Kenyans looking to visit the United States will have to wait for nearly two years to get visa appointments at the American Embassy in Nairobi.
On Monday, the embassy announced that the first available dates for a visitor visa appointment in Nairobi are in June 2024, terming the delays as a worldwide problem caused by a backlog resulting from the Covid-19 health and safety measures.
"Due to COVID-19 health and safety measures, nonimmigrant Visa interviews at U.S. Embassy Nairobi ceased for over a year. The Embassy restarted interviews at full capacity in February 2022. This is a worldwide problem that U.S. embassies are diligently striving to address," the embassy said in a statement on Monday.
“U.S. Embassy Nairobi recognizes the significant challenges and frustrations this poses for Kenyans planning to visit the United States for business and tourism.”
The embassy indicated that since resuming operations, it has doubled the number of daily interviews and will continue to add additional staff and increase capacity over time.
“As we work through the backlog of applications and address the high demand for services, we recognize that some applicants may face extended visa interview wait times…The U.S. Embassy will continue to take all possible steps to reducing visa interview wait times as quickly as possible,” it added.
The embassy also highlighted some of the measures it has put in place to address the current delays, including instituting a Visa renewal process that will not require an in-person interview for certain applicants.
"Kenyans renewing visitor (B1/B2 category) or student Visas (F category) whose visas expired less than one year ago may be eligible to renew without an interview," read the statement.
Expedited appointments will be made for emergency situations such as "the death of an immediate family member, the need to travel for urgent medical care, and students whose program begins in less than 30 days and who will suffer irreparable harm."
The statement came following numerous complaints from Kenyans about delays in getting visa appointments.