US abolishes interviews for select Visa categories for Kenyans

The United States has scraped interviews for some visa categories in Kenya as it moves to deal with backlog cases occasioned by the coronavirus restrictive measures.

In a statement shared Friday, the embassy said the directive only applies for non-immigrants visa applicants.

This means that students who wish to study in the US will not be required to undergo the mandatory visa interview.

Other categories that have been saved from the interviews are those applying for tourist or business and crew visas.

“Effective immediately, those applying for tourist/business (B/B2)) students (F,J,M)), or crew visas (C/D) category may not be eligible for a visa renewal without an interview,” said US Embassy.

There are, however, attached conditions on who qualifies for the programmes.

According to the embassy, one must be applying for the same visa category, and that a visa cannot have expired more than four years ago.

Initially, the limit was tied to one year, but the embassy has stretched the period to four years.

Non-immigrant visa interviews at the Nairobi office ceased for over a year due to COVID-19 safety measures.

The US had in July this year pushed forward to June 2024 appointments for visa interviews due to high demand and COVID-19 linked backlogs.

It, however, gave exemptions for emergencies such as death of an immediate family member and people travelling for urgent medical needs.

It comes almost a month after US Ambassador to Kenya ,Meg Whitman, promised to solve visa application nightmare that has appeared almost unbearable among Kenyans.

 “Reducing visa wait times is my number one priority. We are all working hard to do this!” said Whitman.

Africa’s fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala was faced with similar visa delays in June when readied himself for the Oregon World Championship when he arrived three hours to the game.

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