Tips on How to get a US tourist visa (B1/B2)

October 31, 2010


Tips on How to get a US tourist visa

Loving the Philippines doesn't mean I wouldn't be interested in going to other places like the US. We have a lot of relatives in the US and having a US tourist visa definitely makes things  easier for those who like exploring and traveling to different places and discovering different cultures. For instance,  when you apply for a Schengen visa for travel to Europe, they ask for a photocopy of your valid US visa at the interview. Although it's not officially listed as one of the requirements, they do ask for it during the interview. I interpret this to mean that having a US visa bears some weight with the consul of other countries and will persuade them to grant you their visa. Admittedly, the most difficult visa to get is the US visa.

Although we are focusing right now on discovering the Philippines, a great part of my kids' education focuses on cultural tolerance. By exposing them to other cultures, they learn to accept that people who have different beliefs and practices are not necessarily wrong in those beliefs. The beliefs and practices they develop are borne of experiences in their daily life in an effort to survive the daily struggles of  their own unique situation and environment. As usual with Filipinos, if we have funds for travel, we usually travel first to other countries. So we traveled first to other countries. But later appreciated the Philippines more for its unique natural beauty, which remains its competitive edge in the tourism industry.

I'm sure a lot of you are already eager to know my experience getting a US tourist visa so let's get on with the story.

I renewed my 10 year visa in 2007 so my experience in 2007 is no longer valid. The rest of my family, which  includes my husband and  4 kids, had visas expiring November 2010, so I'll share with you their experience renewing their visa  last week. Although my tips pertain to renewing a tourist visa, I'm sure the information below will help those attempting to get a US tourist visa for the very first time. At the end of the post, I will give tips for first-time applicants to give them greater chance of getting one. So do read on till the end of my post.

THE APPLICATION PROCESS

I will talk about  the process in chronological order so you would know how to prioritize the tasks. With the new system in place, which requires everyone to electronically fill out the application form, you cannot do things  simultaneously. It needs to be done one-by-one, and  in the following order:

2 months before the intended date of interview:

1. Have your photo taken, saved in CD and printed in 2 x 2 print.

This is the first thing you should  do because you cannot electronically submit the application form and get a confirmation number without uploading your digital photo. Visapoint (the website where you get an online appointment schedule) requires that you upload the photo before you can submit your application form. After you submit your application form, you get a confirmation number. You need to have a confirmation number before you can see the appointment  availability at visapoint.

2. Fill up the DS 160 form electronically.

Do not fear filling up this form  because you can edit the contents and edit your confirmation number until 2 days before the interview date. By filling up the form, you immediately get a confirmation number. When you have a confirmation number, you can get an appointment through visapoint.

3. Log in at visa point, purchase a pin and fill up the form.

4. Get the appointment date.

The dates open at visapoint are only until 2 months from the date you get inside visapoint. Do no think that the embassy is fully booked beyond 2 months. They simply don't open the booking facility beyond 2 months from the time you log on to visapoint.

In our case, we made sure we were able to log on at visapoint  2 months before our intended date of interview just to  make sure we get the desired date. The kids don't have classes on sem break so we planned to renew the visa at that time to make it easier to arrange our schedules.

From our  experience, Thursdays are usually the slowest time in any government agency. So we got a Thursday slot. We also got the 1st slot, the 730 am slot, because it usually has the shortest wait time. Logically, if you have the 1st slot in any line, your wait time is shortest. My husband and 4 kids got the 730 am slot and  they finished the interview at 10am. I got the 1030am slot in 2007 when I renewed my visa and I finished 3pm.

1 week before the date of interview:

Review the application form.
Just to make sure that I filled up my kids' form correctly and accurately, I reviewed the contents of the  application form and resubmitted it and got a more recent confirmation number. You need not do this. But being my obsessive self, I had to do this to make sure everything is perfect. Remember, you can change the confirmation number through visapoint until 2 days before your interview.

2 days before the date of interview:

I paid the visa fee just 2 days before the interview. Why 2 days before? The embassy website suggests that you pay 2 days before the interview to avoid large fluctuation in currency exchange. You will not be accepted for interview if  the amount you pay in peso is insufficient. You pay your visa fee in peso and not in US dollars. In US dollars, the rate is fixed. But if you pay in peso, you are subject to currency fluctuation. Since the US embassy website, suggests you pay 2 days before, they cannot argue that you didn't pay the sufficient amount because you only did what they suggested.

THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW

1. Do not be late.
They require that you to be at the embassy an hour before the interview.

2. Do not bring electronic devices like cellphones.
There's no place within the embassy to deposit it. You will risk depositing it with strangers outside the embassy for a fee. Being the resourceful Filipinos  that we are, there are a lot of people doing business outside the embassy as depository for cellphones and electronic devices. They hold on to your cellphone, give you a claim stub, and pay them a fee. Of course, it's risky since these people are strangers.

DO'S AND DONT'S AT THE INTERVIEW

No matter what the US embassy website says, I still think that with the new process installed by the US embassy, a lot of people have been pre-qualified already, meaning, when you arrive at the interview, those who are renewing their visa and has not violated the terms of their  visa, already has a very big change of  renewing their visa. 

Why do I say that? What's different about the new system?

1. You cannot edit your application information and submit a new confirmation number 2 days before the interview.

Two days before your interview, you can no longer change the confirmation number of your application form at visapoint. Therefore, the application form with the confirmation number submitted with visapoint is the final application form that the consul will refer to at the interview.  Therefore, 2 days before the interview, they are already privy to all your personal information and could already judge whether or not you qualify for a visa. In 2007, when I renewed my visa, all the information in my application form is only submitted on the day of the interview. Today, they have that information already 2 days before the interview.

2. In the electronic application form, they ask whether you were given a visa before and what the visa number is. 

To a certain extent, those requesting for renewal already has an edge, unless you're one of those who violated the terms of your previous visa.

If you're up for renewal without any violation of the terms of your previous visa, unless you bungle your interview, you will most probably get a new visa.

What to say and not to say at the interview:

1. Be truthful and be concise about your answer. 

This means to just answer the question asked of you briefly, without elaborating. By elaborating, there's greater chance of error or contradicting yourself. Also, the consul usually takes around 3 minutes to interview each applicant so he/she has no time to listen to elaboration. By elaborating, there's also greater chance of annoying the consul.

2. When asked the purpose of your trip, be sure to state a purpose that is within the scope of your visa. 

Basically you should know what purpose is within the scope of your visa. For instance, if you're requesting for a tourist visa, do not tell the consul that you are going to the States to go on tour and marry your fiance. They will immediately deny your application, because the true purpose of your visit to the States is to marry your fiance. What you should have applied for is a fiance visa and not a tourist visa.

3. Be honest about who filled up or encoded data in your application form. 

It will not affect whether or not you are granted a visa if you declared in your application form that someone else filled it up for you.

There is a portion in the application form that  asks who filled up the  form or encoded the data. You should be truthful on this  respect. It will not be taken against you if you admit that someone else filled up the form for you. What is important is that you read the contents and agreed to it. Those who had someone else fill up the form, and did not state who filled up the form, and at the interview admitted that they did not fill up the form, were asked to return the embassy after filling up another form declaring another person filled up the form for them. Imagine the hassle and the expense of doing so.

IF VISA IS GIVEN
You receive your passport with visa by courier 2 days after your interview.

MY TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS:
The visa application form focuses on the 5-year period prior to the application for a US tourist visa. During the 5 years prior to your first time visa application, you must have the following history:

1. Work history

You must have worked for at least 5 years with enough income to support traveling to another country for leisure purposes. It will be an added advantage if you stayed with one employer for that length of time. It will strengthen proof that you will return to the Philippines after visiting the States.

2. Travel history

You must actually have traveled to a foreign country several times in the past 5 years and have returned to the Philippines afterwards. It will be proof that you actually can afford to travel to another country, have traveled to a foreign country and returned to the Philippines, and that you have a habit of traveling to a foreign country for leisure. I actually have overheard a consul deny the visa to someone who has not traveled to another country prior to applying for a US tourist visa and then suggest to the applicant that he travel 1st to a regional destination like Hong Kong before embarking on a long journey to the States.

In this context,  I would also suggest that you travel to a "friendly" and "neutral" country like Hong Kong and Singapore 1st. Obviously, if you travel to Pakistan, or Yemen, where a lot of terrorist groups are present, it will send flags to the consul and you would most likely be denied a visa. Common foreign travel destinations for Filipinos are Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.

If you need detailed information, go directly to the US embassy in Manila website and Visapoint.

Other posts you may be interested in reading: 
Where to ask your US Tourist Visa Questions

UPDATE as of November 27, 2012!!

CHECKOUT THIS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AND VERY HELPFUL ARTICLE FROM GMA NEWS: 

Tagalog-speaking US embassy exec debunks some visa application myths

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi! me and my family (my dad, older sister and aunt) are planning to apply for US tourist visa this year. we wanted to visit my sister, other relatives who are based there and of course explore US.

i'm just quite nervous given that i'm 26 yrs old, nurse and i don't have a work history so far. what i'm up to right now, studying for my master's degree. i have traveled several asian countries, including the places you've mentioned. my dad is a retired master mariner (seaman), so he also did at the time he worked. family's main source of income: agricultural farm and a beach resort. we're not the richy-rich type. just in the middle class. :)


im quite bothered with the work history which you mentioned. could it possibly affect my application?

no intention for me to be a TNT. is there a better chance for us to be approved if we apply together as family?

hoping to hear from you soon!

thanks in advance! more power! :)

regards,
jeanette

Meanne said...

Hi. Sorry for the late reply. We were on vacation.

I'm presuming this is the first time you will apply for a visa coz my answer will be slightly different if you are renewing a US visa.

The biggest problem you will have will be your ability to demonstrate ties to the Philippines. The consul always presumes you will want to stay and work in the US. So you have to show proof that you have ties to the Philippines strong enough to make you return. Your age, your profession, and your lack of work will make it unlikely you will be granted a US visa. But if you can afford the visa fee, you can always try to apply. Perhaps the consul can sense that you don't intend to go on TNT and grant you a visa. The US embassy is very lenient these days and not as strict as before. They need tourists to fuel the US economy.

Since you are no longer a minor, you apply on your own. You can go together and schedule your appointment at the same time, but the consul will speak to you individually and consider your situation separately from other members of your family.

Hope this helps.

Honey Andrade said...

Hello! Thanks a lot for this blog post! Just wanted to ask you about resubmitting a DS 160 application form.. I realized that i made several mistakes on mine and i was wondering if its okay to submit a new one with all the correct data? Will i need to cancel and reschedule my appointment as well so that the confirmation ID and barcode number on the Confirmation will be the same with the Appointment Confirmation? I dont know what to do and im so worried thAt resubmitting a new application form will affect the consular's decision for approval.. Hope to hear from you soon.. Thanks!

jenny said...

hi! I will be taking the FPGEE (foreign pharmacy graduate equivalency exam) in the US on November. I will receive my authority to take the text on July. Can you give me some advice so that my visa application will be approved?

I was denied once before because my reason for travel was tourism, but I didn't have travel history.

Now I have travelled several countries. My mom is in CA on a working visa.

Hoping to hear from you soon. Thanks in advance!:)

Meanne said...

To Honey Andrade:

I had the same experience as you had filling up the application form. The appointment confirmation is different from the application form. You don't need to get a new appointment. Just correct your application form, and bring it with you to your interview. The final DS-160 that you submit at the interview is the only one that will be considered.

Meanne said...

To Jenny:

The important thing for you to do is to apply for the correct visa. Then, at the interview, your reason for traveling to the US must stay within the scope of the visa you applied for. In your case, the correct visa is a B1/B2 visa. Under that visa, you can take the exam, and you can travel around the US for leisure. But you cannot work in the US under that visa. Therefore, when asked by the consul if you intend to work while there, you must answer that you only want to take the exam and do some sightseeing while there, and then go home afterwards to await the results of the exam. Do not elaborate. Answer questions briefly and straight to the point. The interview just takes 2-3 minutes and will depend on the consul's first impression of you.

Just to highlight what i mean: There was a lady who applied for a US B1/B2 tourist visa. When interviewed, she said she wants to tour the US and at the same time marry her fiancee while there. She was denied the visa because she was applying for the wrong visa. The consul concluded that her real intention was to marry her fiancee so she should have applied for a fiancee visa and not a tourist visa.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

hi, Im planning to renew my 10yrs multiple visa that has expired last feb2011. I previously travelled to the us back in 2007 for a month vacation and last year which is nov2010 and exteneded my stay legally and us immigration gave 6mos extension which makes a total of 1yr. So I went back here in the philippines nov2011. The reason is my family migrated and I was aged out so I used my visa before the expiration. All of the family members are there except me. I'm planning to renew it to visit my family at least once a year. I'm currently employed right now as a call center agent for 7 months and planning to renew again my visa. Can you give some tips to apply and for the interview. Thank you so much!

Hoping to hear from you soon, regards!

Meanne said...

To Anonymous:

The visa interview usually takes only around 2-3 minutes. So basically just answer the question straight to the point and briefly. Don't elaborate. Since you've been to the States several times and have returned, they will most probably renew your visa since you have shown that you have returned everytime you visited the States. Just stay within the scope of the visa when they ask you the purpose of your visit, which is for leisure and to visit family and friends. Don't mention any other purpose. If they ask you how long you will stay, tell them just a few weeks since your work allows you to take only a few weeks vacation. In case they ask if you're going to extend your stay again, tell them definitely not since your employers only allow you a few weeks vacation. This is to show ties to the Philippines compelling enough to want you to return to the Philippines. But as I said, this is ONLY IF THEY ASK. Don't volunteer information that they do not ask for.

Saske said...

Hello blogger :)

I am planning of applying for a B1/B2 US visa this month because i just inherited a real estate property in florida when my grandmom died last 2010. My purpose is to settle that property so that I can have my own copy of the land title under my name because as of now I only had a copy of the trustee's deed from my late grandmom''s trust stating the transfer of property to my name. I only had that copy printed from the clerk of court's website in florida and not the original copy because we are not in good terms with our relative who manages my grandmom's last will in fact she refuses to give me a copy of the said trust. Is this copy of the trustee's deed from the website enough as my supporting document when i present this to the consul? Also I am worried that I might get denied when they see that I am a medical technologist by profession and already had a license and visa screen to work there but i cannot deny this because for sure they are going to ask about my job. Any tips on what i should do to have better chances of acquiring this visa? Thank you. -

---- Saske

Meanne said...

Hi Saske. If you have a pending application for work visa, they will most probably deny you a tourist visa. I have a niece who works as a nurse in the UK, with a pending application for work visa in the US. She tried applying for a tourist visa but was denied. Apparently, you can't apply for a US tourist visa when you have a pending work visa application or even a immigrant visa application.

Saske said...

Hi Meanne,

I don't have a pending work visa or immigrant visa because this will be my first time to apply for a US visa and I haven't travelled to any country before.

Meanne said...

Hi Saske. I misunderstood what you meant with the phrase "visa screen to work there". I thought this meant you have been screened for a working visa.....When applying for nonimmigrant visa, the consul always presumes you're going to migrate. Regardless of your purpose, the most important thing that you must be able to show is that you have compelling ties to the Philippines that will make you want to return, that you have better opportunities here than migrating to the States. This means a very good, stable and high paying job that you want to return to and immediate family living in the Philippines. Previous travel history would have supported your claim that you've traveled and always returned to the Philippines, but since you have none, I don't think in the 2min interview that you can convince the consul that you will return to the Philippines, especially since you're a medical tecnologist. Travel history is so important since it shows a pattern of behavior that they can rely on. Your situation may fall under a b1 visa, which is visiting the US for the purpose of settling an estate but your grandmother passed away 2 years ago, so the urgency has been lost already. Of course, this is just my layman's opinion. I don't claim to be an expert on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Great tips....it helps a lot.. just want to ask because i am planning to apply for a B2 visa to visit my cousin in NY...im afraid i dont have any travel history and that i am single but i have a daughter, these might be the caused for my denial...i'm a government employee for 9 yrs and im planning to have a vacation with my daughter this coming holiday...pls enlighten.. is there any chance even i have no travel history and i am single? tnx.

Anonymous said...

Great tips....it helps a lot.. just want to ask because i am planning to apply for a B2 visa to visit my cousin in NY...im afraid i dont have any travel history and that i am single but i have a daughter, these might be the caused for my denial...i'm a government employee for 9 yrs and im planning to have a vacation with my daughter this coming holiday...pls enlighten.. is there any chance even i have no travel history and i am single? tnx.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I'm planning to renew my visa this month. Is there a required salary requirement or does the consul look at the salary to get the visa approved. Id yes then how much should be the minimum salary for them to approve a visa? And is it okay that my certificate of employment doesnt have salary information?

thank you

annabelle jazul said...

hi there,
just wanted to know what are my chances of getting my kids a visit visa..
i have multiple visa already and ive been going in and out of us for several times.
but this time i wanted to take my kids for a trip this coming holidays plus a dear friend of mine is getting married and she wants the kids to be part of their wedding.
they will shoulder all the expenses of the trip...meaning our ticket, accommodation and even our meals and other local trip in the us like Universal Studio.
what are the possibilities of them getting the visa?
my kids ages are 13yrs and 2yrs old.
hope to hear from you

thanks
belle

Anonymous said...

Gud Day! Hi I'm a Filipino 25 yrs old, I've been in Japan, SG, HK & Bangkok for the last 2 yrs, this year I've been in France & Italy. Do you think this time i applied for US they will grant me a Tourist visa? My 1st apply was denied, Tourist Visa. And I was denied too for Transit Visa.. Do you think now that I have a Schengen Visa they will consider my application for tourist visa?? ^^ ..

Thank You and God Bless. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Gud Day! Hi I'm a Filipino 25 yrs old, I've been in Japan, SG, HK & Bangkok for the last 2 yrs, this year I've been in France & Italy. Do you think this time i applied for US they will grant me a Tourist visa? My 1st apply was denied, Tourist Visa. And I was denied too for Transit Visa.. Do you think now that I have a Schengen Visa they will consider my application for tourist visa?? ^^ ..

Thank You and God Bless. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Gud Day! Hi I'm a Filipino 25 yrs old, I've been in Japan, SG, HK & Bangkok for the last 2 yrs, this year I've been in France & Italy. Do you think this time i applied for US they will grant me a Tourist visa? My 1st apply was denied, Tourist Visa. And I was denied too for Transit Visa.. Do you think now that I have a Schengen Visa they will consider my application for tourist visa?? ^^ ..

Thank You and God Bless. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Gud Day! Hi I'm a Filipino 25 yrs old, I've been in Japan, SG, HK & Bangkok for the last 2 yrs, this year I've been in France & Italy. Do you think this time i applied for US they will grant me a Tourist visa? My 1st apply was denied, Tourist Visa. And I was denied too for Transit Visa.. Do you think now that I have a Schengen Visa they will consider my application for tourist visa?? ^^ ..

Thank You and God Bless. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Oh my God im so sorry, nag post na pla yung comment ko, nadoble po .. so sorry! I didn't mean it. Sorry. :)

God Bless.

Meanne said...

Hi. Sorry for the very late reply. I was only able to see these messages today.

To Anonymous of Aug 3, 1048am:
Travel history is very important because it shows a pattern of behavior of returning to the Philippines. My observation of other interviews when I did mineis that in such a situation the consul usually advises the applicant to travel to a nearer country first before venturing to go to the States. Perhaps your 9 years employment history as a government employee will help, depending on your salary level. But the ff circumstances go against you: the fact that you're single, have a daughter you will bring with you to the States, and lack travel history. Please read my update on the article I encountered about debunking us visa myths.

To Anonymous of Aug 3, 1054am:
I don't think that the consul look at the salary alone. It's actually a combination of things you declare in your application form. They have a lot of access to information so it's best to be truthful. Just be prepared in case they ask for documents so you can furnish them with information immediately so it won't be necessary for you to return to the embassy to give them the additional documents. But in my experience and others I've spoken to, the interview is very short and very rarely asks for specific documents.

To Belle:
If you have a 10 year multiple entry visa, then there's a great chance your minor children will also get a visa. The same document that you used will most probably apply to them too, and being minors your behavior will reflect what will be their behavior too, and your situation, especially your financial situation will also extend to them. I emphasize though that my opinion is only for minor children. For children who have reached the age of majority and are considered adults, they will have to stand on their own merit.

To Anonymous of Aug 22:
I think you will have a greater chance of getting a US visa with the extent of travel that you did. This means you are financially capable and with a pattern of behavior of returning to the Philippines after your trips. Of course, you still have to show that you are currently employed and have enough ties to return to the Philippines after your US trip. But if you've proven the latter, then you will have no problem getting a visa

Hope this still helps despite my late reply.

Anonymous said...

Hey Thanks a lot for your reply! It's me the Aug. 22 2012 comment.

Im still nervous becoz im just a regular guy, but my employer is a U.S Citizen, im single.

Thank YOu so much. Happy New Year! :)

Meanne said...

Hi. Good luck with your interview! I hope you get a visa. :-)

Anonymous said...

Helo again I saw ur reply. It's still me the previous comment.

I have another question if u don't mind. :)

What do u think is the best Visa Application for me, B1 or B2 Visa. Im just thinking coz my employer is the reason why i am going to U.S. so i think B1 Domestic/Personal assistant Visa application if fit for me?? I have ties, my Job and my Family, that's all. What do u think is the best Vsa Category for me? B1 or B2? Thank You :)

Anonymous said...

Greetings!

im planning to apply for a tourist visa this summer just to visist my family in the US. I only intend to stay for few weeks since i have a lot of responsibilities with my job. Im a nurse instructor working for 8 years now in the academe. I am married and living with my husband in the Phil. My first degree family are all in the US and are all american citizens. A travel agent told me i have least chances of getting a visitor visa primarily because of my profession and secondly my immediate family are all in the US. Isn't my husband and my stable job enough as ties? if not, what could you suggest to increase my chances.I would highly appreciate your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Dear Meanner,

Thank you for all the info. If you would pleas advise me as to the possibility of my girl friend receiving a b-1 visitors visa. We met last Nov 2012 and think we might like to get married sometime in the future. However we both agree since we only spent 8 days together, we need more time before taking that next step. So we both feel a visit here to the US for us both to spend more time with each other is important. I would like her to see where I live and what it would be like for here to live here also. she has never traveled and this would be her first time applying for a visa. Because she is a single mom with a 4 year old son she has no real work history. I hope that because she has a son, it would prove that she has a real reason to return to the philippines. Do you think that would be a valid reason to present during her interview. also if we do get married it must take place in here city with her family present. I would be providing funds for all of her expensives to and from her home as well as during her stay here.

thank you again for all of you advise and help.

asunanthemoon

Meanne said...

To Anonymous of January 4:

Since your working while accompanying your employer to the US, then a tourist visa is not the right visa for you. Even if you're able to get a tourist visa, you will be denied entry at the US port of entry when you answer that the reason you're going to the US is to work while accompanying your employer to the US. I'm not really sure if the B1 visa is the right visa because I know very little detail of your circumstance. Perhaps you can pose the question at the blog of the us embassy in manila called visatisfied voyager. You may find this link useful: http://blogs.usembassy.gov/philippines/?p=1495

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am a nurse working in Singapore for about 3 years now. I am planning to apply for a tourist visa to visit my boyfriend and meet the entire family.

I wonder if there will be a better chance should i apply for the visa here or in the Philippines.

Im hoping to hear from you.

God bless!

Best Regards,
sally

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm a nurse base here in Abu dhabi for almost 3 years and working in one of the biggest govenment hospital here, and im planning to visit my brother in the US this november since its my annual leave. How can i convince the consul to grant me a tourist visa. last october 2012 ive been to UK for 23 days then my latest trip was macau and hongkong last march 2013 .
Thank you in advance.
regards,
mark

Anonymous said...

Hi!! Thanks for the very helpful tips!! I would just like to ask your opinion if we have a chance to have our visa approved..here's our case:

1. None of us (my siblings and I)is a minor. I am currently in law school however school does not start until June. I have a certificate of enrollment but it was issued last March 2013..would that still be valid?

2.My brother already has his own family. He has a business and he has a car under his name but as regards his business what other proof will he need? His wife is a corporate nurse and is currently employed and they have a 3 year old son.

3. My other sister is a Physical Therapist who is conducting home based therapy so in a way, she is self-employed..she also has a car under her name..would that be sufficient?

4. My mom and my dad would shoulder all the expenses for our trip just like in our other trips.I can say they have very stable careers. If this is the case, we still need to have individual ds-160's right? But can we schedule our interviews together and be considered as applying for a family tourist visa?

btw We have all been to korea together twice for the past 2 years (2011 and 2012) and we just really want to travel to the US for a change.

Hope you can reply to message! Thanks!

Meanne said...

To Anonymous of April 18:

What's your current status? Are you a holder of a Philippine passport or are you a citizen of Singapore already? If you're a Singaporean citizen, you can enter the US without a visa. Checkout the visa waiver program requirements at the website of the US embassy in Singapore.

If you're still a Filipino citizen, below is my reply:

In terms of chances, it doesn't matter where you apply, whether in Manila or Singapore. They will make their assessment based on your current situation, regardless of where you apply.

In terms of convenience, it's better to apply in Singapore since you're working there. It will be more expensive and harder to schedule an appointment if you apply in the Philippnes.

Meanne said...

To Anonymous of April 29:

Your employment situation and travel history for the past 5 years will speak for itself. Just answer all the questions in the application truthfully and be ready with documents in case they ask for it.In my personal opinion you have a greater chance than most people in getting a US visa, unless you have a pending working visa application in the US. My niece who's a nurse in London and travels extensively was denied a US visa because she has a pending working visa application in the US. You cannot apply for a tourist visa when you have a pending working visa application.

Meanne said...

To Anonymous of May 2:

Since none of you are minors, your application will be assessed on its own merit separately from each other, regardless of who pays for your trip. So each one must prove financial status and demonstrate ties to the Philippines sufficient enough to make you want to return to the Philippines.


Answer to question 1.
The date of issuance of the certificate of employment will not matter if it's stated in the certificate that your employment goes beyond your US visit, meaning that you have a work to go back to after your visit to the US.

Answer to question 2:
The list of documents demonstrating ties can be found here; http://manila.usembassy.gov/demonstrating-ties.html

Answer to question 3:
My personal opinion is that owning a car alone is not sufficient. See the link above on demonstrating ties.

Answer to question 4:
You can schedule a date and time that allows you to go together. There's no such thing as family tourist visa. The only advantage of filling up the application form as a family is that some blanks are auto-filled so you don't have to retype info such as family name. But the difficulty of doing this is that the person inputting all the information should be aware of each one's employment, financial and travel history to be able to do this. In my case, it's not too difficult because I personally know all the info of my husband and 4 kids. But doing this for different families traveling together will be difficult. I suggest each of you fill up the ds 160 separately but choose a common date and time.

Anonymous said...

hi po!im planning to renew my us visa this coming june.my visa was been expired last feb 2012.what are the documents i need to prepare,im still 30 yrs old married no child.do have the chances to get us visa?tnx

Meanne said...

I can't really answer your question completely coz you gave me limited information. You have a good advantage over others because you're merely renewing an expired visa but it will also depend on how you demonstrate ties to the Philippines to show the consul you're not migrating. Checkout http://manila.usembassy.gov/nonimmigrant-visa.html for more information. It's unfortunate that you're only applying this june. If you scheduled your appointment in feb you would have qualified for the visa reissuance program if you have a b1/b2 visa. You only need to appear for fingerprinting

Anonymous said...

hi im mark i sent an inquiry here before regarding my US visa application . Just want to thank Miss Meanne for giving me the confidence that i can get a US visa .. By the way im a nurse base in Abu Dhabi got a 10 yrs visa i had my interview here last june 10, 2013 so its not true that nurses are Redflag in the embassy as what other blog are telling...
more power to you Maam . . . thank you again. Godbless

Meanne said...

Hi Mark! I'm so happy for you! Thanks for letting me know. I'm really glad to be of help. Good luck and have fun on your trip!

sunway lagoon said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon

Viviene Pesigan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viviene Pesigan said...

Hi. I'm 19 yrs old, graduating student. And I'm planning to get a Tourist Visa to accompany my Grandmother because of the graduation of my cousin in California and to visit my cousins in Maryland and also, to go to Vegas. Is it possible for me to get a visa? I have a job, but it'll end this coming october. And the graduation is in June 2014. My mom works in the government and my dad is in our own business with pigs. We really are not that wealthy but I earn much to sustain my baon for every day. I have 4 more siblings. I dreamed of travelling every city in the world ever since I was young, but I don't have the power to do that. And also, what if my grandmother will sponsor me upon going there? Or my Aunt who lives in California and she is my Daddy's younger sister.


Since I'm a graduating student, I'm planning to study again in a different program. I have a second home, where my grandfather and grandmother lives. That grandmother is the one I'm going to accompany and she is a fil-am. She is used to travelling alone but this time, she wants me to come with her so that I could visit our aunts, uncles and cousins there. And also, we will surely go home because of my grandfather.

Only my mom, grandfather and grandmother (both of them are my Father's parents) and my younger sister had been to other countries to travel.

Is it possible for me to get a visa? And, how will I be able to prove that I have strong ties to Philippines? Thank you so much! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, i am going to renew my visa in two weeks. I was previously issued a 10 year visa before..I know that there is now a VRP program to make renewing Visa's a lot easier, however, i am not qualified for this because mine expired for more than a month already...I just wanted to know if the chances of me getting another visa is still good? i have not violated anything and i recently went to japan for a competition. also i am still a student.. i would really appreciate your comments :)

Meanne said...

To Vivienne:

Sorry for the late reply. Since you're 19 and an adult by Philippine standards, you will be required to prove your qualification for a US visa on your own merit. Therefore, you must be able to prove ties that will make you return to the Philippines. This means that before you apply for a visa, you must have work and studies that will make you return to the Philippines. You must also have the financial capacity to support yourself in your trip. It doesn't matter that your grandparents can do so but since you're an adult, you must be able to prove your own financial capacity and strong ties to the Philippines. In my opinion, you may have little chance to get a visa as in your current situation where you have neither work, studies or financial capacity

To Anonymous of Sept 10:

Since you have been issued a 10-year visa before, you have a better chance of getting a visa than first time applicants. Having a previous visa has a persuasive effect on the consul. They even ask you for the visa number in your application form, which means it matters that to them that you have been issued a visa before. However, you still must be able to prove strong ties that will make you return to the Philippines because they will look at it again. That's the difference if you renewed your visa through the VRP program. Having a previous visa is enough proof to make you qualify for renewal.

As I say before, this is only my personal opinion and should be taken as such.

Anonymous said...

Hi there
Im planning to visit my boyfriend and his family in the US and like you im also here in Singapore but im a domestic helper.
So how was your application?hope you can share some tips because im so worried.I'd like to do it here in singapore instead in manila.
Thank u,
Monique

Anonymous said...

Hi MeAnne,
Your Blogsite is so helpful.thanks to u.by the way,do u think being here in singapore for about 6 years now and returned to philippines few times will help me to apply for a tourist visa even I haven't been to other countries.Im a domestic helper here.

joan de la cruz said...

Hi Ms. Meanne.

I am planning to apply for a US tourist visa. I have been in the government service for almost 13 years now and managing a Satellite Office. I have acquired some agricultural land but I dont have a house that I can call mine. I am staying with my parents and take care of them for my other sisters are already abroad. I have been to Asian countries several times but the latest that I went out was in 2011.

What makes me feel apprehensive in applying is that I am single.
Would they discriminate me for that?
Assessing my qualification, do you think I can get an approval?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

hello,

I just want to share my experience recently during my us tourist visa interview last Thursday, Nov 7, 2013. I was asked several questions, and even I'm really nervous, I answered all the questions briefly and precisely to the best of my ability. The questions and answers are:
What is your work? Im an administrative officer
How long have you been in your work? 7 years, sir
How much is your salary? 38k
Do you have a condo unit? none sir, but we have 6 doors apartment
We? why we? The apartment is owned by my family.
How old are you? i'm 29 sir.
Are you single? yes, sir. but I have a boyfriend and we are planning to get married next year.
aah so you are engaged? yes sir
Where will you stay in the US? In my best friend's place
Where is she in the states? Las Vegas Nevada.
What is her work? She's a Finance Manager
What is your bofriend's work? He's engaged in garments business.
May I see your old passport? So you have been to Thailand?
Yes sir, twice, year 2009 and 2013
What did you do in Thailand? Business and leisure trip, sir.
The consul get my passport and said:
Ok your visa is approved! Oh, thank you sir!
None of my prepared documents has been asked or examined.
I was really nervous because 4 of the consecutive applicants before me was denied. Some of them was asked only few questions,as the interview session goes, it came to my mind that my visa will not be approved, but thank God it is. My mom whose waiting for me outside said to me that she had 2 rounds of praying the Rosary, prayer, prayers and prayers while in inside. To make the story short, be honest and precise to your answers, answer direct to the point and of course samahan po natin ng prayers, because God does hear Prayers. Good luck to everyone.