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Kenyans to wait ’till 2024′ for USA visit

Kenyans seeking to visit the United States may have to wait for two years after the country’s Embassy in Nairobi temporarily halted Visa appointments citing rising demand.

“Currently, the first available dates for a visitor visa appointment in Nairobi are in June 2024,” explained the Embassy in a statement.

“(The) 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 added it will continue its concerted efforts to meet the demand for visa services.

The Embassy added that due to Covid-19 health and safety measures, non-immigrant visa interviews at U.S. Embassy in Nairobi ceased for over a year.

It restarted interviews at full capacity in February 2022.

“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 that U.S. embassies are diligently striving to address.”

It added that, since resuming operations, they have doubled the number of daily interviews and that they will continue to add additional staff and increase capacity over time.

“We instituted a visa renewal process that does 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.”

They also have expedited appointments for emergency situations, including the 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.

The statement comes days after Ferdinand Omanyala, 26, known as Africa’s fastest man, nearly missed to compete in last week’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

The African record holder, one of the fastest sprinters of all time, was supposed to fly to the United States a week before the races, giving him five days to settle in before his first 100-meter race.

But with barely a day left to make the Friday evening start, he had yet to receive a U.S. visa, without which he would be barred from a competition that could cement his legacy.

The document arrived a day before the race, and he got in with only a few hours to spare, set to compete with runners who had not just stepped off a plane.