Reciprocity By Country Search
Rwanda Reciprocity Schedule
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months B-1 None Multiple 120 Months B-2 None Multiple 120 Months B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months C-1 None Multiple 60 Months C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months C-2 None Multiple 12 Months C-3 None Multiple 60 Months CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months D None Multiple 60 Months E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months F-1 None Multiple 60 Months F-2 None Multiple 60 Months G-1 None Multiple 60 Months G-2 None Multiple 60 Months G-3 None Multiple 60 Months G-4 None Multiple 60 Months G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3 H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3 H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3 H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3 H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3 H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3 H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3 I None Multiple 60 Months J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months K-1 None One 6 Months K-2 None One 6 Months K-3 None Multiple 24 Months K-4 None Multiple 24 Months L-1 None Multiple 60 Months L-2 None Multiple 60 Months M-1 None Multiple 60 Months M-2 None Multiple 60 Months N-8 None Multiple 60 Months N-9 None Multiple 60 Months NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3 O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3 O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3 P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3 P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3 P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3 P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3 Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3 R-1 None Multiple 60 Months R-2 None Multiple 60 Months S-5 7 None One 1 Month S-6 7 None One 1 Month S-7 7 None One 1 Month T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A T-2 None One 6 Months T-3 None One 6 Months T-4 None One 6 Months T-5 None One 6 Months T-6 None One 6 Months TD 5 N/A N/A N/A U-1 None Multiple 48 Months U-2 None Multiple 48 Months U-3 None Multiple 48 Months U-4 None Multiple 48 Months U-5 None Multiple 48 Months V-1 None Multiple 120 Months V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8 V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
Visa Category Footnotes
- G-1 through G-4
- NATO 1 through NATO 6
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.
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:
- T-2 (spouse)
- T-3 (child)
- T-4 (parent)
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.
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Birth, Death, Burial Certificates
A hospital birth certificate or attestation by a midwife identifying the name of the mother and gender of the child is brought for registration at the sector level within 15 days, to register the child’s name with the government authorities. Rwandans can request an attestation de naissance (attestation of birth), valid for 3 months at a time, but the unlimited acte de naissance (birth certificate) is more detailed with an additional layer of certification that goes back and confirms the original sector-level registration. An attestation is equivalent to a birth affidavit in the United States, may be obtained at any time with no supporting documentation or verification of facts, and is often erroneously translated as a birth certificate. An acte de naissance is issued by Rwandan civil registrars in the sector where the birth occurred on oversized paper with no security features. The acte de naissance is the only legal birth certificate in Rwanda and is the only birth document accepted by Embassy Kigali.
If a child’s parents do not register the birth with sector authorities within 15 days, they must petition the court to obtain an acte de naissance for the child. Court-ordered actes de naissance are often dated several years after the birth and are often based on unreliable attestations. Courts require little proof of identity, dates of birth, or parentage in order to issue court judgments permitting the creation of a birth document. As such, late-dated court-ordered actes de naissance may not serve as legal proof of parentage or of age of an individual.
Note on naming conventions: Names and surnames are often swapped; surnames in families are virtually never the same; variations in spelling are common; “r’s” and “l’s” are interchangeable; and dates of birth are often unknown, especially for older individuals. Places and dates of birth may also change from one passport to the next.
A hospital death certificate is taken to sector officials for an attestation de decès (attestation of death). Hospital death certificates are most often the source document for actes de decès (death certificates), and Rwandan authorities usually trust that they are authentic. If the deceased did not die in a hospital, municipal authorities or other witnesses who know of the decedent can register the death before sector officials to obtain the attestation. Civil registry officials in the local municipality where the death occurred register deaths and provide both the acte de decès and attestation de decès.
An attestation is equivalent to an affidavit or statement in the United States and may be obtained with no supporting documentation. It may be issued in any sector, not necessarily the one where the death occurred. An acte de decès is a more detailed document issued at the sector where the death occurred, which goes back and confirms the original registration of death. It is issued on oversized paper with no security features, and serves as full legal documentation of death. The acte de decès is the only legal death certificate issued in Rwanda and is the only death document accepted by U.S. Embassy Kigali.
Marriage, Divorce Certificates
Marriage procedures: Engaged couple must bring an attestation de celibat (attestation of celibacy), or certification of singleness, to sector officials. (Americans marrying Rwandans may request this at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy. While consular officers cannot vouch for individuals’ availability to marry, they can notarize sworn statements to this effect.) Rwandan officials do not typically verify individuals’ eligibility to marry; this is more of a formality and deception or fraud would generally be dealt with by the couple themselves. When presenting themselves to a civil registrar to marry, celebrants must show their birth certificates. In some cases, civil registrars require that the celebrants also show proof that they published a public announcement stating their intent to marry. Upon completion of the requirements, civil registrars present the celebrants with a livret de mariage (marriage book), which documents their marriage. The livret de mariage is not legal proof that a marriage occurred.
Marriage certificates: Couples can request an attestation de mariage (attestation of marriage), valid for 3 months at a time, but this only identifies the couple and the issuing authority. An attestation, which is equivalent to a marriage affidavit or statement in the United States, may be obtained at any time with no supporting documentation or verification of facts, and is often erroneously translated as a marriage certificate. An acte de mariage (marriage certificate) is a more detailed document issued at the sector level where the marriage occurred which goes back and confirms the original registration. It is issued on oversized paper with no security features. The acte de mariage is the only legal marriage certificate issued in Rwanda and is the only marriage document accepted by U.S. Embassy Kigali.
Valid marriages: Rwandan law does not recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, and thus Rwandan officials do not issue documents to same-sex couples for the purpose of marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership. Rwandan law also does not recognize religious marriages; only marriages properly registered with civil authorities are considered legal.
Divorces are granted by local courts at the request of one of the celebrants to a marriage. Once the court issues a divorce judgment, the individual presents it to the civil registrar at the location where the marriage was celebrated. The civil registrar then provides an attestation de divorce (attestation of divorce) to the celebrant. Legal proof of divorce includes the court divorce judgment and the attestation of divorce. Actes de divorce (divorce certificates) are no longer issued.
Divorce decrees issued by foreign courts must first be authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (known as MINAFFET) before they can be presented to a civil registrar.
Adoptions are registered by local municipalities, known as sectors, resulting in an acte d’adoption (adoption certificate). The adoption must then be confirmed (the term in French is homologué) by a court. Only once the adoption is confirmed is it considered legal. A complete adoption package will include the acte d’adoption and the court judgment confirming and finalizing the adoption.
Rwanda has been closed to intercountry adoption since 2010, so adoption certificates cannot legally be issued to foreigners for the purpose of adopting children who are Rwandan nationals.
Rwandan digital national ID cards were released in August of 2009. They resemble a plastic driver’s license, with the Rwandan flag on one top corner and the government seal on the other, just above a large photo of the bearer surrounded by a white oval halo. There is a smaller copy of the photo on the bottom corner on the same side as the flag. The main design, in the center of the card behind the identifying details, is a sunburst. The rays are green with a yellow / orange sphere in the background. Blue “rays” extend to the edges of the card. The writing on the card, in both English and Kinyarwanda, is as follows: Republic of Rwanda (top of the card between the flag and seal), National Identity Card, Names, Date of Birth, Sex, Place of Issue, Signature, and along the bottom, National ID No., which starts with a 1, then the year of birth of the holder, followed by 10 additional numbers.
The back of the card features a digital scan strip, another small copy of the bearer’s photo, the government seal in blue placed over the flag, and an orange sun in the center. The writing on the bottom of the government seal reads: “Ubumwe, Umurimo, Gukunda Igihugo”.
The veracity of Rwandan national ID cards relies heavily upon breeder documents, such as actes de naissance, which are easily counterfeited. Embassy Kigali is unaware of any fraud prevention activities undertaken by the Rwandan National Identification Agency to authenticate such documents prior to issuing an ID card. As such, the ID card is only as reliable as the breeder document presented to obtain it.
Police, Court, Prison Records
The Criminal Record is considered a substitute.
A comprehensive national-level criminal record, called the extrait du casier judiciaire or criminal record clearance, is issued by the Prosecutor General’s office and is available by request at the Ministry of Justice headquarters in Kigali. This document states whether the named has any pending criminal charges against them in Rwanda or whether the subject was previously convicted of a crime, including crimes related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It can also be requested via the Rwandan Embassy in Washington. The French and English records are equivalent; only one is necessary. There is no other criminal history document routinely available in Rwanda.
The Criminal Record is considered a substitute.
Military records are difficult to obtain, especially for those who recently left the military or for those who served in military prior to 1994.
Passports & Other Travel Documents
All Rwandan passports are issued by the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration. Rwandans who reside overseas may renew their passport at the nearest Rwandan embassy. Rwandan passports are valid for five years. All currently valid Rwandan passports conform to the descriptions below.
The 48-page regular passport has a blue cover with the Rwandan state seal imprinted in gold leaf in the center. The country name is printed above the seal in Kinyarwanda (bold text), English (regular text), and French (italic text). Page forty-seven is laminated and contains machine printed passport information and next to the passport number a sunburst in color change ink. A photo of the bearer is on the left side of the page, and a faded copy is behind the gender and place of issuance on the right side of the page. Pages 1-46 include perforations matching the passport number at the top. On the inside front and back cover, the side profile of a walking highland gorilla is visible under UV light in the printed mountain range.
Service passports have the same features, but have a black cover instead of blue. They are issued to any individual going on travel paid by the government, upon authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Service passports are generally held by the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration when the bearer is not traveling. The Rwandan government has been known to issue official passports to individuals who are neither government employees nor individuals representing the Rwandan government in official travel.
Diplomatic passports feature red covers and are reserved for high-ranking members of government and parliament. They include the same security features as regular and service passports.
The veracity of Rwandan passports relies heavily upon breeder documents, such as actes de naissance and actes de mariage, which are easily counterfeited. Embassy Kigali is unaware of any fraud prevention activities undertaken by the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration to authenticate such documents prior to issuing a passport. As such, the passport is only as reliable as the breeder document presented to obtain it.
Visa Issuing Posts
Kigali, Rwanda (Embassy)
Tel: (250) 596-400
Fax: (250) 596-591
All visa categories for all of Rwanda.
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.