United States Ambassador to Kenya Margret Whitman has pledged to deal with the Visa backlog at the Nairobi embassy.
Whitman, who assumed office as the new ambassador early this month, says the backlog was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced consular officers to stay away from workplaces.
“One of my top priorities is to reduce the Visa backlog that faces Kenyan citizens seeking Visas of any kind to get into the United States,” said Whitman.
The ambassador indicated that she has put in place a dedicated team at the embassy to reverse the situation, adding that she regrets the inconvenience caused by the delays, especially for students seeking to study in the US and patients.
“We have families who intend to seek medical services in the US, I promise them that there will be no further frustrations,” she added.
Whitman was speaking on Tuesday when she made her first tour outside Nairobi to visit US Embassy officials heading critical US programs and investments in Kisumu.
Last month, the US embassy announced that the first available dates for a visitor visa appointment in Nairobi are in June 2024.
The embassy indicated that since resuming full operations in February this year, it has doubled the number of daily interviews and will continue to add additional staff and increase capacity over time.
It also highlighted some of the measures it has put in place to address the current delays, including instituting a Visa renewal process that will 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," read the statement.
The embassy further noted that expedited appointments will be made for emergency situations such as the death of an immediate family member, the need to travel for urgent medical care, and students whose program begins in less than 30 days and who will suffer irreparable harm.