Is it easier for s Filipina to get their US Tourist Visas than to jump over the moon?
Really? Do you think so? Apparently many readers here do.
You came here wanting advice about the chances of “her” getting a US Tourist Visa.
Well here is the way things are.
Please don’t blame me if I tell you what you need to know and you don’t like the answer.
I deal in reality, not a dream world here.
US Tourist Visa Advice For Eligible Filipino Women
- 1 The Tourist Visa “Story”
- 2 Making It Hard On Yourself in the Philippines
- 3 Can My Philippine Friend Visit Me in the USA?
- 4 Scams:
- 4.1 First of All, That’s a Lot of Money
- 4.2 Even if the person has the best of intentions, I am very conscious of the issues posed by a sudden “windfall” of that magnitude.
- 4.3 Secondly there are a LOT of Scammers
- 4.4 Misuse of Funds/Misunderstandings:
- 4.5 Now let’s address the heart of the original question … the US Tourist Visa
- 5 Why Do People Snicker When They Say T-n-T?
- 6 Illegal Immigrants and the Role of the US Government:
- 7 US Citizenship and Immigration Service
- 8 Related Posts
- 9 Readers who viewed this page, also viewed:
- 10 Share this Article:
Here’s a recent comment and my extended answer to the gentleman’s question.
I’ve revised and updated this article and I am republishing it in the hopes that some may actually read it.
It is absolutely amazing to me how many people will search for articles like this, read them, see the facts presented in black and white right before their eyes, and then blissfully go right back to the “Fairy Tale” they are living, pretending it is actual life.
You want help and advice in making your dream come true?
Fine, that’s what I am here to try to help you with … but please realize that yes, what I am writing about DOES apply to you and your “special friend”, not just to everyone else except You, perhaps because you and she are somehow “special”.
The Tourist Visa “Story”
This ‘fairy tale” type of story comes up here frequently and those of you who are not yet acquainted with the “facts of life” regarding US tourist visas really need to think this through and do your homework before wasting both time and money living in a dream world.
Here’s what my reader said:
I am writing a lady in the Philippines and she has applied for a visa to come here to meet me she is telling me that customs requires her to have a bank account of 2500 USD. I don’t know what to do i saw your web site.
Is this true i have Skyped with her and been writing for some time. She is a nice girl but i don’t want to send any money like that.
I’m asking for your advice in this matter. i know there is a lot of scams going on. Could you please give me some advice in this matter?
You Want Advice, You Get Advice
Thanks for the comment/question. be warned though that you asked for advice, therefore you are going to get advice, and many love-struck foreigners are annoyed, even angry when I “tell them as it is”.
Firstly: “You have to be thinking with the “right head”, and many of these sort of questions seem to come to me based on a lot of ‘wrong-headed’ (that insistent, annoying “little head”) thinking. At a minimum, I suggest you read
And then sit back and reflect on the chance that you, yourself, may be going down the path that the guys I have written about in these articles did themselves.
They seemed in many ways like intelligent, balanced thinking men, but they got themselves o=into situations that would make someone think they were really scatterbrained and very poor thinkers.
If you are SURE, emotionally and rationally positive you are not making these thoughtless, passion-driven mistakes yourself, then read on.
Secondly, let me say that although the girl’s motives MAY be pure here, just plain out and out fraud may well be an issue.
There is no specific bank balance required by US the US State department for a tourist visa to be granted. Period. None.
So if someone tells you there is such a requirement, it is my opinion that you are already “knee deep” in a very “scam-like” situation. Alarm bells should be going off in your head, for sure.
First of All, That’s a Lot of Money
We are talking over 116,000 Pesos, cash … more than many Filipinos will ever see in their entire lives.
That’s a year’s salary for many Filipino jobs.
Do you have a whole year’s salary in the bank?
I don’t and I’m pretty sure not many other readers do, either.
Otherwise honest, ‘right-minded’ people may be lead astray by a lot less money than that, for sure.
Unlike the US where people think they are “poor” when they have to go on food stamps, people here on the Philippines just go hungry … one meal a day, made up of a few cups of rice and perhaps some salt is more than many people can hope for.
In an environment like this, people will do things for PhP 116,000 that may well astound the average well fed, well “benefited” American.
Even if the person has the best of intentions, I am very conscious of the issues posed by a sudden “windfall” of that magnitude.
Secondly there are a LOT of Scammers
Although the Philippine Department of Tourism won’t tell you about this, the practice of ‘working’ gullible, “eager to send money” old, fat, foreigners is a frequent joke among younger women (and men) … (you may well not know the difference, many “Lady boys” here can easily pass all but the most “intimate” inspection.)
There’s a good reason there are so many 24-hour Internet café’s, crowed with younger women (and men) during the hours when US chats are convenient for the ‘target market”. You are well advised to exercise caution here.
Misuse of Funds/Misunderstandings:
A Third issue that causes massive amounts of problems, anger, broken hearts and downright pain and personal hurt is what many Americans are going to perceive as something fraudulent, but often is just a difference in culture and attitude.
Remember, even though Filipinos may speak English, there are many beliefs, principles and attitudes that are very different to that of foreigners.
What if I asked you for money to pay some bill which was worrying me, and you sent it to me, only to find later that I spent the money on something else, the debt was still hanging over my head, and the money was long-gone?
Would you be pissed? Disappointed, feeling used and abused? Most foreigners certainly would be.
Once You Send Money You No Longer “Own” It
But I could argue back with you from a different point of view. You GAVE me the money.
In your view, for a specific purpose, yet the operative word was “GAVE”.
Once you gave me the money, your control of that money ceased to exist and legally (if not morally) the money was mine to use.
The very fact you gave it is “prima facie” (Latin, On the first appearance.] A fact presumed to be true unless it is disproved.) evidence that you didn’t really need it.
At least you certainly didn’t need it as much as my mom who needed an operation, or my little nephews needed their overdue school tuition paid, or my brother-in-law needed a tricycle so he could earn money and fed his family, etc.
Once You “Ship” the Money, It Is Gone
This same attitude normally carries through even with more formal loans as well. Paying back a loan is certainly a commitment, but on the scale of ‘must do’ commitments it is seldom at the top.
Whenever I am ‘asked for help’, I make a decision.
If I really want to help, I just give the money outright, or else I just refuse, because a loan and the paying back of a loan, is just too Western an idea in many Filipino minds.
Loaning money is just a recipe for heartache in my experience.
So if you really want to ‘invest’ money, especially to the tune of $2500 USD, better to just decide to give it as a gift … that’s the way it will be considered.
Now let’s address the heart of the original question … the US Tourist Visa
Read this article first, please:
Illegal Immigrants and the Role of the US Government:
Getting into a political argument with any American is often an all-too-easy thing.
I don’t talk politics myself, and I don’t allow it here on my personal site.
(free speech does not exist on this site).
But all one has to do is listen to five minutes off the current political clap-trap that passes for news in the USA and the politically (and racially)charged subject of ‘illegal immigrants” comes up.
An Illegal is an Illegal
Fact is, “illegal” or “irregular’ immigrants are not just “those Mexicans” that every American “knows” are:
- Stealing US jobs,
- Causing the national deficit,
- Committing all the crimes,
- Running all the illegal drugs,
- Eating up all the Food Stamps and other Benefit programs etc.
It’s against the law to break or evade to US immigration laws .. even if she’s your Filipina girlfriend and not some Mexican farm worker.
We pay a Lot Of Money For the USCIS To Keep Those Illegals OUT
The US has immigration laws which need to be enforced, and we have several government agencies like the State Department and the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Both have roles to play and you need to understand what they are and how they ‘play’ regarding the type of visa you are asking about.
Briefly the role of the US State department is to ‘vet’ or judge the visa suitability of proposed visitors to the USA.
That’s why visitors from countries which are required to have US entry visas make their initial application to the US Embassy (or consulate) in their home countries.
The overriding guidance that State Department Consular Officers go by in these situations is evidence of a “compelling reasons to return…” home at the end of their US visit.
Some criteria that Consular Officers are told to consider are:
1. Age: Children for example are a ’good risk’ to return if they are travelling with their parents. Young marriageable women? What do you think? About as poor a risk to return to the Philippines as there can possibly be.
2. Marital Status: (see above). A wife is a better risk to return to her husband than a single woman, but of the close to 1,000,000 “irregular” Filipinos in the US (TnT’s), a huge percentage are married in the Philippines and still living apart from their spouses. Again the attraction of feeding one’s family comes in far ahead of loneliness or family ties in many cases.
3. Property Ownership: Home owners are a better risk than renters or squatters (oops, I forgot to be politically correct and call them “informal settlers”)
4. Employment: This matters a lot if it is a job of ‘substance’, say a doctor, attorney, college professor, etc. Call center agents, retail store workers and such, not so much.
5. Money in the Bank: This always seem to be a factor, but it is hardly the most important. there is no specific amount like the $2500 USD that was brought up here, so far as I know. way more important to most Consular Officers is what the proposed tourist is going to live on while she is in the States and how s/he plans to finance his/her return to the Philippines.
Do You Swear Easily
Also, beware of one simple fact here.
Part of the application process involves the prospective visa awardee to swear, under oath that all statements s/he is making are 100% truthful. What if the Consular Officer asks how they came to have PhP 100,000 in the bank?
If they answer truthfully that you gave it to them for ‘show money”, what do you think that does to his/her chances?
If, on the other hand, she lies and said she earned it/saved it over the years (a lie easily disproven) then she, and you (as an accomplice) are then well within reach of US laws on “visa fraud.” Trust me, you do not want to be there.
This leads directly to the last issue I want to talk about under this heading … US citizen sponsors.
6. US Citizen Hosts/Sponsors/Sugar Daddies: This is one of the subjects I hear from fellow Americans about the most, and it’s a hard one to deal with. We Americans share a lot of characteristics, we often have a big heart, we want share our country with others, and we have an (often very misguided) view of our ‘rights’ as a US citizen when working with government agencies.
The number one ‘red flag’ a Consular Officer is going to watch for when considering a young Filipino’s visa application is ‘romance’.
If there is a single US male involved, the chances of the dreaded “disproval stamp” rise nearly exponentially.
So those US citizen guys who want to rush to the aid of their Philippine “damsel in distress’ are probably driving the last nail into the coffin of visa denial.
You Have No Rights
As a US citizen you have no official standing or rights in the Consular Officer’s decision and even having your name mentioned could be a problem.
These Consular Officers are good at their jobs, and they well know that in tough economic times such as this, every US citizen expects every government employee to do his/her job with dispatch, efficiency and thoroughness, right?
I know most of you reading this have said that and more about US government employees … so do not be surprised at seeing them do what they are trained and paid to do.
US Citizenship and Immigration Service
Remember I said there were two major agencies to deal with here … and one is completely independent of the other.
The USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the US State Department.
A “visa” is a certification by the US State Department that a a person meets the existing requirements to enter the USA at the time it was issued, in the opinion of the US State Department.
However, a visa is by no means an unconditional “license” to enter the USA.
The job of controlling entry into the USA falls to the USCIS.
It is the sworn job of every USCIS officer to deny entry to any foreigner suspected of trying to enter the US illegally and or attempting to enter under false, misleading or otherwise inappropriate circumstances.
Regardless of what visa a foreigner holds, ANY USCIS officer not only has the authority to withhold entry, but as stated, the direct DUTY to do so, if in his or her sole opinion the person attempting entry is not acceptable.
USCIS officers can (and almost always do) question foreigner entrants regarding their visit in the US, things like:
- Who they plan to visit,
- How they plan to get home,
- What their romantic and/or marital intentions are,
- How they plan to support themselves during the visit, and so on.
If the USCIS officer believes that the purpose of a visitor’s entrance is to circumvent the system and, for example, take a short cut to US citizenship by marrying a US citizen as a “tourist”, the officer can easily deny entry with just a flick of the thumb.
Be aware that thousand of visitors with visas are turned away each year … again, good old government employees trying to do their job.
So if you happen to have been a party to some hastily constructed ‘visa scheme’ (or is that scam) in order to get your girlfriend a tourist visa which is secretly a visa to come and live with you and ‘make whoopee’ and otherwise circumvent the spirit and intent of US Immigration law, be aware the whole scheme can ‘blow up’ even as late as the time s/he steps off the plane and walks up to the Immigration ‘wicket’.
Just the application for a tourist visa now runs $160 USD (no refunds).
I know of Filipinos who have been denied tourist visas 13 consecutive times.
That is a lot of money to spend trying to ‘beat the system’ in my book.
So be very sure that:
a., you really want them to come and
b., they are legitimate and qualified to get a visa on their own two feet.
Especially if you are romantically interested, far better to come to the Philippines and visit them … and perhaps a lot cheaper in the long run as well. Godspeed. That’s my advice on US Tourist Visas, for what it is worth.