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Why US Embassy abolished interviews for some visa categories

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Covid-linked backlogs for nonimmigrant applications last week pushed the United States Embassy in Nairobi to abolish interview requirements for some visa categories.

“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,” the Embassy said in a statement posted on its official Twitter page.

In July, the Embassy suspended appointments for visa interviews until June 2024 owing to high demand and Covid-linked backlogs but gave exceptions for emergencies such as the death of an immediate family member, people travelling for urgent medical care and students.

Kenyans travelling to the US have in the past expressed frustrations on social media over what they term unfair visa rules.

“To qualify for this programme, you must be applying for the same visa category, and your visa cannot have expired more than four years ago. Formerly, the limit was one year,” the Embassy said. Visa interview appointments take months and in most cases are not a guarantee of getting the crucial travel document.

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