COVID-19 Pandemic To Blame For Visa Delay – US Embassy Explains

US visa
US Embassy in Nairobi. [Courtesy]

The COVID-19 pandemic, according to the US Embassy in Nairobi, has generated a backlog that has delayed the processing of VISA applications.

The embassy stated that this is a global issue that is being addressed.

In a statement dated July 25, the embassy explained that June 2024 is the first available date for a visitor visa appointment.

“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. This is a worldwide problem,” said the embassy.

Read: Kenya Suspends Visa-free Transit Arrangement With Pakistan Over Influx Of Asian Travelers In The Country

It was noted that as a result, the embassy has increased the number of staff and doubled the number of daily interviews for visa applications in order to handle the increased demand.

“This has necessitated the embassy to make some changes in the visa application process as the current visa interview wait times will now reflect on their updated page with emphasis on the nonrefundable fee to enable applicants to make informed decisions before submitting their applications,” it added.

The embassy added that people renewing tourist (B1/B2) and student (F category) visas whose expiration dates were less than a year ago could now do so at the consulate without having to appear in person for an interview.

It declared that it will take urgent instances into account, including those involving student visas and urgent medical care.

Read Also: 5 MPs, Senators Linked To Terrorism, Drugs Denied US Visas

“We offer expedited appointments for emergency situations, including death of an immediate family member, the need to travel for urgent medical care and for students whose program starts in less than 30 days and who will suffer irreparable harm, such as the loss of a scholarship, if they cannot travel.”

However, the consulate gave Kenyans the assurance that it would act as fast as possible to shorten the wait period for visa interviews.

The embassy’s reaction comes after a Kenyan doctor complained in an open letter to Margaret Whitman, the US ambassador to Kenya, about the excessively long time the embassy takes to review visa applications.

Elizabeth Wala also voiced grave worry about the enormous sums of money collected as application fees for visas that are forfeited by rejected visa applicants or successful applicants who fail to use visas given long after their claimed purpose of travel to the United States has passed.

Read Also: NCIC Reveals Plans to Block Politicians Notorious for Hate Speech from Getting Visas

She gave the example of an instance where When one of her kids was scheduled to visit the United States for a school competition.

Wala cited an occasion in which, after paying the USD240 visa application cost, she was scheduled for an interview in 2024 yet the child was supposed to travel later in November this year.

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Written by Eva Nyambura

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