When a person is denied a tourist visa, he/she is usually handed a blue letter. The blue letter is marked with a reason why the visa was denied. One option states that an applicant’s “social, family, and economic ties” are not sufficient to issue a visa. This language is based on the 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which states:
“Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the officer, at the time of the application for a visa . . . that he is entitled to nonimmigrant status . . .”
Essentially, the consular officer is looking to see that the applicant has compelling reasons to return to the Philippines. By law, the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that he or she qualifies for the visa. This proof may come in many forms, but when considered together, it must be strong enough for the consular officer to conclude that one’s ties to the Philippines will bring him/her back at the end of a short, temporary stay in the United States. Each person has a different situation and there is not one correct way to show the compelling ties, but all applicants should be honest in discussing residence, employment, and family relationships.
The Visa Reissuance Program (VRP) was launched in July 2011 to speed up the reissuance of visas for Philippine visa applicants who have previously been issued multiple-entry visitor (B-1/B-2) visas valid for five or ten years. If you are qualified for the VRP, you need only to pay the application fee of $140, fill out the DS-160 electronic nonimmigrant visa application form, and schedule your appointment. You will be given a priority appointment date when you can submit your valid passport and application confirmation page for screening and give 10-print fingerscans at the U.S. Embassy. In most cases, an interview with a consular officer is not needed. If an interview is required, you will be notified within two business days of your VRP appointment. If you are qualified, you will receive your passport with the U.S. visa within five business days.
To qualify for the VRP, you must be able to answer “yes” to all of the following:
1. I am a Philippines passport holder.
2. I have previously been issued, in Manila, a full-validity B1/B2 visa (a visa good for five or ten years).
3. My visa is still valid or it has expired within the last twelve months.
(If your answer is yes, your VRP appointment must fall within this twelve-month period of expiry. For example, if your visa expired on September 20, 2010, your visa appointment must be on or before September 19, 2011.)
4. I have in my possession all of my passports covering the entire period of time since I received that full-validity visa.
(If your answer is yes, you are required to bring these passports on the day of your VRP interview.)
5. I have not been refused a U.S. visa in the last twelve months.
6. My visa is not annotated “clearance received”.
7. I have not ever stayed in the U.S. longer than 6 months (even if the Department of Homeland Security approved the extension of stay).
8. I have not ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even if subject of a pardon.
9. I can provide the visa control number from my visa (located in the upper right hand corner of the visa).
Applicants who are unable to meet all the VRP conditions must apply through the regular application process provided in the U.S. Embassy’s website: http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwhniv1.html. For information on VRP, visit http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3024.html#V1.
Myth: The U.S. Embassy has a daily quota for the number of visas that can be issued.
Fact: U.S. Embassy Manila does not have a quota system or pre-set number of visas that can be issued each day, week, month, or year. Each applicant is assessed on a case-by-case basis using a number of criteria under U.S. immigration law. If applicants are denied it is because they do not meet the criteria. Consular officer decisions are final. If an applicant is not satisfied with the application of the law, he or she can reapply, pay a new fee, and interview with a different consular officer.
As of December 1, 2010 the Nonimmigrant Visa unit at U.S. Embassy Manila has a new courier system to return passports to visa applicants. You no longer have to pay extra for your passport and visa to be returned to you – the cost of the courier service is included in your MRV fee that you pay before you make an appointment.
The passport and visa will be sent directly to you by the courier service at the address provided when the appointment was made. In the case of seafarers, the passport and visa will generally be sent to the seafarer’s manning agency.
If you are not home at the time of the delivery of the passport, you must leave an authorization letter and a copy of a government-recognized photo ID with a representative who can accept your passport on your behalf.
Welcome to VISAtisfied Voyager! The U.S. Embassy aims to provide timely and important information to anyone interested in learning more about the nonimmigrant and immigrant visa process. The posts in this blog are aimed to convey specific pieces of information to the general public. Remarks and comments are welcome but not all will be published on the site.
For more information on Immigrant visas, click under the “Immigrant Visa” page. For more information on Nonimmigrant visas, click under the “Nonimmigrant Visa” page. Please share any useful information!
Unfortunately, individual requests or questions about a specific case cannot be answered in this venue. For more information about specific cases, visit http://manila.usembassy.gov.
Stay tuned for our first posts!