Our U.S. Visa Experience

Hello! We are back from the longest trip we had so far since 2015 of #LesVoyagesdeNica. I had to take a week off since we came to cope from the jetlag and nights of sleeplessness from the differing timezones that my body had to recover from. I have so much to tell you of this trip, which I never thought would happen and so let us start from the beginning.

The U.S. Tourist Visa, it seemed a big deal to most Filipinos to be granted with such an opportunity. I have heard countless of stories of denial and being granted and it made this journey all the more exciting for all of us. There are six of us applying for the visa, two students, two seniors and two businessmen. I will share to you what documents we decided to prepare. Take in mind that acquiring the US Visa has no secret, our results may differ from yours and that this blog written will only give you tips but not the assurance that you’ll be granted with the visa.

Applying the US Visa seems really daunting, as they do not provide an exact list of what documents to present except for a photo (with very strict details on how it should be taken) on a white background, completed online DS-160, email confirmation, and bank receipt from BPI, your passport and a pen. I suggest that you take your photo on a studio at a mall and indicate that this is for US visa application. They do know the rules so your picture would be accepted when you submit it online. Do ask for a hard copy and a soft copy of your photo.

Now, that is the general requirements. But the process of applying is different. It took us almost a week or two just to complete all papers at hand both original and photocopy before we applied online. It is important that you have those before applying as you may need it during the process. Here is what we prepared: Take note that this may differ with others, you may add more documents to prove that your stay there is financially supported and that you will not illegally stay in the US. 

For students: Your school ID, latest grade results, school certificate that you are a bonafide student, enrolment certificate, school calendar, parent’s ITR, business documents (DTI), bank statements, credit card statements, birth certificate (proving your relation to your parent/sponsor).

For senior citizens: Senior ID, birth certificate, sponsor’s business or employment documents (ITR, salary, bank statements, credit card statements, birth certificate). If they are retired from a certain company you could add the documents of their retirement and pension they receive.

For businessmen/self-employed: Birth certificate, business registrations, DTI, ITR, bank statements in the last 6 months, credit card statements in the last 6 months, valid IDs, business permits. If you have properties such as land, house, car add their titles and photos. Add photos of the business as well that you owned. If you are employed you may add a letter from the HR proving that you are working there, your letter of vacation leave approved, salary from the past 6 months.

Those were the specific papers we prepared for each person. The general ones include latest travels, itinerary for your stay (include the hotels and planned airline tickets-DO NOT BOOK yet unless your visa is approved just indicate the names and address of the hotel and airline that you plan to use). If you are staying with a relative indicate their address and phone number, prepare a scanned copy of their status whether they are working, citizen, permanent resident and etc. If they are married to a US citizen,add their marriage contract as well and birth certificate to prove their relationship to you.Whoever is the sponsor or the one paying for the trip should have the most documents to prove that they are capable of paying for the trip.

These were what we prepared and carefully applied for online at their website. Be very sure to read carefully the instructions and if you have any difficulty you may call their telephone number and ask for assistance with a Filipino speaking agent. After I completed online the DS-160, I was guided by the Filipino agent to the payment. I had to print out 6 different bank payment slips for each person that I had to pay before 3pm that same day so my papers would be processed immediately after 6 hours.

Be sure to carry their passports with you when you pay for it at the nearest BPI and keep the bank receipt. Do not ever lose it. After payment, we decided to wait for the next day to schedule our interview and we did it through calling the embassy once again and have it scheduled with the Filipino agent. Passport, banking receipt and the DS-160 application should be all on hand as you call for the appointment. If you will be applying for a family  take note that it refers to IMMEDIATE family members only (dad, mom and unmarried sibling). You would have to make a separate call immediately for other members of the extended family (grandparents, niece, cousin, aunt, etc) that will go with you.

It was a long process for six of us and I had to make three separate calls due to the IMMEDIATE family members only rule. But I am thankful for the assistive agents who were really patient and attentive. You may have the same schedule interview for all and be sure to bring all documents both specific and general. DO NOT BRING any electronic devices at the day of interview. I suggest bring yourself, the documents, a pen and someone who could wait for you outside and carry your other stuff.

Be there at least an hour early before your time schedule. They announce the time outside so you would know if it is your turn. Dress well and appropriate. If you are a student, wear your uniform or a formal business attire would do. Then of course, add a lot of prayers to get your visa approved. We applied for a B2 visa which meant Tourist Visa. We were all nervous but then if you know that you are honest and will abide with the rules what is there to fear?

You will know immediately from the Consul whether your visa is approved or not. If you wish to get your visa expedited do not hesitate to tell it to the Consul so that they will jot it down and guide you on what to do. They will hand you a slip on what to do next. The process of getting your visa expedited meant calling the embassy again and having the delivery area changed to whatever is in the slip of paper given. The usual seven days of waiting could lessen into two or three during the process. We actually had our passport with the visa the next day immediately when the courier texted us that our passports where delivered.

We had so much joy to receive such good news and booked what we needed to book for our trip. I could still feel the excitement and tension when I think about that wonderful blessing. I am also glad that I could share it with you so that you get a glimpse of what could happen when you apply. They say that there is no secret in getting your US visa approved. Truly, there is no secret but then it wouldn’t hurt to listen to other’s experience and learn the good from it.

For more details on the application visit:

US Tourist Visa Application Experience

US Visa Application

US Embassy

I hope that this would help on your application and see the land of the brave and free!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

 

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