Nonimmigrant Visas

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo is responsible for providing visa services to those seeking to enter the United States for a temporary period and for those wishing to take up indefinite or permanent residence in the United States.

Please visit our Global Support Services (GSS) website for complete information on applying for a nonimmigrant U.S. visa, including a directory of nonimmigrant visa categories.

Please visit the GSS Contact Us page for full information about the various ways to contact our service provider.

The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit aims to provide a comfortable application process for visa applicants. Part of this effort is requiring applicants to arrive at the US Embassy entrance ONLY 15 MINUTES before their interview appointment. Strict enforcement of this rule allows applicants to avoid waiting and lining up unnecessarily outside the Embassy for long periods of time. There is also no advantage given to an applicant who arrives hours before the interview appointment.

Dropoff in Front of the U.S. Embassy is Not Permitted

All vehicles are prohibited from stopping or idling in front of the U.S. Embassy.

All visitors, including visa applicants, must be dropped off/picked up at the corner of St. Michael’s St. and Galle Rd. near the Mercantile Investments and Finance building or in front of the Colombo Swimming Club.

Electronic Devices Not Permitted on Embassy Grounds:

You are not allowed to enter the U.S. Embassy or Consulate while carrying any of the following items:

  • Battery-operated or electronic devices such as mobile phones, digital diaries, digital watches, pagers, cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, floppy disks, laptops, or portable music players
  • Large shoulder bags/purses, travel bags, backpacks, briefcases or suitcases. Only bags that can be carried by hand will be permitted like unsealed plastic bags containing application-related papers, small cloth bags and zip folders
  • Food and liquid items
  • Cosmetics (including but not limited to spray perfume/cologne and talcum/baby powder)
  • Sealed envelopes or packages
  • Flammable items like cigarettes, cigars, match boxes, lighters
  • Sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail files
  • Weapons or explosive materials of any kind
  • Long Handled Umbrellas (longer than 40 cm when closed)

This list is not exhaustive. Other items may be prohibited at the discretion of security staff.

The Embassy has limited storage available for holding applicants’ cell phones on the day of their interview, but there is no facility at the U.S. Embassy to store any of the other above listed prohibited items. Applicants should make arrangements to store these items before entering.

Due to security considerations, there is no information window for walk-in visitors at the U.S. Embassy. Only visa applicants with scheduled interviews will be admitted.

Repeat travelers to the United States may, under some circumstances, renew their visas without appearing at the U.S. Embassy for an interview. If you meet the Interview Waiver qualifications, you will be able to drop off your visa application at the Embassy during the designated hours. If found qualified for a visa again, your passport and new visa will be available for pickup within a few weeks.

To know the qualifications, visit our Interview Waiver Drop Box page.

Due to the large demand for visa interviews, we cannot accommodate all requests for expedited appointments. However, we will do our best to grant them for urgent medical treatment, death of a family member, business reasons (in limited circumstances), or for students with strict travel deadlines.

To request an Expedited Appointment, follow the steps in the Expedited Appointment section of our appointment web site. Call Center agents cannot grant expedited appointment requests, but they can help guide applicants through the online process.

The Embassy call center and the online appointment website can also provide general information about visa application procedures and technical assistance related to requesting and scheduling an appointment.