By Judith Gicobi
Jane Marriott, the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom (U.K.) to Kenya, has at last addressed the issues related to the delays in giving visas to Kenyans wishing to travel to the U.K.
According to Marriott, the problem that has caused citizens to wait months for their visas is not only related to Kenya but also has an impact on other countries.
On Saturday, the British envoy advised Kenyans to exercise patience while the problem is resolved and to make travel arrangements six weeks in advance.
“I want to offer my huge apologies to Kenyans for the delays on UK visas. I know it’s a major inconvenience. It’s a global challenge not Kenya’s specific – please plan six weeks ahead and bear with us for the next few months,” she said in a tweet.
Marriot went on to list further explanations for the delays, including the backlog of applications at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing global crises caused by the conflict in Russia and Ukraine.
She also pointed to the rise of business and student travelers to the U.K. as another factor contributing to the delays.
“There is a huge backlog as a result of Visa applications during COVID-19, that weren’t processed, the current global issues and crisis that are going off at the moment, but also an unprecedented demand of Visas and it’s great that many want to,” she stated in a video message.
“In 2019, 300,000 students across the world wanted to come to the U.K. This year it has nearly doubled to 600,000.”
Regarding the length of time, Marriot states that the wait is anticipated to last for a few months and that no priority applications will be accepted during that time.
“If you are looking to go to the U.K whether to study, business or tourism, please you need to apply six weeks in advance. Due to the pressure on the service, we are not able to offer the usual priority Visa service,” she says.
“If you were used to getting the Visa in five days, I’m sorry but it is going to take six weeks. It begins the day you go to the Visa application center, not when you fill the forms online. Please do provide the right paperwork because that will speed up the decision-making process.”