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US postpones date for hiking visa fee to June 17

The US embassy in Nairobi has postponed the date for the increase in global visa fees to 17 June from the earlier announced date of 30 May.

In a statement, the US State Department did not give reasons for the postponement.

The postponement comes amid public outcry that some applicants will pay up to Sh42,000 to acquire the travel document.

“Please be advised that the planned global increase in US visitor fees has been postponed to 17 June 2023,” the embassy said.

The fee increase, which was first announced on May 3 and ranged from seven to 53 per cent, was attributed to the rising cost of processing the travel document.

The increase, announced on 3 May, affected people such as temporary workers, students, tourists and investors.

According to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, the US increased visa application fees for students and travellers from Sh21,800 to Sh25,206 (US$160 to US$185).

Also read: Dear Kenyans, here’s why you can be denied entry abroad even with a visa

The categories affected include business and tourist visas (categories B1/B2S), student visas (F) and exchange visitor visas (J), which will rise from Sh21,800 ($160) to Sh25,206 ($185), while visas for temporary workers (categories H, L, O, P, Q and R) will cost Sh27,941 ($205) from Sh25,897 ($190).

The fee for treaty traders, investors and applicants in a specialised occupation (category E) will increase from Sh27,941 ($205) to Sh42,934 ($315) under the changes.

The embassy had said that those who have already paid the existing, lower NIV fee will not have to pay the difference when the fee increases on 30 May 2023.

“All NIV fee payments made on or after 1 October 2022 will be valid for 365 days. Receipts for NIV fees paid before 1 October 2022 will continue to be valid until 30 September 2023,” it said.

“The Department of State works hard to keep costs associated with visas to a minimum, and the Department only recovers the cost of providing these consular services,” it added.

This is the first time non-immigrant visa fees have increased since 2014.

The embassy has been struggling with a huge backlog of visa interviews after the process was halted in 2020 as part of security measures introduced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, the embassy reduced the waiting time for visa interviews for visiting Kenyans and allowed some categories to be renewed without a physical appointment.

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