You might have come across the term “OECD Member Countries” in your visa applications. As a Filipino, we encounter a few unique obstacles to our travel goals and dreams.
First, the Philippines, being an archipelago, is surrounded by water. You would need to ride a plane (or a boat) in order to travel to the nearest country, unlike our neighbors who can drive or ride a bus across 3-4 countries on a long weekend.
Second is the arduous and expensive visa application procedure required by most of the countries we intend to visit.
It becomes important then to be aware of situations that could give you a slight advantage during tourist visa applications. One such advantage is given to frequent travelers to OECD member countries. OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and it is an International organization established in 1961 to help governments tackle the economic, social and governance challenges of a globalized economy.
How is this relevant to us visa applicants? Well if you think about it, the OECD is an organization composed of thirty-five (35) first world countries, which are some of the strictest when it comes to approving tourist visas. If you were able to successfully secure a tourist visa from one of them, the other member countries might look at your visa and think, Ahh… Country X approved this guy’s visa, he must have sufficient financial capacity. If his documents are genuine and in order, I might as well approve his visa too!
Almost like having a common friend vouch for you.
Of course this isn’t a guaranteed approval. I’ve heard about some unlucky individuals who have been refused Schengen tourist visas despite being frequent travelers to the United States. But what I’m saying is, your tourist visa to Country X carry certain perks, and could entitle you to an exemption from one (1) or more requirements, or maybe qualify you for a multiple entry visa. At the very least, it will make you look good in the eyes of the next OECD member country.
In short, it makes the visa application procedure a little easier.
So if you were granted a tourist visa to Japan or South Korea, pat yourself on the back! Photocopy that visa and submit it along with the other requirements when you apply for a tourist visa to another OECD country.
For your guidance, the OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.
This map shows where the OECD member countries are located.
Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government
For more information about OECD member countries, click this link.