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The United States refused to issue visas to more than half of the Kenyans who were seeking to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly week.

“A delegation of 60 people from Kenya applied for visas. Only 27 of the 60 got them,” said James Mureu, vice chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Mureu made the disclosure on Tuesday in a talk at a New York trade show of African products.

He had earlier suggested that difficulty in obtaining visitor and business visas was one of the major “non-tariff barriers” to increasing Kenyan exports to the US under the duty-free Agoa preferential trade programme.


While the US State Department does not comment on individual visa matters, statistics available on its website show that the number of non-immigrant visas issued to Kenyans in August were 2,183 compared to 2,563 given in August 2017, representing a 15 per cent drop.

The decline in issuance of the travel documents has been noted amid the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration to the US.

There have been concerns that the tourism visa is one of the main sources of many unauthorised stays in the US.

The Politico magazine reported last April that the US granted 13 per cent fewer visitor visas overall during the previous 12 months than in 2016.