My Step-By-Step Guide on How to Renew a US Tourist Visa Without Interview

September 30, 2017

My Step-By-Step Guide 
How to Renew a US Tourist Visa Without Interview

Link to 2022 update:

First, you have to find out if you are eligible for visa renewal without interview. The criteria are as follows:

Eligibility Criteria for Drop-Box Applicants: 
  • I have a previous B1/B2 visa that I wish to renew. 
  • My visa was issued after July 1, 2007. 
  • My prior visa was valid for at least five years. 
  • My prior B1/B2 visa is still valid or expired within the last 12 months 
  • I am a citizen of the Philippines. 
  • My prior visa does not say “Clearance Received” or “Travel with Employer”. 
  • I have my passport with my B1/B2 visa in my possession
  • My most recent visa was issued on or after my 14th birthday. 
  • The last time I applied for a B1/B2 visa it was approved.


STEP 1. Have your photo taken.

In my case, I had my photo taken at Great Image. I told them that the photo is for US visa purposes so they know what to do. They charged me 249 pesos and got the photo in 15 minutes. Make sure to get a digital CD copy so you can use the disc to upload the photo when you fill up the DS-160 online application form.

STEP 2. Pay the visa fee.

The tourist visa is US$160. It's peso equivalent at this time is 8320 pesos at the exchange rate of 52 = 1USD. Click HERE   to verify the visa fee amount.

Check out US Visa Bank and Payment Information for primary information on how to pay the visa fee.

To summarize, you can pay 2 ways:

1. Over-the counter at Bank of the Philippine Islands
Go to this site: Bank and Payment Information. Click the Deposit Slip - $160 MRV Fee link to retrieve your US visa deposit slip with the RECEIPT NUMBER. Then go to any Bank of the Philippine Islands branch to pay the visa fee. 

My tip: KEEP THE RECEIPT. You will include a copy of the receipt with all the documents to be sent to the US embassy.

2. Online
If you have a BPI online account, you can pay the visa fee online.
Go to this site: Bank and Payment InformationClick the BPI link under Online Payment to retrieve your REFERENCE NUMBER. 

Log in to your BPI account online and enroll your reference number. Click the Guide to Enrolling Other Bills online 
My tip: After payment, print your payment confirmation. You will include a copy of the payment confirmation with all the documents to be sent to the US embassy.

STEP 3. Fill up the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160).

You can find the form HERE .

My tip: Make sure to remember your APPLICATION ID at the start of your application so you can retrieve and continue filling up your application in case you don't finish it in one sitting.

Prepare the digital copy of your photo. Uploading the digital photo is the last stage of the the process before submitting the DS-160 form online. You cannot submit and digitally sign the DS-160 form without uploading your photo.

Print your DS-160 confirmation page with your photo. You will include this with other documents to be sent to the US embassy.

STEP 4. Register an Account at the US embassy page

You need to create an account because this is where you will input your DS-160 confirmation number so you can retrieve the Dropbox Confirmation Letter. 

NEW FORM!!! Update as of August 6, 2018.

My Tip: Make sure to click "New Application /Schedule Appointment" first and answer questions on what kind of visa you are applying for, etc. BEFORE filling up the "Update Profile" section. Otherwise, if you fill up the "Update Profile" section first, the DS-160 Confirmation Number box WILL NOT APPEAR. You need to fill up that box for the Dropbox confirmation letter to appear. 

You need to input the DS-160 confirmation number in the account you created before a link will appear where you can print the dropbox confirmation letter.

The courier, 2GO Express, will ask for a copy of the dropbox confirmation letter before accepting your documents for delivery to the US embassy.

STEP 5. Gather all documents to be sent to the US embassy via 2GO Express.


1. Passports
a. Your current valid passport. 
b. The passport with your most recent B1/B2 visa 
c. All passports issued since the date of your last visa
If you are missing a passport, an affidavit of loss or police report is not acceptable – you will need to schedule an interview.
2. One copy of the Drop-Box Confirmation letter 

3. Two photographs taken within the last six months. 

4. DS-160 Confirmation Page

5. Proof of Payment

STEP 6. Bring the documents to 2GO Express.

No need to pay anything. The visa fee includes the courier fee.

Documents submitted to the US embassy


FOUR DAYS after submission of the documents, the passport with the new US Tourist Visa (together with all passports submitted) are delivered to the applicant's address.

NOTE: I received my passport 4 days after submission of documents. But I was informed by some people that they received their passports 2 WEEKS  after SUBMISSION of documents. Please take note of this when deciding on when to submit your application for renewal. The embassy do not give an official timetable regarding this service.   

7 DAYS IN OSAKA: My Travel Guide and Itinerary

August 31, 2017

7 DAYS IN OSAKA: My Travel Guide and Itinerary


4 World Heritage Sites of Kyoto and Nara namely: Nijo-jo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine
Other sites in Kyoto and Nara: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Nara Park

Osaka Castle: reconstructed castle intended to be the center of Japan during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's rule. It now has a museum about the castle history and information on Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the famous warlords who united Japan.

Umeda Sky Building: one of the landmark buildings in Osaka. The floating garden observatory on the 39th floor gives a view of the city.

Dotonbori: popular food district

Suntory Yamazaki distillery: you can join a distillery tour and see how Yamazaki whisky is made and/or go to the tasting room to taste the hard to find Yamazaki 25 or 30 year olds.

Universal Studios: Universal Studios Japan is unique in having the only Universal Studios in Asia to have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Only 3 Universal Studios all over the world have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Aside from Universal Studios Japan, the others are Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Kuromon Market: nicknamed "Osaka's kitchen". It's one of the main food markets in Osaka.

Shinsaibashi: best known shopping district in Osaka.

Museum of Housing and Living: a town in Osaka during the Edo period is recreated in full scale. You experience what happens at sunrise, midday and sunset as the town goes through the day. You can rent a kimono and walk around the recreated town in it.

Shitennoji Temple: a Buddhist temple, claimed to be the oldest temple in Japan

Food tripping at Dotonbori: Kokuru Takoyaki, Ichiran Ramen, Melon Pan, Chibo Okonomiyaki

Food tripping at Namba: Takoyaki Wanaka, Isonoryotaro (conveyor belt sushi)

Food tripping at Kuromon Market: Kobe beef at Maruzen butcher, grilled scallops, fresh uni, otoro (fatty tuna), sushi, grilled unagi, Cremia ice cream

Shopping at Don Quijote discount store: a discount store open 24 hours


1. Suntory Yamazaki distillery tour

Book Yamazaki distillery tour at least 2 months in advance, when reservation opens to ensure you get your desired date. The tour is always fully booked. For example, if you're going to the distillery in May, they open reservations at 8:00 AM on March 1. For the best chance to get your desired date, especially a weekend date, reserve on the 1st day of the month when reservations open.

Suntory Yamazaki distillery tour reservations: CLICK HERE

PRICE: 1000 yen per person

If the Yamazaki distillery tour is fully booked and you want to taste the rare Yamazaki whisky, like the 25 year old Yamazaki, make reservations at the Whisky Museum instead. Entrance is free. You only pay for the tasting fee of the whisky you wish to taste.

Suntory Yamazaki whisky museum reservations: CLICK HERE

PRICE: FREE entrance, but you pay for the drinks you taste.

2. Universal Studios ticket

It's a bad idea to buy Universal Studios tickets at the entrance of the park because of the long line. If you buy it in advance, you go straight to the turnstile entrance, scan the QR code on your voucher then immediately allow entry to the park. is one of the official ticketing agents of Universal Studios Japan (USJ). USJ will not honor your voucher/ticket unless it comes from their official ticketing agent. Of all the official ticketing agents listed in their site, is the easiest site to use. They also offer promo discounts so you get the tickets for less than the price of the ticket at the USJ entrance.

If you wish to buy tickets at the Universal Studios Japan site, you have to choose the Japanese site, not the English site. The Japanese site is the only one offering tickets for sale.

You don't have to exchange the vouchers bought at for Universal Studios tickets. The vouchers are the tickets themselves. You enter Universal Studios by presenting the vouchers with the QR code at the turnstile. They scan the QR code on the vouchers then allow entry to the park.

PRICE: 7600 yen, but I got it at 6550 yen at because of a promo.

To be able to choose the best time to visit USJ,  check out this crowd calendar:

3. Osaka Wonderloop

It's a 2-day hop-on- hop off bus which you can use to explore Osaka city. We bought it in advance at because it's 50% off the price in Osaka Wonderloop website.

We claimed the ticket, which is actually a tour booklet which you present when riding the bus, at the HIS stall at the arrival lounge of Kansai airport.

PRICE: 3000 yen at Osaka Wonderloop site, but I got it at 1500 yen at

4. Icoca card

This is a reloadable smart card that you can use on several networks like the JR train, subways, private railways and buses. This is the best smart card to use because:

a. It's reloadable.

This means you load only the amount you need then surrender the card at the airport to claim the remaining amount loaded in the card.

b. You don't need to buy train tickets using cash. You can go straight to the gate each time you enter the rail station.

c. You don't need to buy separate tickets when you change lines from the subway to the private railway. You only need to tap the card at the turnstile when you change lines.

d. You can use the card to make purchases in stores like 711.

The most convenient place to buy the ICOCA card is at the JR Kansai station at the airport. But you need to go up the 2nd level where the JR Kansai station is located. The arrival area is at the 1st floor.

The lines at the JR Kansai station is very long so I purchased my ICOCA card at If you purchase the card at, you can claim the ticket at the 1st floor arrival area, at the HIS stall, which is the same stall where you collect the Osaka wonderloop ticket. There is no line at the HIS stall so you can leave the airport immediately after claiming your card and ticket.

Price of ICOCA card: 2200 yen, but I got it at 2000 yen at

5. Kyoto-Nara Tour

I purchased my Kyoto-Nara Tour at instead of JTB Sunrise Tours or Japanican because offers it at 10% discount.

PRICE: JTB Sunrise tours/Japanican: 17600 yen, but I purchased it at for15840 yen per person because of a viator promo

6. Flytpack Pocket Wifi or Japan Sim card

It is essential to bring a pocket wifi or a data sim in Japan so it will be possible to navigate the subways and private railways. Lines change depending on time. If you have a pocket wifi, when you arrive at the station, you can start searching for your destination at google maps and google maps will tell you the next train you can ride to go to your destination. Others use to navigate the trains but I find it easier to use google maps. Japan trains arrive exactly on time. So it's essential that you do an online google map search again once you arrive at the station to make sure you'll ride the correct train at the correct time.

FLYTPACK PRICE: 280 per day x 7 days = 1960 pesos rental fee. Plus 2800 pesos deposit, which they return after you return the unit. I added 550 pesos router insurance just to be safe.

If you're not part of a group, it may be more economical to purchase a Japan sim card. 3 gb is more than enough data if you're staying a week. You can also use it as a mobile hotspot. You can check out to purchase a voucher for a 4G Japan sim card that you can pick up at the airport. Check out this link: 4G Sim Card (Japan Pickup)



3:30 AM
Leave house

4:00 AM
Park car in Park n Fly
Fee for 6 days and 12 hours parking: 2475 pesos

Check out my post: Park n' Fly: Transport Service to the Manila International Airport

4:30 AM - 6:00 AM
Go to Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1

NOTE: Check in counter at Jetstar opens 3 hours before the flight contrary to the email information that it only opens 2 hours before the flight.


Breakfast at MIASCOR Lounge

Check out my post: Manila International Airport Lounge: The MIASCOR Lounge (NAIA Terminal 1)

6:00 AM

6:55 AM - 11:50 AM
Manila to Osaka flight via Jetstar 3K 763

NOTE: Japan is 1 hour ahead of the Philippines so from this point of the itinerary, I'm using Japan time.

11:50 AM-12:55 AM

Check out the video below. This is the one I viewed to familiarize myself with Kansai airport.

Credits go to Cliff Kimura for making this video

You take a short train ride from the airplane embarkation area to immigration

Immigration is at the 2nd floor, baggage claim is at the 1st floor

After claiming your baggage, you must do the following before leaving the airport:

1. Claim the tickets bought at KLOOK like the Osaka Wonderloop and ICOCA card at HIS 1st floor arrival floor

2. Buy roundtrip ticket for Blue Kate limousine bus at window A to bus stop 11 (OC) (extreme right)

PRICE: Kate bus is 1850 yen roundtrip per person

NOTE: TICKET MACHINE IS NEAR BUS STOP 11. Don't go to any other ticket machine except the one near bus stop 11 going to Namba (OCAT)

While waiting at Bus Stop 11 of Kansai Airport 

12:55 PM - 1:45 PM
Bus ride from airport to Namba OCAT (Osaka City Air Terminal)
Arrive at gate 5, 2nd Floor of Namba OCAT

This is gate 5, 2nd floor of Namba OCAT
(Photo courtesy of Google Maps) 

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM
Go down the elevator near bus stop 5.

Take the escalator at the right
(Photo courtesy of Google Maps) 

This is what you will see at the end of the escalator.
Proceed to the door near the Real Tree store.
That's where you can get a taxi.
(Photo courtesy of Google Maps) 

Estimate of taxi to hotel : 1100 yen per taxi, maximum capacity is 4

Actual price paid: 660 yen

2:00 PM
Check in at Hotel Sunroute Osaka Namba

At the lobby of Hotel Sunroute Osaka Namba 

A robot welcoming us at the lobby 

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Lunch at Dotonbori, which is a short walking distance from Hotel Sunroute Osaka Namba.

First stop is at Takoyaki Kukuru

Check out my post for more details: MUST TRY FOOD AT DOTONBORI (WHAT WE LIKED)

10 pieces at 750 yen 

Then we transferred and lined up at Ichiran ramen, the restaurant beside Takoyaki Kukuru

NOTE: Don't get intimidated by the line. Waiting time is not too long.

Check out my post for more details: MUST TRY FOOD AT DOTONBORI (WHAT WE LIKED)

The line at Ichiran Ramen

The ramen booth

Basic ramen at 890 yen 

Browsed at Don Quijote discount store after lunch. Don Quijote is beside Ichiran Ramen.

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Rest at the hotel

7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
We visited another Don Quijote at a different location, but also walking distance from our hotel.

The we tried another takoyaki place, Takoyaki wanaka.

Takoyaki Wanaka

Takoyaki Wanaka in original sauce
15 pieces of 700 yen 

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Dinner at Isonoryotaro (conveyor belt sushi), 2f swing building

100 yen sushi

9:30 PM - 10:30 PM

Bought breakfast items at 711
Returned to the hotel


The Kyoto-Nara tour is courtesy of
Here are the details of what transpired during the tour.

6:00 AM - 6:15 AM

We walked from Hotel Sunroute Osaka Namba to SwissĂ´tel Nankai, the meeting place of the tour nearest to our hotel.

6:45 AM - 7:15 AM
Transported by bus from Swissotel Nankai to Hotel Granvia to pick up other tour participants.

7:20 AM - 8:00 AM
Bus ride to Kyoto

8:00 AM -8:10 AM
Restroom stop

8:10 AM - 8:40 AM
Bus ride from the restroom stop to Nijo castle

8:40 AM - 9:45 AM

Nijo castle

No photos inside are allowed inside Nijo castle

9:50 AM - 10:50 AM
Kinkakuji Temple

11:10 AM - 11:50 AM
Kyoto Imperial Palace

12:00 PM - 1:10 PM
Japanese / western buffet at Kyoto Handicraft Centre

We changed bus and tour guides after lunch. Our other companions took the Afternoon Kyoto tour while we took the Nara tour.

1:20 - 2:20 PM

Travel to Nara. The guide gives a short background of Nara.

2:30 PM - 3:40 PM

Todaiji temple

Nara Park

3:50 PM - 4:20 PM
Kasugai taisha shrine

4:40 PM - 5:00 PM
We visited Nara nagomikan for souvenir shopping

5:00 PM -5:40 PM
We were brought to Kintetsu Nara station to ride the train back to Osaka. A guide accompanied us in the train to Osaka

5:40 PM-6:20 PM
Kintetsu nara station to Osaka namba

6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Visited Takashimaya food hall at the basement of Namba OCAT to buy dinner

Returned to the hotel.

Bought breakfast at 711 store near the hotel


We separated on this day. My husband and I went to Yamazaki Distillery while my kids went on to Universal Studios

My tip: If everyone in the group wishes to go to Universal Studios, the best time to go is on a Wednesday. Based on my children's experience, although they went in with a huge crowd, they were able to ride all the major rides.

This is the crowd calendar I used to determine which dates to go to Universal Studios Japan:

Itinerary of those who went to Universal Studios

6:30 AM
Leave hotel

7:00 AM - 7:30 AM
Train from Nipponbashi station to Universal Studios

8:00 AM Opening of Universal Studios. Everyone ran to Harry Potter World when the gates opened!

Show crowds and those who ran

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Universal Studios Japan.

Itinerary of those who went to Yamazaki Distillery:

8:30 AM 
Leave the hotel
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Travel by train to Yamazaki from Nipponbashi station to Oyamazaki station

11:30 AM -12:00 PM
Sandwich lunch at Daily convenience store, beside JR Yamazaki station

12:20 PM - 1:40 PM
Yamazaki distillery tour




Aging in oak barrels


1:40 PM - 2:30 PM
Tasting room, paid tasting

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Travel by train from Oyamazaki station to Nippombashi station

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Late lunch at Kuromon Market

Kobe beef at Maruzen Butcher

Grilled scallops

Fresh uni

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Rest in the hotel

8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
We ate okonomiyaki at Creo ru. We were disappointed so we went to Don Quijote and lined up at Ichiran Ramen again.


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Lunch at Kuromon Market

Grilled scallops




Grilled eel

My tip: If you want to buy freshest catch, best time to go to Kuromon market is at 9:00 AM. However, you have to deal with a lot of people, especially if it's a Saturday. Best time to go to avoid crowds is at 1:00 PM, when the lunchtime crowd is done eating.

2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Rest in the hotel or shopping at Shinshaibashi

8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Dinner at Matsuya

Bought breakfast at 711 near the hotel.


9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Ride the Osaka Wonderloop to Osaka Castle

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Osaka Castle

Lunch at stalls outside Osaka Castle

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
Ride the Osaka wonderloop to Umeda Sky

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Umeda Sky building

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Ride the Osaka Wonderloop to Shinsaibashi
Walked from Shinsaibashi to Dotonbori

We ate Melon Pan at Dotonbori while waiting for a seat at Chibo.

Check out my post for more details: MUST TRY FOOD AT DOTONBORI (WHAT WE LIKED)

Melon Pan food truck

Melon Pan ice cream at 500 yen

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Late lunch at Chibo for the okonomiyaki

Check out my post for more details: MUST TRY FOOD AT DOTONBORI (WHAT WE LIKED)

My tip: Go to Chibo off hours, meaning not during lunchtime or dinner, to avoid the long line. This restaurant serves the best okonomiyaki that's why it has a long line.

We ordered Dotonbori Okonomiyaki.
It has pork, beef tendon and konjac, shrimp, squid and cheese.
Price is 1674 yen. 

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Rest in the hotel

9:00 PM
Late dinner at Matsuya across the hotel

DAY 6. Museum of Housing and Living, Shitennoji temple, Dotonbori (SATURDAY)

9:30 AM -10:00 AM
Leave hotel

Ride the train

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Museum of Housing and Living

You see a recreation of an Osaka village during the Edo period. You can rent a kimono and walk around the village and imagine what it's like to live in Osaka during the Edo period.

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
Ride the train from Museum of Housing and Living to Shitennoji temple.

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Tennoji temple

2:00 PM -2:30 PM
Ride the Osaka wonderloop from Tennoji temple to Dotonbori

3:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Rest at the hotel

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Explored Dotonbori and Shinshaibashi

9:30 PM - 10:30 PM
Dinner at Gyu-Kaku, Dotonbori, Japanese Grill


7:30 AM
Check out of Hotel Sunroute Osaka Namba

8:00 AM
Get taxi in front of the hotel

Ride the taxi to Osaka City Air Terminal to ride the Kate limousine bus to the airport

9:10 AM - 10:00 AM
Ride the Kate limousine bus to Kansai Airport

10:30 AM - 12:00
Check in at the Jetstar counter

Dine at Kansai airport food court before immigration

Return the ICOCA card to JR Kansai station at the 2nd floor of the airport


Map photo

11:50 AM

12:50 PM - 4:05 PM
Departure from Osaka via Jetstar 3K 764

4:00 PM
Arrival in Manila