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Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why do so many people have their visa applications denied?

    Why do so many people have their visa applications denied?

    • This is actually a myth.  Despite the negative perceptions, the US Embassy issues more nonimmigrant visas than we refuse every year.
  • Why was my interview so short? The officer only talked to me for 5 minutes before he made a decision.

    Why was my interview so short? The officer only talked to me for 5 minutes before he made a decision.

    • We schedule 150 – 200 NIV appointments per day.  Given this volume, officers have to get right to the point and make a decision quickly – no time for small talk.  Their questions are carefully honed to get the information they need in the shortest amount of time.

      Most of the work of processing a visa is done before the interview even starts:  we verify the applicant’s identity, enter their biographic data into our system, take fingerprints, analyze biometric data, conduct security checks, screen required documents, and more.

      While applicants are waiting in the waiting room, we are busy working on their visa applications.  Applicants think that decisions are based solely on the 5-minute interview with an officer, but in fact, here in Kenya, the decision to issue or refuse a visa is only made after a team of 15 people have scrutinized the application for about two hours.

  • Why didn’t the officer look at my documents before making a decision?

    Why didn’t the officer look at my documents before making a decision?

    • Document fraud is rampant in Kenya so we cannot rely on local documents.  Rather than trying to sort out the good documents from the bad, officers base their decisions more on applicants’ answers to their questions than on any documents they might present.

      In almost all cases, the officer can make a determination based on the information provided by the applicant in the application form and during the interview.

  • Why are the fees so high?

    Why are the fees so high?

    • The US Embassy does not make money off visa fees. The fees only cover all of the costs of providing the service. Most of the fees are used to cover security procedures and fraud prevention features.

      Application fees cover also the cost of physical security – the guards, the metal detectors, the blast walls – that we employ to keep ourselves and our applicants safe while they are in our building.

      The high level of visa fraud here in Kenya and around the world makes everyone’s visas more expensive. To combat visa fraud here in Kenya, we have had to hire 5 full-time staff members. We also have to employ the latest technologies to produce state-of-the-art visas. Our visas have dozens of security features built in to them to prevent forgers and counterfeiters from altering or reproducing them illegally. Application fees cover the costs of producing high quality, fraud- resistant visas.

  • Why aren’t fees refunded when the visa is refused?

    Why aren’t fees refunded when the visa is refused?

    • Applicants pay an application fee, not an issuance fee.

      As explained above, most of the work required to process a visa is done before the interview.  We do virtually the same amount of work whether an applicant is issued a visa or refused a visa. 

      By the time an applicant is refused a visas, most of the work of processing the visa has already been done.