Friday, October 06, 2006

US embassy in Manila issues new rules for visa application

By Veronica Uy
STARTING November 1 this year, applicants for non-immigrant visas to the United States would be required to use an electronic visa application form available for free on the Internet, the US embassy in Manila said in an advisory.

“The US Embassy will no longer accept handwritten or typed applications after November 1,” it said.

The new rule, the US embassy said, would speed up the interview and application process, and save time for the applicants. About 1,000 Filipinos apply for US visas every day, one of the highest visa applications in the world.

“[Applicants] will spend less time in the consular section on the day of their interview since they won’t have to wait for embassy staff to manually collect information from handwritten or typed applications,” it said.

Instead of writing their information by hand, applicants may download and complete the form via the Internet, They will be required to bring a printout of the completed three-page form with bar code to their interview. “When printed, each [form] has a unique 2-D bar code that US Embassy staff can electronically scan in order to input the applicant’s information. Use of the [form], which has been available online for more than three years, allows for quicker and more accurate data entry,” the advisory said.

The embassy said all other processes and requirements for applying for a non-immigrant visa remain the same.

To make a visa interview appointment, applicants are advised to call 1-909-101-7878 (accessible only within the Philippines through a PLDT or Smart landline) Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on Philippine and American holidays.

“You can also schedule an interview via the Internet using the VisaPoint™ system, a web-based appointment and information system available at,” it suggested.

More information about the new system is available at, the US Embassy Consular Section at (632) 528-6300 or fax (632) 523-1356, while information on the non-immigrant visa application process can be found on the US embassy’s Web site at


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