel plans are not immediate to facilitate future business and tourist travel to the United States.  We encourage applicants who need an earlier appointment to regularly check the appointment scheduling website.

Expedited appointment availability is extremely limited. The majority of requests cannot be accommodated.

If your unforeseen travel need meets one of the criteria listed below, you may request an expedited appointment:

  • Death/funeral of a close relative
  • F, M, or J program students or exchange visitors who need to begin or resume a valid program of study starting before the first available appointment date
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that have rolling admissions DO NOT qualify for expedite appointments
    • Requests for F, M, and J expedites must include a copy of your passport, I-20, and SEVIS payment receipt.
  • Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler with life threatening emergencies
  • Urgent business travel of particular concern to an American business.

Please send an email requesting an expedited appointment explaining the reasons for your request. The consular staff will evaluate your case and get back to you with an answer via email. Once at the interview you will be asked to present documentary evidence to prove the urgency.

Several factors, including the purpose of your intended travel, will determine what type of visa you will be required to have under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, it is your responsibility to prove to the Consular Officer that you meet all of the requirements for the category of visa for which you are applying. See our Directory of Visa Categories 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.).

The Consular Section of the United States Embassy in Cotonou, Benin is committed to providing visa services respectfully, efficiently, and in accordance with U.S. law.

To assist and protect American citizens in Benin, and to facilitate travel to the United States.

To improve U.S. border security by identifying those not eligible for visas, while welcoming legitimate travelers who greatly contribute to America’s social and economic well-being.

Local Contact Information:

Immigrant Visas: IVCotonou@state.gov

Diversity Visas : IVCotonou@state.gov

Non-Immigrant Visas: NIVCotonou@state.gov

 

Phone : (229) 21 30 06 50

Fax : (229) 21 30 66 82

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 theinterview 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 onhttp://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.