Love and Immigration – in the Fast Lane

When the Norwegian batchelor Erik Esdaile finished his studies in Australia, he decided to see a bit of Asia before returning to Norway. In the Philippines, he met the love of his life and the Asia-Tour was cut short. Last year, the couple tied the knot in Cebu, and soon they came to the Embassy to apply for a Residence Permit for Maria.
Maria became the first applicant in Manila to apply for a Residence Permit through the Norwegian Application Portal.
When the couple arrived at the Embassy, they were not aware of the Application Portal, but were happy to try when informed by the Embassy staff. The couple went to an Internet Cafe just around the corner from the Embassy, filled in the application form on the Portal, paid the fee and booked an appointment at the Embassy (all on the Portal).
Afterwards, the couple walked back to the Embassy, Maria handed in her supporting documents to a Visa Officer at the Embassy’s Visa Section (bypassing all the other applicants who had paper applications with them) and attended a short interview. At the same time, Erik did a written interview in the Chancery.
The same afternoon, the Embassy finished the registration of the case, scanned the supporting documents and transferred the case to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) for processing. The Embassy also sent off Verification Requests to all the relevant Filipino authorities.
Normally, it would take up to a week before the application would be sent (by post) to Norway, but as Maria and Erik had filled in the application online, it was possible for the Embassy to finish the case much faster. Moreover, all online applications are given priority, so Maria’s application bypassed the queue for both registration, scanning and verification.
The young (first) applicant was given a book about Norway as a sign of appreciation from the Embassy.
Last year, the Norwegian Embassy in Manila, along with the Norwegian Embassy in Teheran were chosen as pilots for the projects ‘eCase’ and the Norwegian ‘Application Portal’ (electronic archive and case processing for immigration cases). In October last year, the ‘eCase’ project went live.
Applications for Family Immigration and Education were registered and scanned at the Embassy and then transferred electronically to the Directorate of Immigration (UDI). The Norwegian Police also got immediate access to the cases, which meant that a lot of time was saved for all parties involved.
When a decision was made, the Embassy was notified immediately through the system. All in all, the processing time was cut by months. In the old regime, cases spent a long time in the post, as well as waiting to be registered in /out in each different agency (Embassy, UDI, Police, UDI, Embassy). This is now a thing of the past.
Following a successful pilot of the eCase project, the project was extended on Monday (08/02/10) to also cover applications for Residence Permits where the purpose of the application was Work.
At the same time, the Norwegian Application Portal (which, up until then, only covered Schengen Visas) was opened for Family Immigration, Education, Work, etc. and the Project went live.
The Embassy is delighted with the new system as it allows for smarter and more efficient working, and importantly, the Embassy is able to provide better service to its users.

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