Where to ask your US Tourist Visa Questions

February 20, 2013

VISAtisfied Voyager

Where to ask your US Tourist Visa Questions 

I'm often asked US visa questions by relatives, friends and lately, by readers of my blog. I caution them that I'm not an expert and that my comments are simply personal opinions. They are based on my experiences and my observations of the experiences of others. For lack of people to ask, people resort to my blog or the pinoyexchange forum to shed some light on their personal US visa questions. People want to assess their chances especially since the tourist visa fee is so expensive at $160, or around P6,400.

Since I have experienced going through the tourist visa process and have successfully acquired one (having been a holder of a US visa for at least 30 years), people think I have information that may be able to help them. I share my opinion and my experience but still caution them that I'm not an expert. 

You can ask me US tourist visa questions anytime and I'll still answer them. But there is a much more reliable source that I can share with you.

In August 2011, the  US Embassy in Manila launched a new visa blog where you can pose visa questions direct to the Embassy experts. Below is the official announcement of the US Embassy in Manila: 

U.S. Embassy Launches New Visa Blog:  VISAtisfied Voyager 
The U.S. Embassy in Manila is pleased to announce the launching of its official visa blog, VISAtisified Voyager.  Our blog aims to provide timely and relevant information to members of the public interested in learning about the Nonimmigrant and Immigrant visa processes.  
Each week, blog posts will examine topics relevant to visa applicants.  Readers are welcome to post comments and questions about applying for U.S. visas.  The blog is also a venue for visa applicants to provide feedback and share their experiences when they have applied for a U.S. visa.    
The blog will be moderated by a team of visa experts from the U.S. Embassy’s Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visa units, and inquirers can expect a quick response to their visa questions.  

With the launch of VISAtisfied Voyager, US Embassy Manila hopes to start a dialogue with applicants and provide them with up-to-date news and information.  Please note, however, that U.S. Embassy Manila will not be able to respond to queries about individual visa applications on VISAtisfied Voyager.   

Questions about individual nonimmigrant visa applications should be directed to consmanilaniv@state.gov.  

Questions about individual immigrant visa applications should be directed to ivmanilareplies@state.gov.    

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently noted that the Internet has become the public space of the 21st century, and as the percentage of Filipino internet users increases, we want to be available to them in all forms of media.  The launching of the VISAtisfied Voyager visa blog is part of the U.S. Embassy’s commitment to providing excellent customer service to the thousands of Filipinos who will apply for visas to travel to the United States.  

We invite you to visit VISAtisfied Voyager at http://blogs.usembassy.gov/philippines/.

Where to ask your US tourist visa questions?

Primary Source:
1. By email to consmanilaniv@state.gov
The US embassy cautions that personal queries about individual visa applications cannot be answered by the blog VISAtisfied voyager and directs them to this email address.
The advantage of emailing them direct is you retain confidentiality of your question. Unlike in forums and blogs where other people can see your question.

2. By commenting on a blog post or asking a question related to a blog post at VISAtisfied Voyager at http://blogs.usembassy.gov/philippines/.
First, do a search within the ViSAtisfied Voyager site on the topic of your query. 
Second, after finding the blog post relevant to your query, browse all the questions asked and the answers to the questions.
Third, if you are not satisfied with the answers given to other people commenting in the site, you can pose your own question at the comments section  below the relevant post.
The advantage of using the blog to pose questions is that you can see if the question you're about to ask has been asked already. The disadvantage of using this blog is that questions are not answered immediately.

Secondary source
1. Ask a blog owner with a current post or topic on "How to get a US visa".
The advantage of this is that you get information about the blog owner's personal experience. Depending on how active the blog owner is in updating the blog or answering reader's comments, you may get answers to some of your questions immediately or even faster than the official US embassy site.
The disadvantage of this is that you only see one personal experience. You don't know how current the personal experience is, unless the blog post is dated.
Check out my post How to get a US Tourist Visa

2. Ask a forum
Before I made my most recent trip to the US Embassy to renew my visa, I found the pinoyexchange US visa forum very helpful because it has the most current narration of personal experiences of a great number of people. By knowing about their personal experience, you actually benefit from them. You can ask questions and will immediately get an answer. However, be cautious about this because their statements or answers to your questions are just personal opinions gathered through their personal experience and limited by their own situation. You can rely on it only with respect to what they experienced during the interview and going through the visa process. Their experiences will help prepare you as as to what to expect when you go through the visa process and the interview.