As an off-shoot of the continuing coordination of the Association with the US Embassy, representatives from the US -Embassy, Manila, Non-Immigrant Visa Unit has requested to meet with the industry which was facilitated by FAME last 15 May 2006 at La Azotea, Casa Marinero, Intramuros, Manila. The purpose of the meeting was to update all manning agencies regarding the recent procedures implemented by the Embassy in the processing of US visa for seafarers. 

To highlight the discussion, Dir. Carolina De Leon of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Ms. Josephine J. Francisco, FAME President joined the speakers of the said briefing namely Mr. James Greene, Consul, and Ms. Rose Buckley, Consular Assistant, of Non-Immigrant Visa Unit-US Embassy, Manila. 

It was emphasized during the briefing that all requirements must be complete and passable. Seafarers should be honest in giving their data likewise; he must be prepared and candid enough to answer questions throughout the interview. 

One of the problems brought up by some manning agencies was the delay in the Delbros’ Prepaid Delivery System which was duly noted by the US Embassy representatives. They promised to look into this matter and address it as soon as possible. 

Another issue is the fee charged for rebooking, it was made clear then that there is no fee for rebooking. 

Further, Ms. Francisco cited an industry concern wherein it is requested by the industry to allow in-house processing in applying for visas. Since the US Embassy does not accept in-house processing, it is a difficulty encountered by the industry, as it is a job recurrence. 

To date, Dir. De Leon informed that a letter from POEA to US Embassy requesting to allow in-house processing was already submitted. Mr. Greene noted it and assured that this matter will be addressed on the soonest possible time. 

Following are the recent updates implemented by the US Embassy. 

 

  • Seafarers are expected to be at the Embassy 1.5 hours before the interview to minimize the waiting time and expedite the interview process.
  • Sequence of the documents presented at the window must be complied and consider the following remarks:

  • a) DS 156 and 157 (completely filled out) with the two (2) validation seals from the bank. Attached to the DS is the letter of guarantee and the work experience from 21 yrs old up to present. 
    b) Confirm the standards of the printed barcode (EVAF) in accordance to samples previously distributed and e-mailed.
    c) Photograph 1 ½ x 1 ½ colored white background, front view.
    d) DIS stapled on the last page of the most current seaman’s book.
    e) Contract of employment should be stapled at the back cover of the seaman’s book together with the OEC from POEA.
    f) Only the current passport and current seaman’s book should be stapled together.
    g) SRC card should be stapled at the first page of the seaman’s book with a photo on it. 

All of these steps facilitate in the processing of visas. For further inquiries, the Embassy is encouraging the manning agencies to e-mail at MNLSNIVSea@state.gov / NLSNIVSea@state.gov.