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Mindanao US Visa Applicants are Facing Additional Administrative Processing Recently

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Anybody know anything about this?

 
 
A map of Mindanao Philippines with the title Midanao US Visa applicants face additional administrative processing recently after US Embassy interview.

Mindanao Visa Applicants Face Additional Administrative Processing

Mindanao US Visa Applicants are Facing

Additional Administrative Processing Recently

Additional Administrative Processing for Mindanao US Visa Applicants

Introduction

us-embassy-manila-300.jpg?zoom=3.5&resizThe US Embassy in Manila is recently using additional administrative processing on many Mindanao US visa applicants. Now, there is more scrutiny on Mindanao US visa applicants at the US Embassy Manila.

Most likely for the well intention purpose of US national security, the implementation of this new additional administrative processing of Mindanao applicants is increasing. On the other hand, the additional administrative processing is also really affecting innocent families.  For example, these families are apart for long times (up to a year or more) waiting for their visas to reunite.

Proof of Visa Processing Changes

Our website LoveVisaLife, also has a Facebook discussion group K-1 Fiance IR-1/CR-1 Spouse US Visa & Adjusting to USA Life- LoveVisaLife. In our discussion group, we have seen this additional administrative processing for security vetting starting in September of 2017. In addition, the amount of additional security vetting for those from Mindanao increased significantly after the first day of 2018. Also, the only Philippine visa applicants that we see receiving this additional vetting by the US Embassy Manila are from Mindanao.

In addition, the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine leading newspaper, has confirmed “More stringent vetting for US visa applicants“.

Time Frame for Additional Processing

The visa applicants from Mindanao under scrutiny are told to complete Form DS-5535. This form is the Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants as part of the presidential memorandum. For this purpose, the embassy uses this form to gather the additional information requested by the consular officer.

Concerning normal US Embassy Manila visa processing, it is typically very quick. Visa processing, issuance and delivery averages between 5 – 12 days after the successful embassy interview. This seems to still be the case for most of the visa applicants from other Philippine islands other than Mindanao.

Now, many Mindanao applicants are told at the end of the interview that they are now on one month of 221g administrative processing. In particular, the additional administrative processing is for additional background checks.

221g additional administrative processing is also known as Security Advisory Opinion (SAO). Regarding this, it is the time period during which visa applications undergo additional review outside of the “normal” visa processing times. Administrative processing takes place after the visa interview.

It usually takes at least 60 days to resolve the additional administrative processing.



Why the Embassy Scrutiny on Mindanao Applicants

US Presidential Memorandum

The US White house as a symbol of the office of the US President.On March 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump issued a memorandum to all US embassies and consulates calling for “heightened screening and vetting” for applications for visas.

The Manila Bulletin reported, “In accordance with the President’s March 6, 2017 memorandum on enhancing the screening and vetting of applications for visas, the Department of State will collect additional information from visa applicants worldwide when a consular officer determines that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” US Embassy Press Attachè Molly Koscina said in an email to the Manila Bulletin.

Social media on a phone as part of information requested with additional administrative processing.In fact, this new measure now gives US Embassy Consulars broad powers to request more background materials from certain applicants compared to regular applicants. For example, these additional materials include:

  • passport and travel history,
  • information on relatives,
  • address and contact information,
  • current and prior email addresses, and
  • social media account names.

As a consequence of the presidential memorandum, the visa applicants from Mindanao under scrutiny are told to complete Form DS-5535. This form is the Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants as part of the presidential memorandum. For this purpose, the embassy uses this form to gather the additional information requested by the consular officer.

Mindanao History of Terrorist Activity

AK47 rifle depicting terrorism.According to the Council on Foreign Affairs, “The southern Philippines have long been a breeding ground for terrorist activity. Militant organizations like the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) operate in the Sulu archipelago and easternmost island of Mindanao…”.

The US Department of State considers the Philippine Island of Mindanao a “Safe Haven” for Terrorists. Refer to the Council on Foreign Affairs  article “Terrorism Havens: Philippines” for more detailed information on terrorism and terrorist activities in Mindanao.

In addition, the recent terrorist event in Marawi heightened US national security concerns.  For a five month period from March to October, 2017, a Muslim militant group linked to ISIS attacked and took control of parts of Marawi city on Mindanao island. Mindanao was placed under Marshall Law by President Rodrigo Duerte. The Philippine military has since liberated Marawi.

Summary of Why the Mindanao Scrutiny

National security is the main reason for the additional administrative processing for Mindanao US visa applicants.Because of the history of terrorist activities in Mindanao and the 2017 US Presidential memorandum, it is truly not a surprise that the US Embassy in Manila has taken this action. This is especially true for some Mindanao residents applying for a US Visa.

Therefore, keep in mind that the intention of this scrutiny is for US national security.

On the other hand, there are many peaceful areas of Mindanao that do not see any terrorism. Therefore, many innocent Mindanao visa applicants are put in longer limbo because of the embassy policies. We feel for these families living separate for so long. The current visa process has a long timeframe itself of 8 months to a year. Then, with this new administrative processing, it adds on a couple more months. However, the applicant has control very little control over the process. US national security will always be a priority to the US government.

With this in mind, there are really no other options beside riding out the additional administrative processing.

Prepare for Additional Administrative Processing

In June of 2017, LoveVisaLife saw this coming with the March 16, 2017 presidential memorandum. We saw that the presidential memorandum included approval of additional visa scrutiny.  As a result, we wrote an article, “Using Social Media During U.S. Visa Application Process“.

In summary, this post describes how to use social media properly while applying for a US visa. Therefore, use this article as a guide in using social media properly while applying for a US visa.

If you do not use social media properly, it can cause you delay, refusal or many questions. However, if you use social media properly, it can actually help you by proving a bona fide relationship. In addition, it helps you with any additional administrative processing.

In addition, keep in mind the following:

  • Be careful who you associate with in real and on social media.
  • Don’t use any anti-American words or hatred to America. Think before posting any anti-american or other political ideas.
  • Talking of support for terrorism in any way could hurt you.
  • Discussion of support for violence could hurt to your visa chances.

If you follow these guides, let’s hope that any additional administrative processing is short. We hope that you are reunited with your loved one soon.

 

 

 

   

 

 

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And...? 

Edited by Ben&Zian

08/15/2014 : Met Online

06/30/2016 : I-129F Packet Sent

07/08/2016 : NOA 1 Received

08/25/2016 : NOA 2 Received (48 days)

11/08/2016 : Interview - APPROVED!

11/18/2016 : Visa in hand

11/23/2016 : POE - Dallas, Texas

From sending of I-129F petiton to POE - 146 days.

 

02/03/2017 - Married 

 

02/24/2017 - AOS packet sent

03/06/2017 - NOA1's received via text

03/31/2017 - Biometrics appointment Completed

06/01/2017 - EAD/AP Combo Card Received in mail

12/06/2017 - I-485 Approved

12/14/2017 - Green Card Received in mail - No Interview

 

 

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If the ds5535 was a frequent request from Manila there would be an active thread.  I have not seen one.  There is a very active thread in the embassy/consulate forum

Edited by payxibka

YMMV

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This sounds like a advertisement for their service to be honest. 

4 minutes ago, Commish10 said:

Our interview is coming up. My Fiance is from Davao. We will complete the form and bring to interview. Can't hurt to have it. 

We have not heard about it at all and it sounds like Fake news. I wouldn't worry about it.

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Not everyone from Midanao gets a DS-5535. Some people not from there do get it.

Nobody knows exactly what triggers the additional checks.

 

The biggest issue I have with the article (I have several) is the section labeled "Proof of Visa Processing Changes". No "proof" is provided. Not even good evidence is provided. It's anecdotal.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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I found nothing on the embassy website .. but I did not search every page ;)  :) 


Hank

"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

 

      HandArrow.gif.adeb854ba620933849ae921ca0b44a0c.gif  Link to the Visa Process for Manila Embassy once you have your NOA2 : Click Here

 

Contact Hank: HERE

K-1 visa approved 21 March 2012

...Citizenship... complete!

 

 

 

 

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