Coming To America Is Not Easy For Kenyans

The process can take years and thousands of dollars.

The process can take years and thousands of dollars.

Joe Kipnusu, the president of the Iowa-based Medali Sports Group, an organization that seeks to develop top Kenyan runners has his hands full. A former player for the Des Moines Menace soccer team, Kipnusu is responsible for making sure his six athletes arrive in the United States legally–no easy feat to pull off.

“When you deal with international runners, you have a lot of responsibility, make sure they are OK,” he said. “I’ve got two [Visas] of them [done] right now. The other four are going through the same process.”

The P1 Visas that Kipnusu seeks are good for five years. 

“It’s a very new process,” Kipnusu said. “You have to have competed in your country and outclassed others from other countries.”

The process is hardly easy. It’s expensive, too. A government filing fee can range from $320-$1320 with another $1000-$1500 tacked on for attorney’s fees. There’s a long wait as well.

“My goal is to get them here by the end of next month, by the Drake Relays,” said Kipnusu. “I have something set up for them. Once they get here, hopefully they will come at one time and we can get an apartment for the four.”

For More: Des Moines Register