US Embassy to Remove Eligibility of Visa Applicants with Fake Papers
The United States (US) Embassy in Manila cautioned eager visa applicants in the Philippines to be wary of transacting public documents with “expediters” and “fixers” for their visa applications, as they may permanently lose eligibility to travel to the US.
“There is no secret formula” in the visa application process, the US Embassy’s Fraud Prevention Manager Leon Gendin declared during the agency’s 14th media event, on Thursday, August 15, raising awareness on the agency’s re-introduction of the “Walang Sikreto” anti-fraud campaign.
“Beware of using the services of expediters who would offer to get your birth certificates and marriage certificates quicker than it normally would. We’ve seen instances where those expediters and those fixers would often provide fake documents with or without the knowledge of the applicant,” Fraud Prevention Manager Gendin told the media.
“We do also see cases where the applicants are providing artificially issued or fake death/birth certificates, for example, to support their applications and that’s something we take very seriously,” he added.
According to the embassy, its success rate in recognizing fraudulent visa applications is “high.” The agency said it achieved this through a cooperative effort among the embassy’s foreign and local consular offices including the meticulous verification of all claims and documentation authenticity; its consular officers are “well-trained” in classifying fraud.
In 2018, a total of 929 student visas, 32,123 immigrant visas, 5,919 fiancé/e visas, and at least 204,137 non-immigrant visas, including the B1/B2 visa for temporary travel, were issued by the US embassy in the Philippines.
In the same year, at least 2,672 passport and visa fraud cases were investigated.
While this number is relatively small, the US embassy insists its extreme vigilance in its campaign against visa fraud.
“Philippine visa applicants are actually very good visa applicants. Our goal with the Walang Sikreto campaign is to make sure that those applicants know that our process is easy, transparent, and universal,” Visa Chief and Deputy Consul General Kimberly Christine Kelly said.
“We don’t require any applicant coaching. We look at the application, we interview them based on their application and their purpose of travel and probably make the determination if they qualify for that US visa under the law,” she said.
Fraud Prevention Manager Gendin resolved that ultimately, the applicants are “responsible for their visa application” and concluded that the “consequences of fraudulent actions or any attempt of it could be heavy and severe and may result in permanent ineligibility for that applicant to travel to the United States.”
For more information on the US Embassy’s updated fraud warning advisories and anti-fraud tips for visa applicants, please read and follow the instructions here.