US increases visa fees by up to 53 percent


Entrance to US embassy in Gigiri, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The United States Department of State has increased visa fees for some categories by between seven percent and 53 percent, citing the rising cost of processing the travel document.  

The fee changes will take effect on May 30. The last time fees increased for non-immigrant visas was in 2014.

Business and tourist visas (categories B1/B2s), students (F) and exchange visitor visas (J) will increase from Sh21,800 ($160) to Sh25,206 ($185), while visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will cost Sh27,941 ($205) from Sh25,897 ($190).

The fee for treaty trader, investor, and applicants in a specialty occupation (E category) will increase from Sh27,941 ($205) to Sh42,934 ($315) in the changes.

"The slight increases to the costs of some fees reflect the rising cost of the inputs associated with the services provided by consular sections around the world," a statement released by the US Embassay in Nairobi reads.

The new fees will not affect travellers who have already submitted their applications under the old rates. 

US Embassy last month cut the waiting period for visa interviews for Kenyans wishing to visit and allowed for renewal of some categories without going for physical appointments.

The embassy has been grappling with a backlog of non-immigrant visa interviews at the Nairobi office after the process was halted in 2020 as part of safety measures following the outbreak of Covid-19 menace.

Last year, the US Embassy in Nairobi retooled the interview requirements for a number of visa categories as a measure of addressing the Covid related backlogs for non-immigrant applicants.

The embassy expanded the interview waiver programme for non-immigrant visas for those applying for tourist/business (B1/B2), student (F,J,M), or crew visas (C1/D) categories who are eligible for renewals without an in-person appointment.

To qualify for this programme, one must apply for the same visa category, and the existing permit must not have expired more than a year previously.

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