How To Apply For A US Tourist Visa (Part 2)

After getting through the PLANNING phase (PART ONE), we now go through PREPARING for the Embassy appearance and interview!

STEP SIX: Prepare For the Embassy Appearance

1. Prepare the following documents:
a. Passport (make sure valid for 6 months)
b. 2x2 photo
c. DS-160 Confirmation (from STEP ONE)
d. Visa Fee Payment Receipt (from STEP THREE)
e. Appointment confirmation (from STEP FIVE)
2. It also won't hurt to bring extra proof of your rootedness in the Philippines (rootedness means you are less likely to extend your stay illegally or TNT) and thus increase your chances of a successful visa application; though these are NOT REQUIRED.
a. Property / Land Titles
b. For Entrepreneurs: Proof of Business, Registration Docs, Permits, SEC Papers
c. For Employees: Certificate of Employment (from employer) with Position, Start Date of Employment, Annual Salary
d. For Students: Records of Enrollment, School Transcript, Diplomas
e. Bank Certificate: Showing how much cash you have in the bank
f. Affidavit of Support - From sponsor / parent, if not paying for your own trip, with sponsor / parent bank docs
g. Income Tax Return
h. Travel Itinerary: from date of arrival to date of departure
i. Details on where you'll be staying
j. Details on family you will be visiting (Green Card, naturalization certificates)
k. Photos from other overseas trips

a. cellphones
b. fitbits
c. electronic watches
d. tablets
e. laptops
f. music / gaming devices
4. There will be some waiting involved in the Embassy. My personal recommendation is that you bring a book/magazine to make your wait more productive.

STEP SEVEN: Go to the Embassy

1. You may proceed to the front of the Embassy 15 MINUTES before scheduled appointment.

2. Show the guards your appointment confirmation and proceed to a shed / hut with tables indicating interview schedules.

3. Embassy staff members will ask for your passport, DS-160 form, appointment form, and 2x2 pic

4. They will attach a sticker on your passport, and tell you to proceed.

5. You will then go inside the security checkup area (similar to airport security areas) where you will be asked to put all your belongings in a conveyor belt.

6. If you made the mistake of bringing any electronics, you will be asked to go outside to find a way to safely stash them. You may approach any of the manangs/ates in front who have a small side business (raket) of storing these for you for Php200.00

7. Go through an x-ray scanner (similar to the ones found in airports) 

8. After this is a waiting shed containing rows of seats, and kiosks of snacks.

9. I recommend not dwelling here, and instead going straight to the actual visa processing building.

10. However, take this time to go to the restroom as this might be your last chance to do so for about an hour.

11. At any point in time you may ask any of the friendly ushers standing around for directions / next steps.

12. Once inside the actual visa processing building, you will either go left (for tourist applications) or right (for immigrant applications).

STEP EIGHT: The Interview

1. There will be two lines here:
a. First is for capturing biometrics
i. Four fingers on left hand, four fingers on right hand, then both thumbs at the same time 
ii. Look at the camera for the photo
b. Second is the actual line for the visa application interview
i. Prepare to spend AT LEAST 45 minutes standing in line for this. (I hope you brought reading materials) 
ii. There will be ushers / usherettes managing the traffic throughout this whole process

We finally get to the MOST CRITICAL PART of the visa application process. The interview can make or break your application; and what's amazing is that all interviews are done on numbered windows, in full view of those waiting in line. You will see people getting rejection letters. You will hear them making critical mistakes with their answers. You can choose to take that time to listen in on their interviews, practice your own answers, or ignore them all together.

2. The actual interview can take as little as 3 minutes, and as much as 20 minutes should there be any major questions 

3. Luckily, mine only took 4 minutes and I was just asked two questions
a. When was I last in the US?
b. What do I do for a living? 
4. The interviewer will often base his/her decision on the answers of your DS-160 form, record of previous travels, and interview questions. 

5. Should your application be approved, they will tell you then and there that it has been approved, and to expect the passport to be delivered via courier. 

6. Should your application not be approved, they will hand you a piece of paper explaining the next steps.

7. Fast. Effective. Efficient. 


1. Be honest with your answers. Getting caught lying can get you disapproved, or worse, BANNED from reapplying. 

2. Answer short and complete. You are not there to narrate your life, just answer the question and move on.

3. Do not volunteer information unless asked. Avoid babbling.

4. Do not try to show-off your English speaking skills or talk with an American accent. Talk like any normal person would. 

5. Watch your Tagalog/Bisaya/Vernacular. The people doing the interviews are mostly Americans. 

6. Some people come dressed up in their finest clothes and jewelry. I’d avoid this and just come looking clean, neat, and presentable. Think Uniqlo.

7. Listening in on other people’s interviews, I could conclude that the Immigration Officers’ primary task is to probe that you can indeed support your travels financially AND to prove your rootedness in the Philippines.

8. SMILE! :)

And that's how you get an approved US visa! Follow all the steps above and you'll soon be walking the streets of Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. 

Good Luck!


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