Have you also fantasized a photo-opportunity with the Statue of Liberty or the Golden Bridge? Yes? Good! Because these famous landmarks may be miles away from home but it’s definitely possible to see them with our own eyes even though you’re a Filipino passport holder. Yes! That “American Dream” of yours can become a reality even just for a quick holiday in the United States. So without further adieu, here’s how to apply a US tourist visa for Filipino travellers.
Is it difficult to get a US (B-2) tourist visa?
It’s quite obvious that the US has the most strict immigration policies and it is definitely not the easiest country to get a visa most especially for us, Filipinos. All thanks to the high rate of illegal Filipino immigrants, honest travellers are also facing the nerve-wrecking visa application process. By default, the US immigration policy presumes that every tourist visa applicant is intending to immigrate. So it is up to the applicant to convince the consulate officers that his sole purpose is for tourism and not to illegally stay in the US.
And to answer the question above, YES it is difficult to get a US tourist visa ONLY IF you don’t know the process and which requirements to bring.
Good! Now how should I start?
Getting a US visa in 4 easy steps:
Applying for a US tourist visa can be done in 4 simple steps.
1. Pay the visa application fee
A visa application fee of $160 should be paid before scheduling an interview. Regardless the outcome of your application, it is non-refundable and non-transferable. Fees can be paid through Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) using the local currency.
2. Accomplish and submit the DS-160 form or the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application form
The application form must be completed and submitted online before scheduling an interview. You will then be redirected to a confirmation page after successfully submitting the form. Print the confirmation. You will also need the information on the page for the next step.
Note: Double check the information you provided in the form before signing and submitting it because any false information will make you ineligible to enter the US.
3. Schedule your interview
By this point, you should have paid the application fee and submitted the application form because you will be needing proofs of these in order to schedule an interview. You should be able to provide:
- Passport number
- Payment receipt number
- Barcode number on the confirmation page
4. Personally attend the scheduled interview
You should personally attend the interview on the scheduled date and time. It is important to look presentable in front of the consul by wearing the appropriate dress code. It’s true that first impression lasts so start convincing the officer that you are a serious applicant by the clothes you wear. Don’t worry if you’re already feeling nervous just by thinking about it. We all do! Now, the next step that you should do is to prepare the documents.
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Preparing the documents for the interview
To boost up your chances of getting that dream US vacation, here are the documents that you have to prepare before going to your visa interview. Remember, it is always the best move to bring everything the consul MIGHT ask from you.
US Visa Basic Requirements
1. Valid Passport
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond your travel dates.
2. Printed DS-160 confirmation page
Can be printed after submitting the application form online.
3. 2×2 photo
The photo must not be taken longer than 6 months, should reflect the current appearance upon application, and compliant with the US visa photo standards.
4. Proof of payment
This is the payment receipt showing the amount of the visa fee paid in the local currency.
- Proof of financial capacity
This can be any of the following:
2. Bank statement
3. Income Tax Return (ITR)
4. Credit Card statements
2. Proof of rootedness
1. Employment Contract
2. Leave of Absence signed by employer
3. Proof of property or business ownership
4. School records (if student)
5. Car registration certificate
6. Lease contract
3. Travel itinerary
1. Flight reservation tickets
2. List of planned activities and places to visit
4. Criminal/court records – if applicable and even if you completed your sentence or were pardoned.
5. Previous US visas or any proof that you have been in the US.
Note: Feel free to prepare all the documents that you think will support your application. Just remember that the primary goal is to convince the officers that you do not intend to be an illegal immigrant in the “land of opportunities”. Lastly, be honest and do not EVER present fake documents.
Where to apply for US visa?
U.S. Embassy, Manila
1201 Roxas Blvd
For more information, you can also visit their website: http://manila.usembassy.gov
When should I schedule my application?
It is advisable to process your application 2 months before your intended travel dates. There are also cases when you have to reschedule your application due to unexpected circumstances. Although the visa application fee is valid for one calendar year, the applicants are only allowed to reschedule twice.
How long should I wait for the visa?
The standard visa processing is usually one week. However, due to special cases, visa processing might take more than the expected timeframe. Your passport will be sent via the 2Go courier service and you can track your passport using the following methods:
Email address: [email protected]
2. Phone call
Telephone number: +632-982-5555
Schedule: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
What if my application gets denied?
Don’t be too hard on yourself if your application gets denied. You can still reapply at the embassy. However, make sure that you understand the grounds of rejection so that you can provide further documents and proofs to the consul. Also, remember that a visa fee is required every time you apply and is non-refundable even if your visa is rejected.
So there you have it! In just 4 easy (and doable) steps, you’re already a step closer to getting that dream US visa. I hope this article has shed some light and gave you confidence in your visa application. Good luck!