Freeman Cebu Business

US-based visa processing firm now in Cebu

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Filipino immigrants to the United States continue to increase as fast visa processing now also becomes essential.

RapidVisa, a visa processing service in the US and in the Philippines, has set up shop in Cebu City to cater to more Filipinos planning to get their visas to reside in the US.

US-based RapidVisa also serves other countries of visa origin such as China, Vietnam, India and Brazil, among others, but 85-95 percent of the clients it serves are from the Philippines.

"Cebuanos, and Filipinos in general, need not spend so much time processing their visas anymore," said Jerome Hermosilla, customer service manager, noting their processing time ranges from 5-6 months.

Setting up the Cebu office, Hermosilla said, is an answer to the rising volume of  visa applications from the Philippines.

He said they had processed an average of 400 petitions a month as of 2016 from various countries of origin including the Philippines.

According to Washington-based independent think tank Migration Policy Institute, which studies the movement of people worldwide, Filipino immigrants constitute one of the largest foreign-born groups in the US.

Since 1990, the Philippines has been consistently among the top five countries of origin, and was the fourth largest in 2013, accounting for 4.5 percent of the 41.3 million total immigration population in the US, MPI said.

The Filipino immigrant population is the third largest foreign-born population from Asia, after India and China.

MPI noted the Filipino immigrant community in the US jumped from 105,000 in 1960 (1.1 percent of all immigrants ) to 1,844,000 in 2013 (4.5 percent).

"Some of this increase is a direct result of the Immigration and Nationality Act's removal of the national-original system in 1965, but some is also related to long-established governmental and business relationships between the two countries, economic and educational opportunities in the United States, and a general culture of migration in the Philippines that encourages and helps facilitate both labor migration to any remittances from the United States and elsewhere," MPI noted.

According to MPI, although most Filipino migrants are in the US, others reside in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Japan.

Today, most Filipino immigrants in the US obtain lawful permanent residence, also known as "green card", through family reunification channels, either as immediate relatives of US citizens or as other family-sponsored immigrants.

Many also received the status through employment-based status.   (FREEMAN)



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