Why You'll Wait Until 2024 To Get A US Visa

The embassy added that the COVID-19 pandemic had forced it to freeze non-immigrant interviews for over a year

Why You'll Wait Until 2024 To Get A US Visa
An image of a US visa. /FILE

Kenyans planning to travel to the United States of America (USA) have been hit with a huge blow after being informed that they will have to wait two more years to book a visitor visa appointment.

The US Embassy in Nairobi has revealed that aspiring visa applicants will have to wait until June of 2024 to get the highly-important document that will enable them to travel halfway across the world.

In a statement, the embassy added that the COVID-19 pandemic had forced it to freeze non-immigrant interviews for over a year and resumed in February 2022 on a full capacity basis.

US Embassy in Kenya. /FILE

"As the world emerges from the pandemic with renewed interest in travel, U.S. Embassy in Nairobi will continue its concerted efforts to meet the demand for visa services. Due to COVID-19 health and safety measures, nonimmigrant visa interviews at U.S. Embassy in Nairobi ceased for over a year.  

"The Embassy 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," it addressed, adding that this was a similar problem with US embassies worldwide. 

Since resuming operations, the embassy has doubled the number of daily interviews and will continue to add additional staff and increase capacity over time, to deal with the massive backlog.

It had taken steps that include updating the US Embassy webpage (http://ke.usembassy.gov) to reflect current visa interview wait times as well as emphasizing that fees are nonrefundable so Kenyans can make informed decisions before submitting their application and paying the associated fees.

The embassy also 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.

"We offer 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," it clarified, however.

The changes come after the whole world was shocked on hearing that the visa hitch almost made Africa's fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala, miss out on the 2022 World Championships at Oregon. He arrived in Oregon two hours before his first race and missed out on the finals after finishing fifth in the semis.

Omanyala on Friday, July 22 defended the government after AK revealed that he was to blame for his visa woes, advising Kenyans to stop blaming the Ministry of Sports for the issue, which had seen him miss out on travelling with Team Kenya for the championships on Tuesday night, July 12.

He noted that it was actually the Ministry, under Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amb Amina Mohammed, which rescued him from the saga which if it did not happen, would have seen him miss out on the championships which would have been a huge blow to the athletics team.

Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala. /TWITTER