The United States has made certain changes to the Visa renewal process for non-immigrants.
According to a statement issued by the US embassy on September 16th, applicants from Kenya no longer need to undergo interviews when renewing their tourist, business, student, or crew visas.
The embassy claimed the action was taken in response to the growing number of Kenyans who have voiced frustration with wait times.
“As part of Ambassador Meg Whitman’s pledge to reduce the nonimmigrant visa interview appointment backlog, the United States Embassy in Nairobi announced today that it has expanded the Interview Waiver Program for nonimmigrant visas.
“Effective immediately, those applying for tourist/business (B1/B2), student (F, J, M), or crew visas (C1/D) categories may be eligible for a visa renewal without an interview,” an excerpt of the statement read.
To qualify for this program, an applicant must be applying for the same visa category.
“Your visa cannot have expired more than four years ago. Formerly, the limit was one year,” the US Embassy added.
The embassy said on its website that it is aware of the large number of visa applicants in Kenya who have paid the visa application processing fee and are waiting to schedule a visa appointment.
It also extended the validity of payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023, to give all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment the chance to schedule and attend a visa appointment with the already-paid fee, and it said it was working to reduce wait times in all visa categories as quickly and safely as possible.
According to the information provided by the embassy, the wait period for appointments to get visiting (B1/B2) and student (F/J/M) visas is now more than eighteen months.
“Visa appointment fees are non-refundable, so you should carefully consider the interview wait time when deciding whether to pursue an appointment.
“Please also remember that all visas and travel to the United States may be subject to further restrictions,” US advises.
It was also stated that those who have had a nonimmigrant visa application denied within the previous 12 months will not be eligible for an expedited appointment.
Due to a shortage of appointments, the embassy prioritized individuals with the most pressing needs, such as those who wanted to transport the bodies of close relatives who died in the United States, those in need of rapid medical treatment overseas, and the wives and children of United States citizens.