US Tourist Visa Experiences
I’ve written a lot on this subject, and I guess I’ll always be writing more, because the process of getting a B2 Non-Immigrant Tourist Visa to visit the USA is always a “hot” item.
Read This First
- 0.1 Read This First
- 0.2 It Might Be illegal
- 0.3 There’s No Control Over The Money
- 0.4 If You Feel You Want To Cheat Someone, the US State Department is a Poor Choice
- 0.5 OK In My Headline I Promised First Hand Experiences
- 0.6 To Long To Read?
- 1 Related Posts
- 2 Readers who viewed this page, also viewed:
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If you haven’t already read this, Can My Friend Get a US Tourist Visa? please do. Follow the links in that article as well, because there’s some important, first-hand information there, including tips and cautions from the top guy at the Embassy who runs the visa process. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
It’s important that you read this information I’ve gathered up for you, and pay attention what is being said, rather than asking yet another “starting from ground zero” sort of question which serves neither of us well.
The Key Factor Is Not Why You Want To Go, But What Will Bring You Back
Read What This Graphic says! Yes, now, do it and formulate an answer.
I can’t emphasize this enough, dear readers. Time and time again the embassy itself puts out information on significant and strong ties to the Philippines, and time and time again I hear from people who are Filipinos, living here in the Philippines, but appear to have no real ties to the country at all, other than their passport.
The embassy does not post specifics as to what they consider ties to the Philippines and what constitutes the intent to return.
But here are a few factors we know from experience they look at:
Permanent Residence: Owning a house or a condo is a big plus factor. But everyone can’t own their own home. But if you live informally with your maiden auntie who is an “informal settler” on someone else’s land, how do you think that looks to a Consular Officer?
Have an address, show that you own or rent something legally (maybe a copy of your lease? You do have one, don’t you?). Before you put you $160 USD at risk applying for the visa, think about what will be considered a permanent residence. It just makes sense.
A Job: This is one of the key factors I am sure (again, nobody but the Consular Officer can answer authoritatively, so don’t take my words as anything except personal opinion.)
If you don’t have a “real” job, and the means to prove it … such as SSS deductions, BIR tax returns, a bank account with direct deposit of your sweldo, etc., then what is the Consular Officer expected to think?
A Bank Account: This comes up a lot in these discussions. It’s a frequent area of misunderstanding and often a cause for concern regarding fraud.
No one should send money to a friend in the Philippines for the purpose of putting it in a bank account to make things “look good” for visa approval. Why?
It Might Be illegal
Well in the first place it looks perilously close to illegal. Visa fraud comes to mind.
There’s No Control Over The Money
Secondly, once you send the money, it’s no longer in your control. If it doesn’t go in the bank and if you never get it back, too bad.
A pile of money is a temptation many folks can’t resist, and if you were thinking of sending the money to a girlfriend, remember she may be as honest as the day is long (or not), but she may find herself unable to resist demands of family members with very pressing needs.
If you care for her, you won’t put her in that position.
If You Feel You Want To Cheat Someone, the US State Department is a Poor Choice
It’s just a bad thing to do, all the way around from what I have seen. Here’s the thing. An applicant visits the Embassy for an interview. The Consular Officer (CO) can just stamp approved on the application. This is the outcome everyone hopes for.
But, of course, the CO may decide to disapprove the applicant, for reasons strictly in the judgement of the CO. Nobody wants this, and the result is a sad exit from the building and the loss of the $160USD application fee.
BUT, that’s the worst that can happen, and the applicant is free to apply again at any time.
If the CO decides the applicant is blatantly untruthful, or a party to attempted Immigration Fraud, instead of a simple, no penalty disapproval, the applicant may receive a ban on entry to the USA for 5 or 10 years or even life.
Consular Officers have virtually unlimited discretion on issues like this, and to me, it’s just not worth twisting the dragon’s tail.
OK In My Headline I Promised First Hand Experiences
Here’s an article from fellow blogger, Camie Juan. Camie recently had her interview for a US Tourist Visa and her report is just chock full of useful information about the process.
It’s a must read for people in the US Tourist Visa area of interest. Go ahead and take the time to read it, you’ll learn a lot. I’ll wait for you here 😉
U.S. Tourist Visa Interview Experience Thank you Camie, a big tip of the blog hat to you for sharing so much.
To Long To Read?
Well if you’re really interested in the tourist visa process in Manila, and you still can’t find the time to read Camie’s excellent article, let me highlight her important points and add a few of my thoughts and comments:
- Be honest. Be confident. Stay relaxed. When you speak, speak up and well like you would when having normal conversations. I can’t emphasize this enough. Go to the interview as if you meant it!
- If you can’t speak English well, request for an interpreter, it might help you get better chances because you’ll be more confident in your answers rather than being too busy trying to speak proper English. As an American, let me speak honestly on this. No time now for “delicadeza“. After 10 years in the Philippines my honest observation is a great many Filipinos “speak” English far better than they “understand” English. Don’t let pride lead to your downfall. If listening to fast talking foreign English speakers frequently gives you a “Nose bleed”, don’t be ashamed, be proactive. Why take a chance on being rejected because you didn’t really “get” the CO’s meaning and you answer the question wrong as a result? . An interpreter is your right, avail of it.
- Some consuls won’t give you a chance to explain, which sucks. But it is what it is and they’re just doing their job.
- Bring your passports for proof of previous travel. Always. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t keep and carry their old passports when they travel. This is a MUST folks, for any international travel.
- You can bring documents to support your claims, but they almost always never ask to see them.
- They do judge you, hard. But these consuls are trained well to know and read the people who apply. If you mean well, it will show. If you can support your claims, then all the more you have a chance to get approved.
- Every situation is different. I know people my age with children who were granted visas, even their kid gets granted a visa — and you would think this could be a red flag for someone who could work illegally but it’s all about establishing socio-economics ties. If you can prove that you will come back, like a good job or family, then you have a chance of getting approved. In my case, if I wasn’t invited by the GVB and I applied without their help, I think my previous travel to Europe, the fact that I came home, and my current profession is proof of my socio-economic ties to the country.
- Every consul is different. Some will give you a chance to explain (such as the man who was unclear about his training in the US) while others will look at the facts you present and base the decision on that.
OK, so what else is new today in the way of US Tourist Visa Experiences?