Updated 5 SEPTEMBER 2017 – HEYJAEY is now bringing to the table your ultimate US TOURIST VISA GUIDE to help you achieve your American Dreams. May it be getting a bite of the Big Apple, or sightseeing in the City of Angels, we will debunk US VISA Application myths, get over the common refusal horror stories, I will try my best to get you there in the most calming *lol* and convenient way.
(In a hurry? Check out the newest infographic uploaded somewhere in the middle below)
DISCLAIMER: USE THIS GUIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK. THIS GUIDE IS NOT ABLE TO GUARANTEE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR APPLICATION NOR OTHER ONLINE OR TANGIBLE AGENCIES. ITS ALWAYS A FACT THAT THE FINAL DECISION IS ALWAYS UP TO THE CONSUL. I DO NOT REPRESENT THE EMBASSY IN ANY WAY AND THIS POST IS DEFINITELY NOT SPONSORED.
But! I want to let you know that applying for a US Tourist Visa was not as bad as what I have mostly read on the internet.
*Php8,160, 2 Requirements, 45 minutes and 4 working days
are all what it took me to get my 10 year Multiple Entry Tourist Visa
I can only say 3 words that may define my whole application experience: EASIEST YET TRICKIEST – so we would need to do our best to get you prepared starting from your DS-160 down to your interview. I will include all the helpful links and will even include a guide sheet and checklist towards the end. It will all be worth it! Now are you with me?
What you would need:
- Visa Fee *Php8,160
- DS-160 and appointment confirmation (accomplished online)
- Passport with at least 6 months of validity from the intended date of travel
- 2×2 Picture
- Additional Requirements (optional)
Sounds easy? Very well then, let’s get you started and have it all crossed out:
Visa Fee *Php8,160Pay this through BPI by printing the Deposit Slip that you can find here DS-160 and appointment confirmationDo not lose your verified Deposit Slip from BPI/Bancnet. Wait 24 hours before setting an appointment, while waiting, fill out your DS-160 (for the benefit of first time applicants, DS-160 is the most important part of your application. This is the main application form to be filled out online) as much as possible you may want to have all your information 100% accurate, as your interview will be based on your DS-160.
The Appointment Confirmation will be generated once you have submitted your DS 160 and have scheduled your appointment. PRINT THIS and DO NOT FORGET TO BRING IT.
Also your DS-160 barcode, you should print it and bring it
Passport with at least 6 months of validity from the intended date of travelif you also have your old passports with you, bring them along during your interview 2×2 Picturethey are quite strict with their photo requirements. If the scanned copy is not accepted during your online DS 160 application, do not worry. They accept hard copy. Use this guide for your photo. HonestyThis is needed as you fill out your DS-160 and in your interview. This means that your purpose of travel is really for tour and sight seeing, they need to prove strong ties such as employment, your relatives in the United States, monthly salary, itinerary. More on this as you scroll on. Or you can read more about strong ties here. Additional Requirements (optional)You can view the list in my free downloadable guide but to be honest, I was not able to use them during the application process. These can just be supporting documents that you might want to prepare in case the need arises
- I have found this very helpful DS-160 guide. It almost answered most of my DS-160 questions plus its very specific!
- Before filling out your DS-160 you can prepare your passport, birth, marriage certificates, linkedin profile as these will be your references and make your online application more convenient.
- Gather all your requirements into one waterproof envelope. Yes waterproof. My appointment happened during a typhoon, it was business as usual and I used my little brother’s Sesame Street attache case which was very helpful in protecting my documents.
- Be there at least 30mins before your appointment, so you can have the time to set yourself in plus they call you 15 mins before your actual appointment
- DO NOT BRING ANYTHING THAT HAS AN ON/OFF SWITCH or BATTERY (leave all your gadgets including bluetooth watch with someone who is not going in, or at home or at your car)
- Bring extras: Like other 2×2 ID options (if the machine of the screening officer doesn’t approve your 2×2 ID, he / she will let you take another pic at the Kodak located at the entrance of the Embassy and you would have to line up again)
HAVING THE RIGHT MINDSET IS THE KEY
The preparation process took a toll on me since USA is included in one of my 2 items on my bucket list. There was even a time when I was not able to sleep properly and felt nauseous as my appointment came nearer. My boyfriend was laughing at me and you probably did too! So what I did was, I kept myself busy with work until I realized there are only a few days left before the big day! Everyday, my boyfriend and I practiced the Consul interview. This Pinoy Exchange Support Forum was a huge help for interview practices. The questions I have read there are what have actually popped during the application process!
PROFILING AND STRONG TIES
Based on my observation, the interview is to help the Consul profile you and prove strong ties. Once you are able to convince and pass this then there is a huge chance they would grant you a visa. I listened closely to the interviews ahead of me and they were all similar questions:
- What are you doing in the United States?
- When are you going?
- For how long?
- What do you do? (Job)
- Do you have relatives in the United States?
- What other countries have you visited?
Most interview takes 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the group. They allow individual, duo and even large families in just one interview. It is just very quick. And they were surprisingly approachable! I even heard one Consul thanked the applicant because they serve in the Military. It was a very nice gesture. I felt much more at ease as I hear them speaking softly with a slight hint of authority. My tips on having a remarkable interview:
- be honest and straight to the point
- be confident but not overconfident
- be specific and answer smartly
- speak in modulated voice (the Consuls are behind a glass mirror, there would be a speaker so you can hear them clearly, so having a well modulated voice can help make the interview process easier)
ON THE DAY
On your appointment day, you will notice how organized they are. You’ll start with a simple screening with your passport and 2×2 ID Pictures, after which you will be in the same line for finger scanning. They are very gentle. Same line goes to the interview and thats it! It took me just 45mins. I think 30mins were spent on lining up and the 15 minutes for the actual process. Just be alert all the time and mind all the signage. There are staff available all the time to guide you. They also prioritize Senior Citizen, Pregnant Women, Parents with Infant and Disabled which is super awesome.
The decision will immediately be disclosed to you on the day. If approved, you will be receiving your passport within 7-10 working days on your declared mailing address. If refused, (which I hope is not the case for you) your passport will be returned along with a slip that contains the reason of refusal.
I trust that when you believe on something along with your good intentions placed on it, the universe will conspire and help you. From the very start of the year, I already claimed 2017 as my year since 7 is my lucky number. My appointment date was 27th of July, and surprisingly I was assigned to the consul on Window #17. Can you believe the coincidence? Good luck! And claim it! You’ll need it.
This could be a lot to take in I know, but the whole application process is just very easy. No need to overthink it. As long as you prepare the right requirements and right mindset you’ll be OK! I will be happy to entertain your questions and stories.
Feel free to drop me a comment/message here or on Instagram @heyjaey and of course here’s your FREE GUIDE SHEET & CHECKLIST.
All the best,
Disclaimer: *Visa rates depends on the exchange rate, please check here for latest info. Details subject to change without prior notice. This post is not sponsored and is based on a hundred percent “heyjaey” hands on experience and personal views. We may or may not be always on the same page but hey thanks for dropping by anyway!