A visa is the bane of every traveller’s existence. Applying for a visa is not only stressful and time consuming, it is also costly. But do you know what is the most practical and useful visa to have? This is the same tourist visa that most people have misconception to be the hardest to get. Yes, I’m talking about US tourist visa.

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Most people think that a US visa is hard to get but my experience and the other people I know proved to be that as long as you have the right documents and you are legitimately going there for tourism purposes, it is not as hard as what most people think. In fact, getting Schengen Visa is a lot way more stressful with all the documents they are requesting.

So why the US visa is the most practical and useful visa to have?

  1. Fewer required documents

Despite being known for the toughest visa processing, US actually only requires you to bring these documents: your passport, printed copy of the DS-160 confirmation page (the application form), visa fee payment receipt, appointment confirmation and your 2X2 photos. Unlike other countries, they actually don’t require you to submit your itinerary, flight reservation, your income and bank statement, ITR, travel insurance, cover letter etc etc. That alone will save you a lot of headache (and money). Although, you can bring these documents just in case the consul asks you for further proof.

2. Longer validity 

This depends on each country’s bilateral agreement with the US, but here in the Philippines, the common length of validity of the US visa is 10 years. Some get 5 years I heard, but I don’t know anyone personally who has it. Which makes it more practical especially if you can’t go to US as often as you’d like but you also don’t want to keep applying every time you have to go.

3. On the spot result 

If you travel a lot and you often apply for visa, then you are familiar with the stress of the waiting game. I personally hate it when I don’t know if I will receive my passport with visa stamp or a letter of rejection. With US visa, you don’t have to deal with it as they give you the result after your personal interview. Even if you’re rejected, at least you don’t have to deal with the waiting game and can plan your “moving-on-party” straight away.

4. It is cheaper in the long run 

I understand that $160 (or around Php7800) is not cheap at all for one visa. But if you will divide that by its validity period, then you will realize it’s cheaper compare to other multiple entry visas like Schengen where you have to pay over Php3000 for less than 6 months validity. Or Canadian visa for almost Php4000 for 3 years. Some countries also requires you to apply for every trip which can be really expensive and time consuming. Plus the extra costs for documents, transportation and other miscellaneous fees every time you have to apply.

5. US visa will also give you access to other countries

Yes, you heard it right. Although each country has specific visa that you have to apply for, in some countries they will let you in without applying for the visa they require as long as you have your US multiple entry visa. It is called substitute visa and below is the list of the countries where you can also use your US visa.

Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Panama, *Costa Rica, El Salvador, *Nicaragua and Honduras
US Territories and The Caribbean: US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, *Turks and Caicos and *Dominican Republic
Asia: Taiwan
Europe: **Georgia, Montenegro, Albania, and Serbia

That’s a total of extra 17 countries where you can use your US multiple entry visa! With all these reasons, US visa, without a doubt, is the most practical and useful visa to have.

Note: I have entered Mexico twice, Belize for 5-7 times, Taiwan and Guatemala once only using my US visa so I can personally vouch for these countries. But as per rule of thumb, always check with the embassy first for entry requirements as visa rules change often. 

*These countries are also visa-free for Filipinos.
**Requires an e-visa for Filipinos
I included them on the list just in case other nationalities find it useful.


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most practical and useful tourist visa to have

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14 COMMENTS

  1. This is a really cool post. I had no idea about the US Visa. I’ve been wanting to travel outside the USA but I keep being reminded there is a lot of beauty right here to be scene. Thank you 🙂 Also beautiful pics.

    • Jaclyn you have a beautiful and diverse country! I cant actually believe how each State offers something new and different from the others 🙂

    • Yay! Where are you from? And cool offers on your site by the way! Will check them out later when internet is better haha

  2. Great information. I really didnt know much about Visa or the process to get one. I only have a US Passport and that was pretty easy to do, the kids were a bit of a mission but we got it done

  3. Why not obtain a Norwegian Seaman passport, and you can travel to193 countries without visa 🙂
    Just go to the airport and then decide where to go 🙂

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