When my U.S. Visa expired last June 11, 2011, I wasn’t inspired to renew it. All the stressful moments relative to my application for a visa ten years ago came rushing back in.
I just didn’t have the gall to go through it all over again. I accepted the fact that a visit to the United States of America is not going to happen for a long time. Well, until somebody told me that the U.S. Embassy in Manila is offering a hassle-free way of renewing your EXPIRED visa. From their website, I’m quoting their description of this new program:
“As of July 25, 2011, some visa applicants may be eligible for an appointment through the U.S. Embassy in Manila’s Visa Reissuance Program (VRP). To be qualified under this program, you must be able to answer “yes” to ALL of the following questions:
- I am a Philippines passport holder.
- I have previously been issued, in Manila, a full-validity B1/B2 visa issued in a Philippine passport (a visa good for five or ten years).
- My visa is still valid or it has expired within the last twelve months. (If your answer is yes, your VRP appointment must fall within this twelve-month period of expiry. For example, if your visa expired on September 20, 2010, you visa appointment must be on or before September 19, 2011.)
- I have in my possession all of my passports covering the entire period of time since I received that full-validity visa. (If your answer is yes, you are required to bring these passports on the day of your VRP interview.)
- I have not been refused a U.S. visa in the last twelve months.
- My visa is not annotated “clearance received”.
- I have not ever stayed in the U.S. longer than 6 months on a B1/B2 visa (even if the Department of Homeland Security approved the extension of stay).
- I have not ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even if subject of a pardon.
- I can provide the visa control number from my visa (located in the upper right hand corner of the visa).
If qualified for a VRP appointment, applicants need only to pay the fee, fill out the form, schedule an appointment, appear at the Embassy at the appointed time, and then have the application screened and give 10-print finger-scans. No need for an interview, and appointments are available within a few days!”
And I did that in two days! I could have done that in a day but I paid the fee at BPI last week and had to travel to Manila for a conference. So yesterday, I did two things, ONLINE. First, I filled up the Non-Immigrant Visa Application Form (DS-160) and scheduled my appointment after registering here.
Initially, I went through the process of booking an appointment by calling (02) 982-5555 and (02) 902-8930. The call center agent was very polite and helpful and she set an earlier appointment in December 2011. She reminded me that I can have it changed up to three times but after that I have to pay the fee again. I got email confirmations for both instances (confirmation of my application and appointment). And indeed when I decided to cancel my original appointment and book a new one, it was such a breeze.
Now, all I have to do is wait for my scheduled appointment. I just have to bring the confirmation letters of my application and appointment, all my expired passports bearing my U.S. visa and the stamp marks of my travels to America plus a 2×2 ID picture. NO NEED OF AN INTERVIEW. Beat that. Anyway, I may or may not be granted a visa but it’s good to know that there’s an easier alternative and less stressful.