A visa is the bane of every traveler’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 the US tourist visa. Aside from a myriad of benefits of having a US visa, there are also several visa free countries for US visa holders.
Visa Free Countries For US Visa Holders (And other benefits of US Visa)
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?
A UNESCO World Heritage site and considered as one of the Natural Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon continues to amaze people with its colorful rocks, complexed gorge and immense size. This national park was my last choice to visit among the natural parks in the US but it turned out to be my favorite! @backpackingexecutive
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. That alone will save you a lot of headaches (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 the 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 compared 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 require 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.
#Antelope Canyon is a slot #canyon and is famous for its amazing and photogenic spiral rock arches. This natural wonder has become the main #tourism drawer for the #Navajo Nation – a Native Indian territory.
A post shared by The Travelling Pinoys (@thetravellingpinoys) on
5. There are also several visa free countries for US visa holders.
Yes, you heard it right. Although each country has a 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.
US Territories and The Caribbean:
US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, *Turks and Caicos and *Dominican Republic
**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 a 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.