As a Filipino passport holder, I’m required to secure a Visa to most of the countries in the world before visiting and that gave me an ample experience in visa application processes. So far, I have never been denied from any of my Visa applications to any countries. Due to this, I did not find the US visa application process for tourists difficult. Though USA has been very strict in giving out US Visa for Filipinos simply because many are overstaying in their country as an illegal immigrant. I will share you my experience and will give you tips in completing your online application form for US tourist visa.
The US Visa application process for tourists in Singapore and the Philippines are the same, since I’m based here in SG and holding an employment pass, I’m qualified to apply for US Visa from the embassy here in Singapore. All other nationalities having a legal resident status in Singapore are also allowed to apply US Visa from here.
Here’s the process:
Pay the visa application fee.
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
Schedule your appointment.
Visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview.
More details about the process can be found for their official website. Just follow these links:
Philippines – http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-typeb1b2.asp
I followed the same process mentioned above, after I made the payment and completing my DS-160, I scheduled my appointment at the embassy. Here’s what happens during the appointment:
Once you arrive you will queue together with the rest of the applicants for the security check, your appointment time won’t matter, it’s first come first serve basis. While in the Philippines, they will only allow you to enter an hour or 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
Once you passed the security, the process is straight forward. You will be given a queue number and will be proceed to the counters as instructed. Interview is the last counter. In my case, I was just asked few questions which were also entered in my DS-160 application, he only asked about my job, my company and my destination and then told me that my Visa is approved. He did not even ask for my supporting documents like my employment certificate and bank statements. In Singapore, there are ways to verify my vital information through government portals since everything is connected to my FIN (Foreigner Identification Number).
After 3 days, I got an email that my passport is ready for collection and then I finally saw my 10-year mutilple entry Visa sticker.
My assumption is, they are already reviewing all the DS-160 form before the interview day and will ask some relevant questions from what information is provided in the form. DS-160 is the most important factor in all Visa applications and the requirements are there just to support the information provided in this online form. It is being crossed checked through the applicant’s answers during the interview.
There’s no doubt that it’s more strict in the Philippines when issuing a US Visa but the key is just accuracy and being honest about your application.
Tips in Completing the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160)
1. Ensure accuracy – make no mistakes and ensure that information is accurate in the forms. All these details will be reviewed by the Visa officer and the visa officer will ask questions relevant from all the information you have given.
Example : If you put that you don’t have any close relatives in the US but you have an aunt or uncle (siblings of your parents) living in the US then it can be a red flag. They have ways to check this since you are also providing names of your grand parents in DS-160, so this can be traced. If you’re not close to your relatives in the US, this is an acceptable answer “Yes, I do have relatives but I’m not very close to them.”
2. Do not lie about your other pending applications – if you have pending petition or any pending visa applications in the US other than your B1/B2 visa application, you need to mention this as well.
Example : A son applying for US tourist visa is denied because he did not declare his pending petition from his parents living in New Jersey.
3. Remember all the details you put in the application – this includes the intended travel date and your destination in the US. The same information is always being asked by the visa officer, I heard this question for all the applicants and was also asked to me which makes this is a one of the most important information in your DS-160, if you put New York, mention New York and not Los Angeles during your interview or this can raise a red flag in your application. They will also ask about your company and your job, there’s no excuse that you will be putting a different job title and company name in DS-160 and what you will be telling during the interview.
4. Put all the countries you visited in the past – having visited several countries in the past justifies your intention to be a tourist only and not to overstay and work in the US.
Bring all your documents that would support all the information you put in your DS-160 form.
Finally when you face your interviewer, be confident, accurate and honest. Best of luck!
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