Image Credit: Photopin
I have been asked several times by friends from the Philippines this question: “How do you apply for a US tourist visa?” Truthfully, the application process is easy. I think the real question is “How do you pass the interview and get a US tourist visa?”. This post will answer the first question. I am not an expert in this field and what I am going to share with you is based on (current information I researched from legitimate websites) and my own experiences when I applied for my non-immigrant, B1/B2 (Business/Visitor) visa. As I have mentioned, the process is simple and easy to follow. Both the websites of the US Embassy in Manila and the US Department of State offer a comprehensive information on the steps to follow in applying for a visa. You can never go wrong!
Image Credit: Photopin
Always check the websites I mentioned above for additional and more updated information.
1. Payment of Application Fee – currently set to $160.00. The fee is non-refundable and non-transferable and is valid for one year after the date of the actual payment (your interview must fall within the one-year validity). Applicants are required to present a U.S. visa application payment slip to pay the machine-readable visa (MRV) application fee. You can either pay in cash at any Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch, or utilize BPI’s online bill payment option or you can also pay online through Bancnet. In my case, I chose to go to the bank and paid in cash. That way if I had questions or needed some clarifications, the bank personnel could assist me. Remember to bring your passport and other identification cards.
2. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form. – Ensure that all your answers are accurate and complete. The form must be submitted online; the Embassy will not accept handwritten or typed applications. Also note that without a DS-160 confirmation page, you will not be allowed to attend your interview .
3. Schedule an Interview – The bank personnel who assisted you when you paid the application fee can provide information on when you can call the US Embassy to book your interview. Numbers to call are (02) 982-5555 and (02) 902-8930. You may also book your interview online through http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph. You will need the following information in booking an interview:
a. Passport number
b. Application fee payment date
c. The 10-digit barcode number from the DS-160 confirmation page
I remembered when I booked my interview, the call center personnel asked me a few questions regarding my application, like when do I plan to travel, how long do I intend to stay in America, etc. So be prepared.
4. Interview – Be sure to show up early and prepared at the U.S. Embassy, Manila on your day of interview. Bring all your basic application requirements: printed appointment letter, DS-160 confirmation page, one 2 x 2 photo, current and old passports and visas, as well as the original fee receipt.
Aside from the required basic documents, bring with you supporting documents that the visa officer may request, including but not limited to:
a. Bank statements for the last three (3) months and both current and former bank account passbooks
b. Employment certification including salary, tenure and position
c. Vehicle registration with official receipt
d. Income tax return with Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) or bank stamp
e. Audited financial statement with BIR or bank stamp
f. Land titles
These documents will prove to your visa officer that you have compelling reasons to go back to the Philippines. I will discuss more about this on my next post.
5. Visa Issuance – At the conclusion of the interview, the visa officer will inform you on whether or not you qualify for a U.S. visa. If a visa is approved, the passport with U.S. visa will be delivered by the courier service at the address you provided when you made your application. Be sure to execute an authorization letter in case you anticipate not being home by the time of the delivery of your passport/visa.
Please keep checking the links I provided above for updated information. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me . I will try to get you the information/answers you need.