What you need to know about applying for a U.S. visa |14 March 2023
Q: Citizens and residents of Seychelles often have questions about how to apply for a U.S. visa. How does one apply to visit the U.S.?
A: As part of our effort to deepen and expand our relationship with Seychelles, the U.S. recently assigned a U.S. diplomat to Victoria. The new U.S. ambassador to Mauritius and Seychelles, Henry Jardine, is planning to present his credentials to President Ramkalawan in March. Providing the best possible consular service to citizens and residents of Seychelles is an important part of that relationship. U.S. consular interests continue to be represented by the U.S. embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius. Visa services have been handled out of Mauritius for many years. We understand that this adds a degree of difficulty for citizens and residents of Seychelles to apply for U.S. visas, particularly for first-time applicants. Full details of how to apply for a visa can be found on the U.S. embassy Port Louis website at http://mu.usembassy.gov. Your specific visa questions should be directed to the Consular Section inbox for the fastest response at PTLConsular@state.gov.
Q: Do U.S. visa applicants always have to travel to Mauritius?
A: No. At the embassy we take advantage of all existing legal and procedural flexibility to minimize the number of applicants who are required to come to Mauritius. For example, we have expanded our interview waiver programme so that only those who under current U.S. immigration regulations are absolutely required to be present in person must come to the embassy to complete their visa applications. What this means in practice is that if you have been issued a visa in the past, we may be able to use these expanded authorities to renew that visa up to 4 years after its expiration. That means that if you had a 10-year visa issued on or after this date in 2009, you may be able to renew without an interview. Seychelles citizens or residents who are under the age of 14 or over 79 aren’t required to come to Mauritius for interview.
In general, you are eligible for the visa waiver programme if you are applying for the same type of visa you had previously and there have been no changes to your nationality, name, or other key biographical data. You also cannot have incorrectly used your previous visa.
For those renewing or eligible for issuance waiving interview, the application form (DS-160) must be submitted online and then the completed packet must be sent to the embassy by courier service or mail, including:
- Your passport (including the old passport with the visa you are renewing)
- A recent color photo without glasses (less than 6 months old)
- The application fee by bank check in USD
- The printed application confirmation
Full details of how to renew a visa can be found on the U.S. embassy Port Louis website at http://mu.usembassy.gov. Your specific visa questions should be directed to the Consular Section inbox for the fastest response at PTLConsular@state.gov.
- First-time visa applicants who are between the ages of 14 and 79, must come to the embassy in Port Louis for interview and for the collection of biometrics (fingerprints). The same is true for those who want to renew a visa that has been expired for more than four years. We understand that there are limited flight options, so if you do not see an appointment available during the time that you can travel to Mauritius for the interview, then please book the next available appointment and send an email explaining your situation and requesting your appointment be expedited to an earlier date. Whenever possible we will work with you to find an available visa appointment slot during your trip.
Q: What about F-1 or M-1 Student Visas? Who is qualified to seek one?
An F-1 visa is required to study in the U.S. at universities, private secondary or elementary schools, or language training programmes. For study at a vocational or non-academic institution, an M-1 visa is required.
Once you are accepted to a U.S. institution of higher learning, you will receive an I-20 form from the school. The I-20 specifies the visa you will need and indicates your programme start date. Upon receipt of the I-20, you may complete the online application (DS-160).
You may not be required to come to the U.S. embassy for an interview if you have had a prior U.S. visa. If you are applying for an F-1 or M-1 Student Visa and have previously been issued a U.S. visa, please contact the consular section at PTLConsular@state.gov for guidance on whether this exception applies to you.
Remember to visit our website (https://mu.usembassy.gov/)for further information. All applicants must fill out and submit the DS-160 visa application online, upload a current photo, arrange to pay the visa fee either at the embassy in cash in US dollars or Mauritian Rupees or via bank check in US dollars, and submit your passport.
You can find more information about how to travel to the United States on our website, https://mu.usembassy.gov/. Keep on top of embassy news on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/usembassy.portlouisand by following @USEmbassyMoris on Twitter.
Contributed by the US embassy to Mauritius and Seychelles