Diplomatic mission processes more than 200,000 applications for business and tourism visas annually
The United States has several types of visas that are issued for migrants and non-migrants. Within this last category, tourism and business visas are among the most required in Ecuador.
The American Government announced days ago that these two types of visas will have a longer validity for Ecuadorians as of April 8, 2021, when going from 5 to a maximum of 10 years of validity.
This is due to the fact that Ecuador fulfilled some requirements such as the issuance of biometrically improved electronic passports in 2020, the strengthening of its own immigration policies, data exchange and border security.
In travel agencies it is considered that although the extension of the period of tourist visas will affect the income they obtain when they advise clients to fill out the forms, on the other hand, the possibility that packages are moved more to visit the United States once there is a better post-pandemic scenario.
Tourism and business visas for the United States will be valid for 10 years for Ecuadorians
At the moment There are six North American airlines flying in the country with routes to New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Houston and Atlanta. Some have asked to increase their frequencies.
Juan Pablo Proaño, president of the Association of Travel Agencies, Operators and Tourism Wholesalers, argues that the visa extension is favorable for tourists and business people, because they will not have to constantly renew the document and pay the fee.
“It is less income for the American consulate, but that country guarantees tourists for ten years, something that will leave them more revenue than what they obtain from the issuance of visas,” says Proaño.
Entrepreneurs also believe that the extension of the validity for business visas will favor business relationships.
Generally, the business visa (B1) is issued in conjunction with the tourist visa (B2). Before the pandemic, the United States diplomatic mission in Ecuador processed annually more than 200,000 applications for B1 / 2 type visas (business / tourism).
An embassy spokesperson told this newspaper that before the pandemic, most of these requests were granted.
Felipe Espinosa, Executive Director of the Ecuadorian American Chamber of Commerce-Amcham, points out that the extension of the granting of visas for a period of ten years puts Ecuador at the same level as other Latin American countries that have this treatment.
“Always being able to process a visa and having a longer extension will favor the exchange between our countries. Business is done in the medium and long term, not in the short term. With a visa with a longer validity period, the necessary trips can be better planned to increase this exchange, ”says Espinosa.
Travel to the United States is recovering faster and American Airlines will have three daily flights
The business visas are granted for business meetings, business conferences, business, domestic helper duly hired accompanying a foreign employer, athlete, hobbyist or professional who will compete only for unpaid prizes.
The spokesperson for the United States diplomatic mission indicates that the B1 business visa can not only be applied by an entrepreneur who owns a large company, but anyone who goes to the United States for business reasons, even if it is small or a micro-business.
Patricia Moreira, president of the Chamber of Small Industry of Guayas, indicates that the main benefit of having a longer valid business visa is that it generates greater possibilities and facilities in business, especially from the field of exports.
But she also sees opportunities that can occur in the exchange of technology and processes that allow us to be more cost-efficient and therefore more competitive in the market.
“It represents that our country has an opportunity to advance like other countries in the region to strengthen commercial cooperation and technology relations between both countries,” asserts the leader.
The United States is one of Ecuador’s main export markets. More than 1,300 companies register business with that country, to which some 900 products are sold. According to Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters In 2020, shipments to the US market generated foreign exchange for 3,189 million dollars.
How long can a person stay in the United States on a B1 business visa?
That relies on Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which processes the entry of travelers into the United States at airports, seaports, or land borders. They determine how long someone can stay in the U.S. (I)
Visas in times of pandemic
-The cost of the process to apply for a business visa is the same as a tourist visa, that is, 160 dollars. This value will be maintained for the new visas that are issued with the period extended to ten years.
-The ten-year validity applies to new visas that are issued from April 8 and has no retroactive effect, that is, for those who have a five-year visa. Those who want to obtain a 10-year visa must reapply.
-Because of the pandemic there are visa applicants who are waiting to schedule an appointment. The diplomatic mission has extended the validity of the payment (known as the MRV fee) until on September 30, 2022.