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Metro

US Embassy declares higher visa fees

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Beginning Jan. 1, the United States Embassy in Manila will increase the application fee for a US non-immigrant visa to $131.

The embassy announced yesterday that the non-immigrant visa application fee will increase from $100 to $131 to allow the State Department to recover the costs of security and other enhancements to the non-immigrant visa application process. 

Applicants who paid the prior $100 application fee before Jan. 1 will be processed only if they are scheduled and appear for a visa interview on or before Jan. 31.  Applicants who paid the prior $100 application fee and appear for visa interviews after Jan. 31 must pay the difference — $31 — before they will be interviewed. This additional fee must be paid at one of the designated branches of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) or Citibank, the two banks that are authorized to collect visa fees.

The State Department is required by US law to recover the cost of processing non-immigrant visas through the collection of the machine-readable visa application fee.

The embassy added that it continues to look for new ways to improve service to visa applicants.

“For example, despite a greater than 20 percent increase in applicants since 2004, the embassy has dramatically shortened the average waiting period for scheduling a visitor visa interview,” the embassy said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced yesterday that it will not process passports on Dec. 21 and 26 and Jan. 2.

“Applicants whose passports are due on Dec. 21, 27 and 28 will be released as scheduled. On Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, the Consular Office will not be issuing passports to give way to its yearend passport inventory,” the DFA said in a notice.

The DFA will return to its normal passport processing and releasing schedule beginning Jan. 3.   – Pia Lee-Brago

 

BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

BEGINNING JAN

CONSULAR OFFICE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

JAN

STATE DEPARTMENT

VISA

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