Declare amounts over $10,000
Declare amounts over $10,000
See our Fact Sheet on Eritrea for additional information on U.S.-Eritrea relations.
Requirements for Entry:
Electronic items: All electronic items (laptops, mobile phones, cameras etc) should be declared upon arrival. Failure to do so may result in their confiscation by customs officials when you depart.
Receipts: Visitors must save all receipts for purchases and foreign exchange and present these upon departure. Failure to report foreign currency or electronics, or meet customs requirements usually results in confiscation, fine and imprisonment.
Exit Visas: U.S.-Eritrean dual nationals who enter the country on an Eritrean passport or national ID card must obtain an exit visa prior to departure. All long-term residents must also obtain an exit visa.
Departure Tax: There is a $20 airport departure tax normally included in airline ticket prices.
HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Eritrea.
Eritrea experiences persistent food, water, and fuel shortages.
Travel Permits: All foreign nationals, including U.S. Embassy officials, are required to obtain permits to travel outside of Asmara. Applications for travel permits are available at the two Ministry of Tourism offices located on Harnet Avenue and Airport Road. If you encounter difficulties while outside of the Asmara area, the Embassy’s ability to provide consular services may be limited.
Avoid travel to all border regions due to ongoing instability, crime, kidnapping, and unmarked minefields throughout the country. Borders may close without notice.
Avoid remote Eritrean islands, some of which may have military facilities.
Landmines: Landmines continue to occasionally cause death and injury. Exercise caution in remote areas or off main roads. Avoid walking and hiking in the countryside. Use caution particularly around:
Crime: Crime in Eritrea is increasing. While most reported criminal incidents in Asmara involve crimes of opportunity, car and home burglaries and sexual assaults are on the rise.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible. Report crimes to the local police at (291)-1-127-799 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (291)1-120-004.
In Asmara and throughout Eritrea, in an emergency, dial
(291)1-127-799 for the police
(291)1-202-099 for the fire department
(291)1-202-914 / 201-917 / 201-606 for medical emergencies
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs, result in long prison sentences and heavy fines. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Do not attempt to take advantage of street or black market exchange in foreign currency.
U.S.-Eritrean Dual Nationals: Eritrea does not recognize dual nationality. Dual U.S. - Eritrean citizens are considered Eritrean nationals by the Eritrean authorities. This limits our ability to provide consular services.
You may be subject to certain obligations, including taxes and conscription into national service. You need proof of payment of the 2 percent income tax to obtain any civil documents (e.g. birth certificates, educational transcripts, property ownership records, court records). Inquire at an Eritrean embassy or consulate regarding your status before you travel.
Military Service for Dual U.S. – Eritrean citizens: The National Service Proclamation of October 1995 states that any national between the age of 18 and 50 shall have a duty to participate in National Service.
Photography: Visitors are advised to exercise caution when taking photographs in Eritrea. Often there are no signs/posts stating “no photography,” but individuals found taking photos of military or government installations can face a warning, harassment, confiscation, arrest, detention, or interrogation. Do not take photos of Eritreans without permission.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Eritrean law enforcement officials routinely block access to foreign nationals in detention. The U.S. Embassy therefore may not receive notification or be allowed access to you if you are detained. See our webpage for further information.
Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, yet landlines are available in most homes and are more reliable than cellular service. It is very difficult for a tourist to obtain a SIM card for cellular service. There is no data service or roaming available.
Currency: The Eritrean Nakfa (ERN) is the official currency. The economy is cash-based and there are no ATMs. Credit cards are not accepted, except by a few airline offices. It is illegal to use foreign currency to make purchases except at a few official hotels where foreigners are required to pay in U.S. dollars or Euros. Most will accept U.S. bills printed only from 2003 or later.
It is illegal to exchange money anywhere other than at a state foreign currency exchange Himbol branch. You must declare all foreign currency brought into Eritrea in excess of $10,000 (or the equivalent) and on departure, you must prove that any missing foreign currency was exchanged at a branch of the Himbol or provide receipts of the items you purchased.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is punishable by 10 days to three years incarceration. Antidiscrimination laws relating to LGBTI persons do not exist, and those complicit in abuses are not investigated and punished. There are no known LGBTI organizations in the country. Hotels do not allow two females or two males to share one room unless it has separate beds.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. Within Asmara, sidewalks are plentiful, although most are in bad condition and do not have cutouts. Few buildings have elevators. Due to frequent power outages, these elevators may not be functioning.
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: Domestic violence, punishable as assault and battery, is commonplace but such cases rarely are reported or brought to trial. No information is available on the prevalence of rape.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Consult the CDC website for Eritrea prior to travel.
Medical facilities and physicians are limited. Medicines are in short supply. Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Bring preventative and over-the counter medicines with you.
You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas.American citizens who entered Eritrea on an Eritrean visa (those that do not hold an Eritrean national ID) must pay for medical services in U.S. dollars. If you will be an inpatient, a down payment is required.
Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: See the CDC website for recommended vaccinations.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Stay on main roads away from border areas. Rural roads and off-road driving can be dangerous. There are minefields in certain areas of the country. Detonations have occurred on relatively well-traveled roads in and near the Gash Barka region of western Eritrea. The roads between Asmara, Massawa, Mendefera, Dekemhare, Barentu, and Keren are paved but roads to small villages are not. Mountain roads, which are narrow and winding with crumbling edges, do not generally have guardrails or signs. Road debris is common during the rainy season from October to May. The Filfil Road from Asmara to Massawa has a large amount of mountain debris and has washed away in parts. Traffic safety is also hazardous due to excessive speed, slow motorized carts, pedestrians, bicycles, livestock, fog, and poor lighting.
Traffic Laws: If you wish to drive in Eritrea, you must obtain an Eritrea driver’s license; you may not use your U.S. or international driver’s license. The police may stop drivers randomly to inspect driver’s licenses.
Accidents: If you are involved in an automobile accident, you should contact the local police immediately. Leave your car in place until the local police arrive to take a report. If a crowd forms and becomes hostile, contact the U.S. Embassy.
Public Transportation: Buses and taxis, both of which run on pre-established routes, are inexpensive.
Buses: Extreme over-crowding makes them unsafe and pickpocketing is common.
Taxis: Requests for any deviation from the route can result in significantly higher fares. You may ask a driver in advance not to take other passengers if you pay a higher fare.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety and Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Eritrea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Eritrea’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Pirates operate on the Red Sea, and recreational vessels should avoid the region. Commercial vessels without explicit agreements with Eritrean authorities should avoid Eritrean territorial waters. The Eritrean government has seized ships which do not hold such agreements. These seizures have resulted in lengthy detentions of international crew members. Commercial/tourist ships are not allowed to dock at some Eritrean ports, even to refuel. Consult the International Maritime Bureau's Live Piracy Report for information on maritime advisories.
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Eritrea is not a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F). Under the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act (UAA), which became effective on July 14, 2014, the accreditation requirement and standards, which previously only applied in Convention cases, now also apply in non-Convention or “orphan” cases. The UAA requires that an accredited or approved adoption service provider acts as a primary provider in every case, and that adoption service providers providing adoption services on behalf of prospective adoptive parents be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider. Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should review the State Department’s Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 webpage for further information. Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Convention countries continue to be processed under the Orphan Process with the filing of the Forms I-600A and I-600. However, adoption service providers should be aware of the information on the USCIS website on the impact on Form I-600A and Form I-600 adjudications under the UAA, including the requirement that all home studies, including home study updates and amendments, comply with the Convention home study requirements, which differ from the orphan home study requirements that were in effect before July 14, 2014.
The Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea addresses various elements of adoption, but there is no single adoption law. There may be regulations within the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare that are unpublished but still apply to Intercountry adoptions. As a result, the adoption process may lack uniformity or consistency. Regulations change often and without notice to the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea or other foreign entities. Enforcement of laws and regulations is irregular. The Department of State recommends prospective adoptive parents verify requirements with legal counsel experienced in adoption law in Eritrea or directly with the Eritrean authorities. In the U.S. Embassy's experience, all adoptions by U.S. citizens have been by Eritrean-American dual nationals, because Eritrean law requires at least one parent to be of Eritrean heritage. Most adoption cases involve older teen-aged children where one parent has died and one parent has abandoned the child. It is usually difficult to prove that the child meets the U.S. immigration requirements for "orphan."
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS
To bring an adopted child to the United States from Eritrea, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.
Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.
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In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Eritrea must meet the following requirements:
In addition to qualifying as an orphan under U.S. immigration law, the child must meet the following requirements of Eritrea:
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).
Eritrea’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare
The process for adopting a child from Eritrea generally includes the following steps:
Before taking steps to adopt a child from Eritrea, you should select a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider to be the primary provider in your case. As of July 14, 2014, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case under the UAA, unless an exception applies. The primary provider is responsible for:
For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.
There are no authorized adoption agencies in Eritrea. However, the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare facilitates and oversees both domestic and intercountry adoptions.
If there is a request regarding an intercountry adoption, the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare assists with the processing and obtaining documentation regarding the adoption. In the event prospective adoptive parents wish to consult an attorney, a list of attorneys can be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Asmara website. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Department of State can vouch for qualifications of attorneys on this list.
In order to adopt a child from Eritrea, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Eritrea and U.S. immigration law.
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also choose to file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, with USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt before you identify a child to adopt. You may also choose to file the Form I-600 petition along with all the required Form I-600A application supporting documentation, including an approved home study, once you have been matched with a child and have obtained all the necessary documentation. Please see the USCIS website for more information about filing options. Regardless of which approach you take, the home study must meet the same requirements. As of July 14, 2014, unless an exception applies, the home study must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311 and 22 CFR Part 96.47.
If you are found suitable and eligible to adopt under U.S. law, you must also submit an adoption application to the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare of Eritrea to be found eligible to adopt by Eritrea.
If a child is eligible for intercountry adoption, the competent adoption authority or other authorized entity in Eritrea will review your adoption dossier and, if an appropriate match is found, will provide you with a referral. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child, and must conform to the recommendations in the home study for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Eritrea’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.
The process for finalizing the adoption or obtaining legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in Eritrea generally includes the following:
For the child to exit Eritrea, an exit visa is required. Eritrean Immigration will place an exit visa in the child's Eritrean passport. The fee for this service is about $7.
If the child will transit through Frankfurt, Germany, or Amsterdam, Netherlands, en route to the United States, a Schengen States transit visa is required. Adoptive parents can apply for a Schengen States transit visa at the Italian Embassy in Asmara (about $45). If the child remains in the Frankfurt airport, and does not pass through immigration controls, the child doesn't need a transit visa. An adopted Eritrean child transiting the Amsterdam airport will still need a transit visa.
Note: Additional documents may be requested.
After you finalize the adoption [or gain legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption] in Eritrea, USCIS must determine whether the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order for the child to immigrate to the United States. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. At the time you file your Form I-600 petition, the adjudicating officer will determine whether the UAA applies or if your case is UAA grandfathered. For more information on UAA grandfathering and transition cases, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012. Unless an exception applies, you must identify a primary provider in your case and the adjudicating officer may ask for the name and contact information of the primary provider if not provided in your Form I-600 petition. This information is required and, without it, your Form I-600 petition cannot be approved.
If you have an approved, valid Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, you may file your Form I-600 petition either in the United States with USCIS or in person at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by USCIS in the United States, the consular section in Nairobi, Kenya must complete a Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan determination), to verify the child’s orphan status. When a Form I-600 petition is adjudicated by an international USCIS office, USCIS generally completes the Form I-604 determination.
For Form I-600 petitions filed with the Embassy’s consular section, the consular officer must complete the Form I-604 determination after you file your Form I-600 petition. Conducting the Form I-604 determination is a critical part of the orphan adoption process. It can take months to complete, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Consular officers appreciate that families are eager to bring their adopted child home as quickly as possible. Some of the factors that may contribute to the length of the process include prevailing fraud patterns in the country of origin, civil unrest or security concerns that restrict travel to certain areas of the country, and the number of determinations performed by available staff. Consular officers make every effort to conduct them as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You are advised to keep your travel plans flexible while awaiting the results.
Now that your adoption is complete [or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States] and the Form I-604 determination has been completed finding that your child meets the legal definition of an orphan for immigration purposes, there are a few more steps to take before you and your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:
If you have finalized the adoption in Eritrea, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
If you have been granted legal custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. Adoptive parents may apply for a birth certificate in Eritrea by submitting a request to the Municipality of the child’s residence.
If the request is made within 90 days of the child’s birth, the Municipality will issue the birth certificate automatically.
If the request is made after 90 days, the family must go to the zonal administration of their district with the support of three witnesses to request approval for the issuance of a birth certificate. After approval, the Administration will give applicants a sealed envelope with the biographic information to be delivered to the municipality. Based on the data, the municipality will issue the birth certificate.
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Eritrea.
At least one adoptive parent must be of Eritrean origin and hold an Eritrean identity card. If neither adoptive parent meets this requirement, even if a legal adoption has been completed, the local administrative zone will not issue a passport to the child. The biological parents will need to apply for the passport, or in the cases of abandoned and orphaned children, the U.S. Consular Officer processing the Immigrant Visa must request authorization for a passport waiver or travel letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (as all visa operations are closed in Eritrea). This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). If you filed a Form I-600 petition in the United States, you should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.
You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya website. The consular section can also be reached at (254) (020)-3753705 or (020)-363-6492.
Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes 24 hours. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi before making final travel arrangements.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.
For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s entry into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.
Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.
Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Eritrea
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Eritrea, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.
Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.
Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Eritrea to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
See above description of Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency in the Documents Required section for post-adoption reporting requirements.
We urge you to comply with Eritrea’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Eritrea’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption.
Here are some places to start your support group search:
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
If you have concerns about your adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the Embassy in Asmara, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-600 petition process.
The Hague Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers. If you think your provider's conduct may have been out of substantial compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider. If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Hague Complaint Registry.
U.S. Embassy in Eritrea
179 Alaa Street
P.O. Box 211
Eritrea’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor and Welfare
P. O. Box 5252
Embassy of Eritrea
1708 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 319-1991
Fax: (202) 319-1304
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
For questions about filing a Form I-600A application or I-600 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
|A-3 1||None||Multiple||24 Months|
|G-5 1||None||Multiple||12 Months|
|H-1B||None||One||3 Months 3|
|H-1C||None||One||3 Months 3|
|H-2R||None||One||3 Months 3|
|H-3||None||One||3 Months 3|
|H-4||None||One||3 Months 3|
|J-1 4||None||One||3 Months|
|J-2 4||None||One||3 Months|
|O-1||None||One||3 Months 3|
|O-2||None||One||3 Months 3|
|O-3||None||One||3 Months 3|
|P-1||None||One||3 Months 3|
|P-2||None||One||3 Months 3|
|P-3||None||One||3 Months 3|
|P-4||None||One||3 Months 3|
|Q-1 6||None||One||3 Months 3|
|S-5 7||None||One||1 Month|
|S-6 7||None||One||1 Month|
|S-7 7||None||One||1 Month|
|V-2||None||Multiple||120 Months 8|
|V-3||None||Multiple||120 Months 8|
Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.
The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:
An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.
Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.
The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.
Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.
Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.
There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.
Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.
In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).
However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.
Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.
Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.
Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.
Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.
No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.
V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.
Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:
The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.
The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.
The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.
Please check back for update.
Official birth certificates are available from Asmara and other Eritrean municipalities. Most municipalities issue documents that are computerized, assigned identification numbers, and authenticated by local authorities; however documents from remote municipalities may be hand written. There are two types of birth certificates: 1. without a photo, and 2. with a photo, but does not list the mother’s name. It is very common, especially for older individuals and those living in rural areas, to not have a birth certificate. However, it is relatively easy to obtain one. It is common for birth certificates to be issued long after the individual’s birth.
Persons applying for birth certificates should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present hospital birth records, baptismal certificate, and/or notarized statement by witnesses familiar with the birth. Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.Death/Burial
Requests for copies of previously issued birth certificates should be addressed to the Office of Civil Status, Municipality of Asmara or to the equivalent office of any other municipality offices in which the birth was registered. Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney
Possible inconsistencies: When applying for a national ID, the Immigration department may ask for a newly re-issued, computerized birth certificate. Some people may have birth certificates issued very recently. Since many older individuals were never issued a birth certificate, there may be issues with Dates of Birth. The Eritrean National ID only lists a year of birth, and it is easy for a person to go to the municipality with three witnesses and obtain a birth certificate with any date of birth they state.
Local Eritrean hospitals will issue a Death Certificate Form for individuals who died in the hospital. This From lists a specific cause of death and may be hand written. A hospital may issue a Dead Body Certificate for individuals who arrived at the hospital already deceased. An official Certificate of Death is issued by the local municipality, however the cause of the death listed may be very general (i.e. sickness). The Certificates of Death are computerized, assigned registration numbers, and authenticated by local authorities.
Officially-issued marriage certificates are available from Asmara and other Eritrean municipalities. These documents are now computerized, assigned registration numbers, and authenticated by local authorities.
Persons applying for marriage certificates should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present church documents and/or notarized statements by witnesses. Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney. Requests should be addressed to the municipality office where the marriage was registered.
Requests for copies of previously issued marriage certificates should be addressed to the Office of Civil Status, Municipality of Asmara or to the equivalent office of any other municipality offices in which the birth was registered. Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.
Obtaining a divorce is a rather lengthy process in Eritrea. Each party must have two appointed family arbitrators, acceptable to the court. The first priority of these family arbitrators is reconciling the marriage. If not possible, they have to work out the details of the property settlements and child custody. After presenting a signed, stamped and approved (by all parties: spouse, family, arbitrators) copy of these agreements by the court, the municipality will issue a divorce certificate in Tigrigna and/or English.
Persons applying for divorce documents should contact the appropriate municipal authorities and present the necessary documentation. Requests can be made in person or through a third party with a power of attorney.
In late 2015, the Eritrean government began issuing new national identity cards, for individuals over age 18. These cards are plastic with holographic security features and the individual’s fingerprint on the back. They are in Tigrinya, Arabic, and English. However, very few new identity cards are in circulation. Most people still have the old cards which were issued many years ago, are hand-written (only in Tigrinya and Arabic), very poorly laminated, and easily altered. Many individuals have applied for new ID cards with the Immigration and Nationality Department and their old ID cards have been hole-punched, though most have not received the new ID card yet. There is a very long backlog of applications for the new IDs.
Persons applying for Identity card should contact Immigration and Nationality department.
Very few Eritreans are able to obtain a police certificate.
Most court records can be obtained through the courts.
Persons released from prison are rarely given an official release or any documentation to show that they were incarcerated by local authorities.
Eritrean passports issued prior to 2010 do not show the applicant's nationality as prescribed under the provisions of INA 101(A) (30). Posts may issue visas in the Eritrean passports, but should insist that another document indicating nationality (e.g., an ID card showing date, place of birth and citizenship, a birth certificate, etc.) is also presented with the passport when possible. Eritrean National ID cards are only issued in Tigrinya and Arabic to those over 18 years of age and are easily alterable, making proof of Eritrean citizenship difficult to determine. Embassy Asmara realizes the extra burden this places on DHS and other issuing posts. In addition, these passports have no identifiable security features. Bio data is hand-written, physical photographs are used, and lamination is of poor quality.
Eritrean passports issued during and after 2010 show the applicant's nationality and the Bio data and photographs are printed and machine readable. Laminations is of a better quality and numerous security features, both holographic and ultraviolet, are utilized.
Children under the age of 16 can travel on the Eritrean passport of a parent. Each accompanying child must be issued a separate visa, which is affixed to the traveling parent's passport.
Passports are issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a five year period. The Ministry or an Eritrean Embassy or Consulate may renew a passport multiple times for additional five year periods.
Education Documents for all levels of study are available through the institution. Matriculation results are available through the Testing center.
To be considered equivalent to a United States high school education, a student must take and pass matriculation exams after completing High School courses. A GPA of 0.6 for males and 0.4 for female is necessary on the matriculation exams to apply for post-secondary education in Eritrea (see chart below).
2.00 for males
1.80 for females
2.00 for males
1.80 for females
2.4 and above for all
1.2 -1.80 for males
1.0 – 1.60 for female
1.00 - 1.8 for males
0.8 – 1.6 for females
2.2 for all
0.6 – 1.0 for males
0.4 – 0.8 for females
1.6 and 1.8 for all
Documents Post would accept to be satisfied that the education requirement is met:
Post Asmara is able to send education documents for verification with the Eritrean authorities if there are any specific concerns with documents.
From 1991-2002, high school completion was at grade 11. The person only received one transcript through grade 11 from the secondary school s/he attended. These individuals also must take matriculation exams.
After 2003, HS completion is grade 12, however grade 12 is finished during military service. The person would receive 2 transcripts, one from the secondary school where s/he attended through grade 11, and another certificate from “Sawa” for grade 12. Matriculation exams are mandatory when a student attends Sawa and s/he should have these results as well. A student who completed grade 10 in a secondary school, then went for two years to a vocational school, can take the matriculation exams and as long as they receive the minimum GPA, they can apply for Post Secondary education. This procedure will soon change and a student will receive a compiled transcript from their former high school as they would have completed 75% of their high school there, though we are not sure when.
After taking matriculation exams and passing with the required GPA, students are eligible to apply for a degree, diploma, certificate.
NIV: Embassy Asmara ceased processing B1, B2, and B1/B2 visas to all Eritrean citizens, nationals and residents on September 13, 2017. All other visa categories are issued.
IV: Embassy Asmara does not process Immigrant Visas. All Immigrant Visas and Visas 92/93 for nationals of Eritrea are being processed by the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.