FILIPINOS are patient.It took us 400 years to break the colonial yoke from Spain, about 45 years before the United States “granted” us independence and 15 years (1971 to 1986) to oust the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
We patiently wait in traffic mindful that P3 – P5 billion is lost in a day while we remain stuck on the roads. And we wait for our visa applications to be processed to escape the longest wait of all – to have a government that is competent and genuinely caring for the people.
But an honest politician is as oxymoronic as military intelligence, so we wait.
I have compiled the waiting time for the five embassies of countries that offer permanent residency pathways as a guide to readers who wish to explore the shortest queue to the specific visa category.
For temporary visa applicants, the Australian Embassy “strongly recommends” that applications be submitted well in advance (at least one month earlier) of the intended travel date. Further, the applicant must not make “any irreversible travel arrangements” until the visa is granted, issued and received by the applicant.
DIBP Global Service Standard
Visitor Visa – Tourism Stream
Visitor Visa – Business Stream
Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa
3 working days
Assessment Level exempt – 14 days (same as AL1)
Assessment Levels 3 & 4 – 90 days
Assessment Level 2 – 21 days
Other Sponsored Temporary Residents 3 months
If a medical examination is required, the wait may take a minimum of six (6) weeks. Processing of visa applications of nations from countries considered to be “high risk” (history of overstaying visas or violating visa conditions) are scrutinized and, therefore, processing takes longer. The Philippines is considered a “high-risk” country.
Generally, family sponsorships – for spouses, partners or fiancés living outside Australia — are first submitted and approved by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), then forwarded to the Australian Embassy, in a country where the spouse or partner is residing.
DIBP Global Service Standard
Partner Migration (subclass 300, 309, 100).
12 months (subclass 300, 309)
8 months (subclass 100)
Other Family Migration
(subclass 114, 115, 116)
Capped and queue
(subclass 101, 102, 445, 117)
Processing time will vary based on the type of application submitted. Assuming complete documentation had been submitted, verification and assessment for each visa category may depend on the following factors:
Visitors – permanent ties in the Philippines and in Canada; previous visa applications, access to funds and history of financial records, convincing evidence that applicant will leave Canada after the requested temporary stay.
Study Permit – school is on the designated learning institutions list, academic course or program is not available in the Philippines, study plan submitted explaining why a particular course or program was chosen and intention to return to the Philippines after completion of studies.
Work Permit – validity of the Labor Market Impact Assessment filed by the Canadian employer, experience of applicant relevant to the job being offered and like the visitor and student visas, intention to return to the Philippines after completion of contract. Previous applications refused as visitor or student will also be evaluated to determine the reason for the change in visa category being applied for.
Other factors affecting decision: Volume of applications received; verification process; applicant’s response to request for additional information or documentation and whether the application is complete.
Temporary Resident Visas
• Visitor Visa 12 days
• Study Permit 12 weeks
• Work Permit 3 months
• Live-in Caregivers 47 months
Permanent Resident Visas
•Applied: Before February 27, 2008 — 141 months
•Applied: Between February 27, 2008 and June 25, 2010 — 69 months
•Applied: Between June 26, 2010 and December 31, 2014 — 14 months
•Skilled Workers Online, Express Entry — 6 months
•Provincial Nominees applying online — 6 months.
•Provincial Nominees, paper application — 15 months
Permanent resident applications through Express Entry are submitted online. Once a candidate’s profile is completed, that intention to apply remains in the pool of candidates for a year. During that time, the candidate’s profile is available and accessible to the Federal, Provincial governments as well as Canadian employers.
If a candidate is selected, current processing time is six (6) months.
For individuals who submitted their permanent residency application forms (2008, 2010 or 2014 as shown above) the waiting period is much, much longer. That is, if an applicant has not requested for a refund of the visa application and permanent resident fees.
The speed of processing is largely dependent upon applicants preparing their visa applications completely, as per the prescribed and relevant checklists. Depending upon the time of year you apply, i.e., peak or off-peak season, may also affect the speed of visa processing.
Visitor visas–10 working days
Student visas–15 working days
Work visas–25 working days
Returning resident visas and label transfers – 10 working days
In some cases, where more information is needed to support an application, for example the verification of work experience, a labor market check or a medical referral, applications can take longer.
Permanent resident applications to New Zealand through the Expression of Interest route takes anywhere from one to two years upon issuance of the invitation to apply for residency.
The US Embassy has the shortest wait period to process a temporary visa, especially the B-1 (temporary visit for business) or B-2 (temporary visit for pleasure). After completing the online form DS-160 using the reference data from the BPI Official Receipt, the applicant may set an interview date, selecting the earliest date possible.
Unlike the other four embassies, the consular post in Manila requires a personal interview. However, the decision is made immediately after the interview.
The same procedure goes for the Student Visa (F1 Academic or M1 Vocational); the J-1 Exchange Student/Visitor visa and the work visas (H-1B and H-2B categories – from the time of approval and forwarding from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to the US Embassy Manila.
Permanent Resident applications to the US can take anywhere from 1 to 25 years depending on the category. Spouses, minor children, parents and fiancées of US citizens wait for an average of eight to 12 months. For the preference categories subject to annual quota, the wait could be as short as two years (for the F2A [spouse, minor children of green card holders] to 25 years in the F4 (brothers, sisters of US citizens). For updated Visa Bulletin reports, log on to www.visacenter.org
VISITING THE UK
You can usually stay in the UK for up to six months.
You might be able to stay for longer if:
• you apply (and pay an extra fee) for a long-term visit visa and you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period
• you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment — up to 11 months
• you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research — you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months
For those intending to stay in the UK permanently, a five-year legal employment history is required.
Filipinos wait patiently. With millions of Filipino left on their own patiently waiting for their turn on an uneven playing field, it should be no wonder to see the Philippines remaining the Sick Man of Asia no matter what the “official” statistics on growth rates say.