US Embassy Declares Visa Process Now Easy and the Issuance Rate High
Officials from the Consular Section of the United States (US) Embassy in Manila stated during their relaunch of the #WalangSikreto campaign earlier this month that the US visa application process in the Philippines is now easier and more transparent, adding that the current approval rate is also exceptionally ‘high’ for all applicants.
Deputy Consul General Kimberly Kelly, along with her colleagues from the US Embassy, dismissed the disputes claiming that securing a US visa in the Philippines is difficult. She explained how the number of non-immigrant visa applications denied in the country is actually “much lower” compared to the rate of issuance.
“On average, we approve the vast majority of the applicants that we see on a daily basis. The denial is much, much lower than the issuance. Our issuance rate is much, much higher,” Deputy Kelly said.
According to Deputy Kelly, in 2018, the embassy had over 250,000 applicants. In the same year, they issued 204,137 non-immigrant visas, 32,123 immigrant visas, 5,919 fiancé visas, and 929 student visas. This feat makes the US Embassy in Manila one of the largest consular divisions in the world.
US Consular Fraud Prevention Manager Leon Gendin said that their goal for the #WalangSikreto information campaign is to give the public access to accurate information about visa application. In this way, they can make educated decisions and be warned against the scams and risks involved in using visa fixers.
“Each fraud is a fraud too many. We’re very vigilant and take appropriate actions on all alleged fraud that we discover. It is an important part of consular operations to provide excellent service and to support the applicants as well,” Manager Gendin said. “Often we’ve seen instances where those expediters or fixers would provide a fake document, with or without the knowledge of the applicant. But in the end, the applicant would be responsible for his visa application and the consequences. So, why take the risk?” he added.
“It’s actually not difficult to apply for a US visa — you do not require the help of a fixer or expediter to accomplish the process” Deputy Kelly noted.
“You don’t have to pay a visa fixer or someone else to fill out your paperwork. It’s an online form. That form is universal for the whole world,” she added. According to the deputy, applicants of tourist visas need not waste their money on additional services offered by fixers or spend a significant amount for their application and are only required to pay an application fee in the embassy.
Deputy Kelly further assured applicants that there are “no secrets” in terms of applying for a US visa and “no special documents are required. Officers can choose and ask for supporting evidence if they feel the need to — we welcome qualified, legitimate travelers in the United States.”
The US Embassy ultimately strives to wholly encourage honesty in visa applicants and at the same time instill in them trust in the application process to sufficiently serve the people and maintain the integrity of the embassy’s consular operations.