US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman has pledged to expedite US visa applications to help clear a backlog of pending visa applications.
The US embassy in Nairobi has adopted several changes in the entire application process and increased the number of visa processing staff to reduce the waiting time for the applicants.
This comes as a reprieve following a spate of public outcry over delay in the visa approval for Kenyans at the embassy in Nairobi in the recent past.
Meg while on her maiden official visit to Kisumu County on Tuesday regretted the delays experienced and assured Kenyans that the US embassy was committed to ensuring normal operations resume.
“The visa backlog situation has caused unnecessary hardship and is unacceptable. One of my top priorities is to reduce the visa backlog that faces Kenyan citizens seeking visas of any kind to travel to the US,” she said.
Meg acknowledged that the delay in visa processing was a global issue brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic where most nations had restricted travelling forcing closures of visa applications.
Kenyans seeking the travel document to visit the US for business, study, medication, employment or leisure endured interminable wait times to get their visa applications approved.
At the same time, the newly appointed Ambassador commended Kenyans for the peaceful electoral process during the August General Elections.
Noting that the US embassy takes a neutral stand in Kenya’s politics, Meg hailed the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga for petitioning the election outcome at the Supreme Court.
“Candidates aggrieved with the presidential results peacefully and thoughtfully filed their grievances with the Supreme Court,” she said while pleading with Kenyans to uphold a peaceful environment and calmness ahead of the adjudication by the same court on September 5.
Meg expressed the US government’s satisfaction with how the election process was conducted hailing Raila and president-elect William Ruto for following the appropriate legal processes.
By Robert Ojwang’