MANILA – The US embassy in the Philippines gets 700 to 1,000 applications for nonimmigrant visa every day and about 70 percent are approved. “It’s a 70 percent approval rate, which is pretty good,” according to Consul General Michael R. Schimmel.
But with the order of President Obama to liberalize the grant of visas for those wanting to visit the US, the percentage of visa grants is expected to dramatically rise. Under the Obama tourists’ plan, those who have already had US visas in the past don’t have to be re-interviewed if they reapply to visit the US.
“We very much want to see Filipinos visit the US. It’s in everybody’s interest for Filipinos to travel to the US,” Schimmel, who assumed his post in October, tells the Inquirer. He says international travel is the best way to promote a solid bilateral relationship.
The US embassy in the Philippines gets 700 to 1,000 applications for nonimmigrant visa every day. About a third are disapproved for various reasons.
Previously, out of every 10 tourist or business visa applications filed with the United States embassy in Manila, about seven get approved.
“It’s a 70 percent approval rate, which is pretty good,” according to Consul General Michael R. Schimmel who was interviewed by the Daily Inquirer last year.
The Philippines is not among 36 countries covered by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Nationals of countries covered by VWP can travel to the US for tourism or business purposes without a visa and stay for not more than 90 days.
Only four Asian countries are in the VWP: Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
To be admitted to the program, a country “must meet various security and other requirements, such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the US.” For a country to qualify, the rate of visa application refusal must be less than two percent. The Philippines’ is around 30 percent.