The United States embassy in Manila has cancelled all non-immigrant B1/B2 (Business/Tourist) visa interview appointments scheduled through July 30, 2021 amid the continued global challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The resumption of routine visa services is on a post-by-post basis, in coordination with the [US State] Department’s framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities,” the embassy said in a statement posted on its website.
In March last year, the US State Department also suspended routine visa services worldwide following the outbreak of the pandemic.
Four months later, US embassies and consulates began a phased resumption of routine visa services in July 2020.
US Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able, the embassy said.
“As post-specific conditions improve, our missions have begun providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services,” it said.
Once routine visa services resume, applicants are advised to reschedule their visa interviews by calling through the Embassy call center at (+632) 7792-8988 and (+632) 8548-8223, or through the online appointment system at ustraveldocs.com/ph.
The US Embassy said no fee will be exacted to change an appointment, and the validity of the visa fee payment (known as the MRV fee) is extended until September 30, 2022 to allow applicants who are unable to schedule a visa appointment because of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa interview appointment with the already paid fee.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday warned the public against advertisements on social media offering passport appointment slots and fake or tampered appointment documents amid the high demand for passport services.
The DFA issued the advisory after passport applicants who have claimed to have secured appointments through social media have turned up at the DFA in recent weeks.
DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said to address the high demand for passport services caused by the implementation of strict quarantine protocols in March and April, the department is set to open 10 temporary satellite offices “very soon.”
“We want to assure the public that ten temporary satellite offices will be opened very soon to create additional passport appointment slots,” Dulay said.
The DFA said while it was able to offer 13,000 passport appointment slots per day before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 6,100 slots per day are available now because of restrictions in venue capacity and strict implementation of health and safety protocols such as physical distancing.
Dulay said the opening of temporary satellite offices will create an additional 2,500 slots in Metro Manila initially and another 2,500 in other regions experiencing a high demand.
The DFA reminded the public that only appointments secured from the official website, www.passport.gov.ph, will be honored.