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United States Ambassador to Kenya Margret Whitman has pledged to deal with the Visa backlog at the Nairobi embassy.
Whitman, who assumed office as the new ambassador early this month, says the backlog was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced consular officers to stay away from workplaces.
“One of my top priorities is to reduce the Visa backlog that faces Kenyan citizens seeking Visas of any kind to get into the United States,” said Whitman.
The ambassador indicated that she has put in place a dedicated team at the embassy to reverse the situation, adding that she regrets the inconvenience caused by the delays, especially for students seeking to study in the US and patients.
“We have families who intend to seek medical services in the US, I promise them that there will be no further frustrations,” she added.
Whitman was speaking on Tuesday when she made her first tour outside Nairobi to visit US Embassy officials heading critical US programs and investments in Kisumu.
Last month, the US embassy announced that the first available dates for a visitor visa appointment in Nairobi are in June 2024.
The embassy indicated that since resuming full operations in February this year, it has doubled the number of daily interviews and will continue to add additional staff and increase capacity over time.
It 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.
The embassy further noted that 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.
Agreed. I'm a lawyer in the US and I'm proud to be married to a beautiful Kenyan woman. We heard of the lack of fairness and transparency in the process as well as the massive amounts of funds hardworking Kenyan gave in the hopes of going to the US when many knew they were throwing their money away. Let me know if we can help.
Thank God! I recruit students for Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and so many good Kenyan students have not been able to come to our school because of the poor (and often insulting) treatment they have received from my Embassy. Parents who have paid for four years of education were often unable to attend their son and daughter’s graduation. Can only pray that this improves immediately!
It's all about unfairness. They are giving excuses that the backlog is due to Covid. How comes European countries can get a visa in 30-60 days. I have global friends and it sounds like only African countries have a backlog of 2 years. Again, 2 years backlog.
On the contrary, I commend the Embassy at Gigiri for the manner numerous applications are handled as there is alot of interest by Kenyans to travel to the 🇺🇸.
Refusal and or denial of most applicants is premised on what I believe is justifiable grounds by VO's at the consular section.
If applicants prepare adequately for the interviews
Probably the embassy could consider refunding at least half of the money paid by an unsuccessful visa applicant.
There are 2 issues, delay and unfairness in the process. She is only addressing one, the process will continue to be unfair to visa applicants from Africa.