Latest Stories

Reissuance of US visas without interview


Marian was a frequent visitor to the United States, usually staying no longer than one month. But in 2008, a former classmate in high school influenced Marian to stay longer. Marian filed for an extension of her six-month visitor’s visa.

Three months after filing the application, Marian unfortunately received a denial of her request for an extension of stay. She left the US a week after receiving the denial notice. In 2009, Marian returned to the US again but this time she was denied entry by the inspector at the airport. She was forced to return on the next flight back to Manila. Since that traumatic experience, Marian has not attempted to return to the US.

Last week, Marian heard about the US Embassy’s new Visa Re-issuance Program (VRP), a procedure that processes visas without need for an interview. Her visa expired in December 2010 and she wants to know if she can renew her visa under the new program.


Many years back, the nonimmigrant visa unit of the US Embassy in Manila had a process of renewing expiring non-immigrant visas through a process known as “dropbox.”  This process did not require an interview. Later, because of the heightened security requirements on all visa applicants plus the fact that Manila was classified as a “high-fraud” post, this practice of “dropboxing” was suspended.

The new Visa Re-issuance Program (VRP) is somewhat similar to the former process of “dropboxing” to renew the visas. But it is also different in many ways.

Renewing under the VRP

The VRP expedites visa renewals for Filipino  applicants who have previously been issued multiple entry (B1/B2 tourist) visas to the United States valid for five or 10 years.  This is great news for qualified Philippine applicants because these applicants will be given priority appointment dates. An interview with a consular officer will not normally be needed. Applicants will only need to pay the regular visa fee of $140, submit Form DS-160 with their valid passport and two photos, and then schedule a VRP appointment. After the appointment, where their applications will be screened and their fingerprints taken, applicants can expect to receive their passport with a new US visa within one week.

The consular officer still reserves the right to interview an applicant. This means that not all those taking advantage of the VRP will be relieved of the regular interview process. If the consular officer decides to interview, the applicant will be contacted two days prior to the appointment date.

Past visa violations

The consular guidance provides eligibility requirements in the form of questions. An applicant for re-issuance must answer “yes” to all nine (9) questions. Most of the questions are general in nature but what is important to note are questions relating to “inadmissibility.” These are question numbers 5 through 8.

Notwithstanding a grant of an extension of stay or change of status, an applicant is disqualified from using the VRP if there is a prior stay of more than six months in the US. This extended stay, even if it is legal, requires a determination of whether or not the applicant engaged in an activity that is beyond the purpose of the prior admission.

Being refused a visa in the last 12 months is also a disqualification ground under the VRP.

There are varied reasons why a traveler is sent back to Manila upon entry at the airport. One common reason is  “immigrant intent” or prior visa violation. When a visitor visa holder, for instance, is discovered to have worked as a “caregiver” while in the US, this will be ground for the inspector to cancel the visa and order the traveler back to Manila. Once the visitor visa is cancelled, renewing it under the VRP is not an option. The VRP does not apply to cancelled visas.

Regular processing

In the case of Marian, she is definitely not qualified because she stayed for more than six months in the US and her visa was cancelled after she tried to reenter the US.

But a disqualification to renew under the VRP does not mean that a new visitor’s visa cannot be granted. It just means that the applicant has to undergo the regular process of an interview with the consular officer on the merits of the application. Whether or not this is going to be renewed will depend on each particular case.

The VRP program is a welcome development and hopefully Filipino travelers with  nonimmigrant visas will benefit from this efficient and expedited process.

(Tancinco may be reached at law@tancinco.com or at 877 7177 or 721 1963)

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Travel , United States , visa

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BDKDA4PBJULTTOZCJFQLWQQJYM Pinoy Ako

    Well the US should know that most long-staying Filipinos in the US are there to either do the tour if they are rich, or get some temporary work to earn for those who are not rich. Others live with their children and they attend to their grandchildren but they are also earning because they are paid. The good thing is that the US is closing their eyes a little bit because Filipinos who go there are not trouble-makers and they contribute to their current poor economy. Unlike other Nationalities like Pakistanis, Syrians, Lebanese, etc, who are there as either future troublemakers or even sleeper terrorists. The Chinese for example are there for the same reason they are here in the Philippines, either for Shabu or just plainly getting an illegal job or doing illegal business. In Filipinos’ cases, it is normally just to get work, earn money ang brag that he is working in the US, but cannot even afford an annual ticket to go back home. Life in the US now is so hard for starters especially if you enter illegally. But where is life easier these days?

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace