The United States Government announced last week that its B1 and B2 business and tourism visas will be valid for ten years for Ecuadorian citizens as of April 8.
Today, March 29, Wendy Loosle, US Vice Consul, made a live on the Facebook account of the US Embassy of Ecuador to solve certain doubts that exist in Ecuadorians as a result of the announcement.
He stressed that they are currently only handling renewals and are not accepting first-time visa applications. In addition, there is still no date for the reopening of both the Consulate and the Embassy.
Why did the United States decide to increase the period of validity of these visas?
In recent years, the Government of Ecuador made a systematic commitment and collaborated to carry out immigration and security reforms, for example, the issuance of electronic passports in 2020. In addition, the strengthening of its migration, data exchange and border security policies. This succeeded in increasing the period.
Since when will it come into effect?
This change takes effect on April 8. From this date, these visas will be valid for ten years instead of five.
If my visa is currently valid (it has not expired), can I return it to the United States consulate so they can issue me a new one for ten years?
It is not necessary. Five-year visas will remain valid until their expiration date. If you already have a five-year visa and would like a ten-year visa, you will have to apply again and pay the fee ($ 160).
Now that it will be possible to obtain twice the validity period, will it be more difficult to obtain a visa? Will the requirements be more rigorous?
No. The standard for qualifying for a visa has not changed. You have to show that you can afford your own trip, that you will use the visa in accordance with the regulations and that you will return to Ecuador after the trip.
The application and interview processes remain the same.
Do I have to pay more to get the 10-year visa?
No, there is no additional cost. The value remains the same as it is $ 160.
When will the Embassy and Consulate reopen to accept new visa applications?
Unfortunately they are not open now. We do not have a date for the resumption of our services. Due to the pandemic, the Embassy and Consulate can only offer emergency services at this time, as appointments in person must be limited so we cannot offer routine visa services that include first-time tourist visa applicants. time.
We hope that the health conditions will improve soon for everyone and we will resume our normal services. However, we are accepting applications from people who qualify for renewal without an interview (the process is done digitally).
To qualify for visa renewal without an interview, the following requirements must be met:
- The visa must not have expired more than 48 months ago.
- The visa to be renewed must be of the same type as the previous one.
- The previous visa must have been issued to be fully valid.
It is important to indicate that the ten-year visa can be requested from April 8. If a person requested the renewal of the document before that date, they will be granted a visa for five years complying with the aforementioned requirements.
Once visa procedures are resumed for the first time, those documents will also have a validity period of ten years. But there is no date yet for the receipt of these applications and other consular procedures. Only renewals are being accepted.
In the live video, the Embassy also answered several inquiries from citizens. One of the frequently asked questions was how long they are taking to give the visa renewal.
The diplomatic entity replied that it is taking 14 weeks (three and a half months) to return the visa passports.
Something that was not specified is that if you need to have an electronic passport to obtain visas for ten years. (I)