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Priority Interview Program
10 MINUTE READ
May 27, 2022

The Priority Interview Program (PIP) is designed to promote and facilitate legitimate business travel between the United States and the Philippines. It allows qualifying businesses access to:

  • Expedited visa appointment
  • Dedicated line of communication – PIPManila@state.gov
  • Priority processing of visas and passport deliveries

CRITERIA FOR MEMBERSHIP

When evaluating applications, the Embassy uses the following criteria:

  1. An established profitable business, as indicated by:
    1. Annual revenue (typically, in excess of 20 million pesos)
    2. Number of full-time, regular employees (typically, in excess of 100 employees in positions requiring college degrees)
    3. At least three (3) years of established and profitable business within the Philippines
  2. Strong business ties with the United States. This may be demonstrated by factors such as large customer based in the United States, or partnership, subsidiary or supplier relationships with U.S. companies that have been in place for at least three (3) years.
  3. Frequent business travel by employees to the United States (typically, at least ten (10) employees travelling to the United States per year).
  4. Positive community awareness and reputation in the Philippines. The business must be well known in its industry and business community and enjoy a strong positive reputation.

HOW TO APPLY FOR PIP MEMBERSHIP

There are no application forms to complete. To apply for the PIP membership, the interested company must submit the following:

  1. A cover letter including a brief description of the company and the type of business in the Philippines, including the number of full-time, direct-hire employees in the Philippines. Each subsidiary must submit a separate application for individual PIP membership.
  2. A statement of the company’s travel needs, including number of employees sent to the United States in the last two (2) years, as well as those anticipated to be sent within the next year.
  3. A Specimen Signature page printed on company letterhead. This one-page Specimen Signature should contain signatures of at least two (2) but no more than four (4) authorized signatories to sign guarantee letters and other documents with respect to the program. To view a sample signatory letter, click here. If you have more than one location, a maximum of six signatories on the Specimen Signature is allowed.
  4. Complete contact information (email address & direct telephone/mobile numbers) for each company signatory and authorized representative designated to act on behalf of the company.
  5. Three (3) letters of references from customers, suppliers, or business partners in the United States. Only one (1) reference letter should be from a business partner in the United States.
  6. Evidence of the company’s annual revenue for the last three (3) years (i.e., audited financial statements).

Applications for membership should be sent to PIPManila@state.gov.

Most membership applications will require a site visit by Embassy officials to meet key managers/staff and understand the travel needs of the organization. Your application will be reviewed for eligibility, and you will be notified for a site visit if necessary. Companies accepted into the program will receive a membership letter containing instructions on how to apply for visas under the Priority Interview Program and how to obtain a business user account for the on-line appointment system.

Questions regarding PIP membership can be emailed to PIPManila@state.gov.


HOW TO APPLY FOR A VISA UNDER PIP

To apply for a visa under this program, visit this link: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-svc-businessvisaprogram.asp

In addition to the basic documentary requirements, each PIP applicant is required to do the following:

  1. Book an appointment under PIP timeslot.
  2. On the day of the interview appointment, the guarantee letter on company letterhead and signed by an authorized signatory, must be submitted along with the basic requirements: appointment letter, DS-160 confirmation page, valid photos & current passport, at the prescreening window.
  3. Demonstrate that the applicant is a bona fide business traveler with substantial ties to the Philippines that will compel his/her return after a temporary visit to the United States. S/he must be able to explain the purpose of the trip. Articulate why s/he was selected over other employees to attend business meetings and or/training in the U.S. For example, what specific skill makes this applicant a desirable employee.

NOTE: Failure of compliance, may result in rejection or refusal of application, and the applicant will be instructed to schedule a new appointment.


RESPONSIBILITIES OF PIP COMPANIES

A PIP company must ensure that all visa applications are limited to full-time direct-hire employees of the company who are being sent on temporary company business in the United States. It will be the responsibility of PIP member company to:

  • Provide and maintain an updated list of authorized signatories, electronically submitting in PDF format, a complete Specimen Signature each time there is an addition, removal or replacement of an authorized signatory to PIPManila@state.gov;
  • Provide and maintain updated contact information, including email addresses, for company signatories and other authorized representatives;
  • For L applicants, submit a signed itemized compensation package agreement between the company and the employee;
  • Ensure that employees of non-member subsidiary companies do not apply under the PIP program;
  • Notify the Embassy immediately if any employees resign while in the United States, or fail to return to the Philippines after their visit;
  • Respond to periodic audits by the Embassy to verify compliance with PIP regulations;
  • Ensure the integrity of the PIP program by safeguarding PIP Specimen Signature and on-line appointment business user account.

PIP ACCOUNTABILITY – IMPORTANT REMINDERS

PIP companies have access to a dedicated visa appointment for their employees as well as a direct line of communication for any inquiry or problems.  Additionally, for technical concerns, the company’s authorized representative may also contact the call center at (02) 7792-8988 or email to support-philippines@ustraveldocs.com.

To run an efficient program for all our clients, we require that all employees of PIP companies applying for a U.S. non-immigrant visa, utilize the specially designated PIP appointment timeslots. Only employees of PIP companies who are going on OFFICIAL COMPANY BUSINESS travel are eligible to use the program. Qualified dependent of PIP applicants may also use the PIP timeslot provided that they will be applying together with the principal applicant. Employees of PIP member companies who have not made appointments through the dedicated PIP channel will be turned away.

Ensure that the guarantee letter notes the company you will be visiting (whether that is company headquarters or a client) as well as the expected length of your employee’s stay in the United States.

Companies unable or unwilling to abide by the rules of the PIP program may result to suspension or termination of business user account. The PIP member company should check the Embassy website periodically for updates to the visa and/or PIP process.

For inquiries regarding the Priority Interview Program, please contact the PIP team at PIPManila@state.gov.