Can My Philippine Friend Visit Me in the USA?

US Visitor Visa concerns.  Can My Philippine Friend Visit Me in the USA?

(Updated 3 November 2020)

Originally published sometime back.  Significantly updated and corrected for my current reader’s information.  Thanks for being a reader, by the way.

Remember one thing:  I am not a lawyer and ecerything you read here is merely personal opinion ased on my understnding of how I “think” things work.  No one except a consulat officer of the Untited Staes can issue a visa. 

Anyone  who tells you that she or he can get a visa issued, “for sure” is either mistaken or trying to scam you.

I have received a lot of queries over the years about the US Visitor Visa (known as a B2 Visa to the US State Department) for Filipinos.

Mainly these questions revolve around the subject of getting a Filipino friend a temporary visitor’s visa allowing them to enter the USA for a short visit.

People want to know, mainly:

  1. How do they (the visas) work,
  2. How much do they cost,
  3. Can my girlfriend get one, etc.
  4. I’ve heard they are very hard to get, and why?

It occurred to me today that I hadn’t written about these issues in some time when I opened an email from a reader here with some specific questions:

Here’s a video with some good information.

Specific US Tourist Visa questions:

Here are a few thoughts on the subject from my answer to him, along with some important source links.

This can be a very difficult subject, so be sure you go to official sources.

Timely Warning

This is a prime area for fixers to pop out of the woodwork … there are probably more “fixer problems’” in this area than any other legal activity I know of in the Philippines.

A few facts to keep in mind:

  • I am NOT a lawyer and what follows is personal experience and opinion only.
  • If you need specific advice, get it from a qualified attorney.
  • Be sure you follow the official US State Department steps when applying.
  • Use only real, true legal documents.  You can’t go buying a birth certificate on Recto Street and expect to get a visa issued.
  • The folks at the US embassy have seen every scam in the book. Don’t try to bullshit your way through.
  • There are no legitimate shortcuts.
  • Anyone, US citizen or Filipino who says “I can guarantee a visa” is either a fraud or stupid.  Avoid them!
  • No one outside the US Embassy can “guarantee” issuance of a visa.

The original US visitor visa questions and my answers/comments:

Thanks for writing.  Yes, foreigners may have a very difficult time visiting the US, depending mainly upon their nationality, age, marital status and economic means.  I am assuming that you are writing about a friend in the Philippines who holds Philippine citizenship, correct?

First: Does she need a passport?

Essentially anyone who wants to visit the US must first hold a valid passport.

Be especially careful here.  A great many problems and issues I have personal experience with center around the fact that many Filipinos seem “addicted” to the idea of using a ‘fixer” or some sort of “backdoor” method to get their Philippine passport.

Do it right the first time and save yourself a lot of grief.  here is where you start: http://passport.com.ph/ .

I could regal you with a dozen or more tales of woe that people have brought me over the years here that involved getting a “phony” or fraudulent Philippine passport and then getting caught.  The outcome is never pleasant.

Second: Does she need a visa?

People from countries which do not have a reciprocal ‘no visa’ agreement with the US must have a visa, issued by the US State Department in their home country.  

The Philippines falls in that category,

Filipinos must have a visa before they can board a flight to the US.

Third: Is she eligible to apply?

Any Filipino has the right to apply for a US visitor’s visa.  It can even be started online now from the US Embassy, Manila, website.

It costs US $160, cash, and the application fee is non-refundable. 

So it makes good sense to be sure you meet all the requirements and have a good chance of being approved before applying. 

You also might want to also read this page from the Embassy … always better to go to the source rather than listening to ‘what people tell you’.  

The amount of misinformation I have heard personally on Filipina girlfriends getting US visitor’s visas is literally ASTOUNDING. 

Don’t listen to what “Joe” told you down at the VFW.  Read it for yourself!

Main Obstacles To Getting a US Visor’s Visa:

As the State Department says, their main concern is evidence that will convince the Consular Officer that the applicant has ties here in the Philippines sufficient to cause the applicant to return to the Philippines.

Typically this includes real estate or incorporated business owned here, spouse, family, higher-level employment, money in the bank, etc.

A Promise Means Nothing

There are at any given time hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in the USA “overstaying” their visas, that is, failing to return to the Philippines.

Sad fact, but it’s the truth.

The Filipinos even have a slang for it, TNT … tago ng tago … literally translates to “hiding and hiding”.

The duty of State Department Consular Officers is to reduce or eliminate this problem.

More info on the decision process work of US Consular Officers here.

(It’s written for the Bolivia Embassy, but it’s the same the whole world over … Just substitute “Philippines” every place you see “Bolivia”.)

Also, something you as an American citizen must understand … the level of rhetoric and mudslinging regarding the US government’s supposedly “slack” or “lax” immigration procedures has never been higher in the USA than it is now.

When US politicians spit as they complain about “illegal immigrants”, they ain’t just talking about Mexicans swimming the Rio Grande into Texas.

I’m over 75 years of age and I have never seen such outright hate-spewing all across the USA regarding “Illegals”.

Like it or hate it, it’s a current fact of life.

So, since they are sworn government employees, you can expect that US Consular Officers are going to be even more vigilant in 2018 and onward than they may have been in the past.

Who Is High Risk?

A young person is usually very high risk, as they typically have no substantial ties here in the Philippines … nothing to lose if they leave and don’t return.

A young, single woman is particularly high risk because in addition to the possible intent she will find illegal (but readily available) work in the US and fail to return, she may find a husband in the US and not even have to worry about finding a job.

And a great many young female applicants do, in fact, have this on their mind … whether with the current friend they are chatting with now or with another man whom the first guy knows nothing about.

Again, sorry to call a spade a spade, but this is the reality, not some rose-covered BS fairy tales.

Another Common Scam, Don’t Fall For It

One very common issue is the fact that a determinant that the Consular Officer often asks about is money in the bank … here in the Philippines, of course.

It is sadly very common for young ladies to tell their US friend that they need the loan of $15,000 or $20,000 dollars to put in the bank, temporarily here, so the US Embassy will grant them a visa.

Risky?

Does this sound risky?  Oh, you bet it is.

First, in my experience, the Consular Officers check with the bank to see how long the money has been on deposit.

Oh, the account just got opened and the money all got deposited in one lump week or two ago?  Hmmm.

If YOU were the Consular Officer would YOU grant the visa?

Again, remember, these guys are not dumb.  they see this crap all the time and they are sworn to protect the borders of the USA against illegal immigration.

Second, the entire relationship may be phony, put together just for the purpose of you advancing that much money.  The girl may have no intention to apply for a visa, just looking for a kick monetary score.

Think that is rare?  It isn’t, and many times this scam never gets reported because the American feels so embarrassed after he finally shifts over to thinking with his “big head.”  He can not believe he was so dumb in handling his money.

And if you decide to report it, you report it to whom?

“Let’s see”, says your local police officer, “Help me understand here.

You sent $20,000 bucks to a woman in the Philippines you have never met, for the purpose of committing immigration fraud against the government of the US”?  Can you spell your name for me where on this report I have to fill out?

Umm, never mind officer ….

Third: Suppose you do send the money and she convinces the Embassy to issue a visa.

Do you think there is even a remote chance that she might then withdraw the money and fly to the USA on her own and never even contact you?

She can live a long, long time on $20,000 dollars, hidden away in the Filipino community in the USA.

And even if you find her, she has committed no crime that is really prosecutable in the US.  Good luck on getting any help from law enforcement on this issue.  You are as guilty of a crime as she is, only she is the smart one.  You?  Not so much.

Is She Coming to Meet Her Man?

If the consular officer gets the idea she is trying to visit the US to meet up with an available man, it’s a virtual certainty the application will be denied … because there’s virtually no chance she is coming back to the Philippines if the officer issues her the visa to allow her entry.

In most cases (aside from visiting a boyfriend, that is) the reason a Filipino wants to visit the USA is not important.  Many people cook up dramatic, sad stories about why they need to visit.

Mostly though, the Consular Officer doesn’t care about the WHY.  He or she only cares about the intention to return.

Intention To Return is the Holy Grail

These are the cold hard facts of life, my friend.

Her word means nothing.  All applicants are basically treated as if they are lying (mainly because, sadly, a huge percentage of them _are_).

Your word means nothing.  A US citizen has no real say in the matter.

People hired into the Consular Officer jobs are not there because they are stupid, you know.

They most likely know full well that you, as the American citizen, are thinking with your “small head”.

Also, realistically, the US citizen has no control over the visitor after s/he enters.

Your word may truly be your bond and you may have every intention of ensuring she returns to the Philippines, but in reality, if she does get a visa and enters the US, you are not her “keeper”.

She is free to do anything she wants, including leaving you … you can’t call your local police or anything like that because unless or until she does anything against the law, there is no police matter to deal with.

And if you try to restrain her in any forceful manner, you yourself are going to get into a criminal situation on your own, really quick.

Remember too, realistically, you do not know this woman at all.  If it were to turn out she is not who you think she is in real life, what alternatives would you have?

You can’t call the police and have her arrested for overstaying if she runs off on her own the only crime is an immigration violation, you can only report the offense to the USCIS (formerly the INS) and they will add her to the list for apprehension/deportation.

Typically that could take 10 years, so you can see why this is considered a worthwhile gamble for Filipinos … even if eventually caught, they might get 10 years or more in the US for a hundred and sixty dollar visitor visa … better odds than buying lottery tickets for sure.

If You Haven’t Dealt With The USCIS Before, Prepare To Get A Rude Awakening

Many Americans get really angry when you bring out the facts this way.

Get used to it.  In immigration matters, you have little or no say in how things are handled.

Just look at the news every day with people constantly complaining about illegal immigrants, even arming themselves and threatening violence in some cases, and you’ll see why the laws are the way they are … if I were a Consular Officer, I’d probably deny a huge percentage of the applicants I interviewed as well.

Hope this answers your questions, although I doubt the answers made you happy.

My advice? Do you want to meet this young lady?

Come to the Philippines yourself.

But I Can’t Afford to Fly To The Philippines

Well, then, my friend, the truth is,  you can’t afford to get into this sort of arrangement either.

I hear from so many broke people who somehow think the laws of good sense with their money just don’t apply if there’s a Filipina involved.

Pick yourself up, get a job. start your own business, save money, get out of debt and THEN go looking for romance.

I know those words may sound tough, but you just can’t “wish” your way to instant gratification these days.  Sooner or later you have to “Man Up”.  In this case, the time is now.

One Other Thing to Consider

The visa, once issued and in the passport is NOT a guarantee the individual is going to be able to enter the USA.

The visa is, if you will, a “license” which allows the USCIS officer at the Port Of Entry (POE), to grant her entry, if, and only if the USCIS officer feels she meets the USCIS criteria for entry.

She can expect to be interviewed upon arrival regarding her plans in the USA and her plans to return to the Philippines.

She can be “inspected” thoroughly, both her physical person and any possessions.

She can expect her cell phone to be examined, text messages read, required to give access to her social media accounts, etc.  No search warrant is required for this, as a potential entrant to the USA, the Customs and Immigration Enforcement folks have this inherent right under the law.

So if she tells the officer she is entering the USA to visit a sister, when the officer calls the sister on the phone (this is done frequently), it better be the sister and not you who answers.

And last but not least, a final caution.

The individual may not receive payment from a United States source while on a B-2 visa.

Coming to the USA on a Tourist Visa and then going TnT to take an illegal, “under the table” job is a prime goal of many applicants.

USCIS officers are experts in sniffing out these sort of schemes, and they, too, are “under the gun” to be especially alert and suspicious given the current USA anti-immigrant mindset.

So make damn sure your friend doesn’t indicate she is even thinking of any sort of paid (or unpaid) employment in the USA if she gets the visa.

She could easily be turned back and returned to the Philippines at the US POE.

Not long ago a Filipino lady, well into her 50’s, was turned back at the Los Angeles airport.  Why?

When the immigration officer called the woman’s elderly mother on the phone, the mother responded, “Oh, I am so glad she’s here, she is going to be my full-time permanent caregiver”.

BZZT.  No employment, paid or unpaid.

Get on the next plane heading for Manila, please.  (and guess who pays the airfare when someone is sent bck that way?  Not the US government, that’s for sure.

Good luck with  Can My Philippine Friend Visit Me in the USA?

67 thoughts on “Can My Philippine Friend Visit Me in the USA?”

  1. Hi Philly, how are you?I’m here again..My daughter father passed away last September 17,2018.until now they have memorial of him in PA USA. I just wanted to ask if my daughter can have her daddy’s check each month? I am still here in Philippines with my daughter. And one more thing, her father has government disability bank account here in philippines.and it the government stop dipositing it due to he’s there already in PA USA since 2013, it was open 2013 too,last year he filled out through online for tax from the bank.i just wanted to know if his sister will shipped me the passbook including death certificate is my daughter can get it by my guidance she’s only 5 years old by october…he’s the only one can withdraw it but since he’s dead now and he has child to me is it possible that the bank will allow me and her mother to withdraw it? Or I need US government consent papers so we can get the money not million in it less than 2K USD there..not so big but I know it will help for my and his daughter education. since his gone now..
    Please I need your advice.. thank you and God bless you and yours.

  2. melody, I have a question for you , I meet you beautiful lady in the Philippines. We have been talking for a while . I like to know how can we see each other . What the procedure I like to go Forward with it as she does too .

    1. @ Alfred

      Thanks for commenting here. I’m sure Melody may answer you as well, but here’s my own advice to you regarding you and your Filipina friend.

      First, I strongly advise that you two do meet. No matter how close you are online, face-to-face is the only “real” method of meeting. Also, you will be able to meet some of her family and friends, because if you get serious with this woman, remember you are marrying into her family as well. Also, should you decide to bring her to the USA on a Fiancee visa in the future, meeting face to face outside the USA is a reqy=uirement anyway, so you will have already done that step.

      Second, if you read the article you’ll see that there is likely very little chance that she can get a visa to visit the USA on her own, so it’s pretty much up to you to come to the Philippines to visit her. For an American citizen, this is easy enough. Just get a passport (your post office is the first stop for that requirement) and then get on a plane to the Philippines. You need no visas or other permissions from anyone.

      Godspeed.

  3. Hello..i have a question.i dont have a bank account..and my friend from the usa told me that he’s the one to be shouldering all the expences..what do we need as proofs for sponsoring?

    1. @ Shielq

      Thanks for contributing. Sorry though, it seems you and or your friend didn’t read the article. There is no such thing as sponsoring someone for a US tourist visa. If the consular officer finds out a man is paying for your trip and you, as a single woman are going to meet him you will almost certainly be denied. They will believe you are just going to join this guy and you will go TnT, regardless of what you tell them in the interview.

      Please r4ead the article and have your friend read the article, that’s why I took the time to write it. The “holy grail” of the tourist visa is the “intention to return” to the Philippines and flying off to meet a man is an indication you are trying to avoid the proper, long-waiting time visas. Godspeed.

  4. Hi Dave; Well this was a disheartening read but all to real. I got married in the Philippines to an awesome woman after commuting there every 3 weeks for over 2 yrs. Lol.Yeah airmiles. Any way we’ve been married 4 yrs have a little girl with a boy due in February 2019. She has been here now going on 3 yrs on a Spousal Visa and getting her citizenship lined up.
    We want to bring her sister over for a visit but have no intentions of hiding her here. She is finishing college and we have helped her two brothers finish College and get jobs over there, as well as help her older sister get a job in Japan. We keep an apartment there for Momma. Poppa and family and she would return to finish school and get a professional job. Im curious do we stand a chance of success in your opinion. It sounds grim but we’re hoping.
    Thank you for your time.

    1. @ Charles

      Hi Charles, thanks for contributing. Yes, I really hate answering many of the queries I get on this tourist visa subject because “disheartening” certainly is a proper description to use.

      As you have already read, the “holy grail” is the girl’s intention or connections which will cause her to return”. With her mom already in the USA,(meaning she automatically has a place to “hide out, wouldn’t even need a job right away), plus being of very marriageable age, etc. the girl seems likely to be a bad risk for returning.

      The good and true intentions of you and your wife really don’t have much influence on the decision, because once she enters the USA on a visa she is beyond your legal control.

      One thing I can think of to emphasize is her schooling. Since she’s enrolled and will continue after her return to the Philippines, that seems to me to be the centerpiece of the case to convince the consular officer she will return.

      Supposedly the Embassy approves almostb80% of the applicants, so there really isn’t much to do except to pay the money and take your chances.

      Congrats on the wonderful family arrangements you have made and congrats to your wife for working on her citizenship. Too many Filipino wives come to the USA and then just plan to live the rest of their lives on a Green Card, which limits them in many ways.

  5. Hello I was wondering how can I have my girlfriend of over 3 years travel to the us from Japan she’s Filipina with permanent Japanese resident. She applied for a Visa while I was in Japan to travel with me to the USA but it was denied. Thank you in advance for your help

    1. @Brian

      Thanks for contributing. But I wonder, though, did you read the article?

      Under the current laws, there is no visa your girlfriend has much of a chance of getting that would enable her to meet up with you in the USA. Traveling to the USA to meet a male friend is by far the number one reason Filipina’s get turned down for US visitor visas. It doesn’t matter how pure your intentions and her intentions to return to the Philippines may be, the embassy line of reasoning is that she is just trying to circumvent the use of a fiancee’ or spousal visa and hook up with you in the USA without paying the fees and waiting out the time.

      Sorry, I wish I had an answer you would like better, but there is none that I know about. Godspeed.

  6. Hi Dave, my boyfriend is in the military. And with his work, I’m sure that it’d be hard for his schedule to come to our country and meet me, so I’m planning to be the one to go there in the US to meet him – my parent is the one who’s gonna sponsor me for my trip. Do you think that my chance to have my visa approved is slim to none?

    1. @ IU

      Thanks for contributing. You said it yourself, “slim to none”. You did not say one word about your intentions to return to the Philippines, only about why you want to get into the USA. What do YOU think the Consular Officer will say when he sees your application?

      Please actually read the article. Sponsorship does not play a factor in granting USA Tourist visas. The only thing that really matters is the applicant’s ties which will bring her back to the Philippines. Convince me.

      (also, not to insult anyone, but I served more than 20 years in the US military. Few people in any other job n the USA get 30 paid days of personal leave every year, (yep a full month off, with full pay) plus the privilege of flying almost anywhere in the world for free on US military aircraft. So it would be too hard for him to schedule a visit? Hmmm….)

      1. Thank you for making this much clearer to me now. Apologies if I didn’t understood it clearly at first. Also, my fault, I personally assumed earlier seeing as to how busy and unpredictable his schedules are at work.

  7. Thank you for your great information. I wish we had read this before my sons friend was denied. We both wrote letters as sponsors but she was denied. Should I have sponsored her myself as an elderly woman? And what do we do now???

    1. @ Ruta Toner

      Hi, and thanks for contributing. I’m sad to say you are laboring under the impression many US citizens have … that we, as citizens, have some say in this matter. We don’t.

      The applicant for a US Tourist Visa must stand on his/her own merits. The “holy grail” of the approval process is that the applicant show strong personal and economic ties that will bring him/her back to the Philippines at the end of the proposed visit. In particular this normally includes proof of an actual home here in the Philippines.

      A young woman going to visit a young man is a BIG red flag to the whole process, because this typically indicates the possibility that the couple is just trying to circumvent the lengthy application process for other visas that would let the couple join up permanently in the USA.

      Don’t take offense at what I just said, because as far as I know this girl’s intentions and your son’s intentions are pure as the driven snow, BUT the consular officers are like homicide detectives, they hear nothing but lies, morning, noon and night. Thousands and thousands of Filipinos are currently “adrift” (overstaying their visas) in the USA at any given time. It’s actually a popular game here, commonly known as “going TnT” (hiding and hiding) and many Filipinos root for family members who can get into the USA and go TnT.

      You have to remember that once this girl gets a visa in her passport and gets admitted to the USA at a Port of Entry, you and your son have NO CONTROL over her actions. Poice and even the Border Patrol have no control either unless and until she commits some offense … she is free to go where she wishes, your “sponsorship” means nothing.

      Here’s some additional information:

      Tourist Visa Basics
      The B-2 visa cs travel for the recreational purposes, including family visits, medical treatment and vacation. Students, temporary workers and journalists do not fall under this category, and must apply for different types of visas. To be eligible for a tourist visa, applicants must prove their intent to visit the United States is recreational and that they plan to stay only for a specific, limited period of time. They also must prove they have enough money to cover their expenses once they get here and that they have social and economic ties to their native country. They must show they have a home outside of the United States, and that other important ties that will prevent them from trying to overstay their visa.

      Now, what can you do? Frankly, I have no idea. The girl must take action to establish significatnt ties to the Philippines that will convince the Consular Offcer that she will return to the Philippines.

      “Sponsorship” letters for tourist visa applicants typically are not even looked at during the visa interview process. Again, the applicant must stand on his/her own.

      Sorry, I can’t offer easier suggestions, but especially with the present day political furor over “Lax Immigration Controls”, I see very little change in policy for the future.

  8. This is a great article, thank you. I read the article, and I saw Mr. Starr’s helpful responses to questions, so I’ll give it a shot.

    I am a 33 year old man. I was planning on visiting my 25 year old, single, unemployed, female friend in the Philippines soon, and then at a later date, help her to apply for a tourist Visa to visit me here in the USA for a month or so. Her only documentation of ties to Philippines would be the fact that she lives with and takes care of her grandmother and younger sibling in the Philippines. No bank account, no school, no money, no job. And of course, she would have a return flight. We have no intention of violating immigration law.

    What are the chances she will be denied entry based on these facts? Is there anything we can do to help our situation before we embark on this process?

    Thank you so much for the info.
    -AJ

    1. @ AJ

      I’d suggest you re-read the article. I don’t mean to be flippant, but you have already carefully set out all the reasons that your friend had virtually no chance of being approved for a USA toursit visa.

      The fact that neither if you have any intention of disobeying the immigration rules is great, and laudable, but first of all, you, as US citizen, have nothing to do with the process. You can’t sponsor or apply for a Filipino, you can’t control what a visitor does within the USA, and you can not, in any way, control when (or even if) she leaves the USA.

      The applicant must stand strictly upon his or her own merits.

      And, as you have already outlined, this lady has virtually no ties that will convince a Consular Officer to approve a tourist visa for her.

      And I am sure you watch a steady diet of US news on your TV. The subject of “protecting our borders” and “removing illegals” is virtually the staple of every news show. The climate toward tourism and immigration to the USA is in a very low cycle of popularity. And there are several hundred thousand Filipinos already in the USA, illegally … all of whom promised faithfully that they would follow the laws … and then did not.

      I, personally, think her chances are slim to none.

      If you were a State Department Consular Officer and this woman’s application came up on your computer screen, would YOU approve it? With no ties to the Philippines and being young and single, and knowing your job performance ratings depended upon how well you “Defended America’s Borders”? Honestly, would you approve her, knowing how many Filipinos every year go TnT in the USA? (ask her, she knows what TnT means). I surely wouldn’t. sorry.

      Now I am not any sort of official source. She has every right to apply at any time, cough up the non-refundable $160 application fee and then take her chances at an interview. Maybe she’ll be lucky. No one outside the State Department can give you an authoritative answer.

      But me, personally? I’d spend the $160 on a surprise weekend in Boracy with her and count myself lucky. Godspeed.

  9. I greatly appreciated your article and the sound advice you’ve given those that asked questions. I have a scenario that was not asked above that I’d like your advice on. Our 35 year old son has lived in Cebu for 4 years and he loves it. He and his live-in girlfriend, fiancé just had a baby, our grandson. Our son is a US citizen and he’d love to bring his fiancé and their baby to the US to visit us and the rest of his family. She has several siblings, nieces and nephews (her parents both passed away) that live a couple of hours from where they live in Cebu that she visits as often as they can. Once she started living with our son she quit her job at his request, so she is no longer employed.

    She already has a Philippino Passport. Any idea what her chances would be of getting a fiance visa to come visit us with our son and their baby? Any smart things they should do to assure a better chance of getting a visa for her and being able to visit us in the US?

    1. @ Margaret Morefield

      Thanks for contributing. Your question is kind of interesting in many ways.

      First, since your son and girlfriend sound like they have a real relationship, so a Fiancee’ Visa (K-!) should be very easy to obtain. You called her his “fiance'” so I assume they plan to marry, and that’s what a fiancee’ visa is all about.

      Two disadvantages over a simple tourist visa (B2), is that a K-1 visa costs a lot more and takes substantially longer to be granted.

      The second issue with a fiancee’ visa is the petitioner (your son) has to submit the visa application from the USA and must be domociled in the USA.

      In this couple’s case, the US tourist visa (B2) is, in my opinion, going to be virtually unobtainable. The woman has no ties at all to convince the State Department that she will return to the Philippines, and once the consular officer finds out there is a boyfriend involved, and a mutual child and marriage is intended then it becomes an absolute no-go.

      No matter how pure the couple’s intentions, this is still going to be seen as a way to circumvent the generally accepted visa path which is to apply for, pay for and wait out the K=1 process. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos over the years have promised faithfully to return to the Philippines and then broken that promise, there is no way to make a government consular officer believe that this woman is any different. In my layman’s opinion, this would just be a useless way of throwing $160 USD in the trash.

      The current leadership climate of the USA makes tourist visa very hard to get, government employees who might have given the benefit of the doubt in the past are now very, very strict in their decision-making.

      What can they do?

      Supposing your son doesn’t want to move back to the USA temporarily and file a K-1? Well, the couple could marry there in the Philippi es. Your son can then petition his wife to come to the USA on a CR1 “Spousal” visa. This costs roughly the same as a K-1 Fainacce’s visa and takes roughly the same amount of time to come through … 9 months to a year seems to be common these days.

      Either the K-1 or CR1 gives the same path to permanent US residency and later citizenship if the foreigner permanent resident desires Naturalization.

      I don’t think this is the answer you wanted, but it’s the best I can do based on what I know from experience.

      Now before I close, you may have noticed I haven’t mentioned the couple’s son, your grandson.

      regardless of what actions are taken regarding bringing his fiancee’ to the States, your son needs to file for a CRBA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad) for the child, ASAP. Once this is granted the child’s US citizenship is formally assured and the child can immediately have a US passport and thus travel freely with his parents. The CRBA takes the place of a US Birth Certificate for children born of US parents outside the 50 US states.

      Anyway, I hope I have been of some help here. I used a lot of words to give the short answer I could have given to begin with … her chances are nil. Godspeed.

  10. Hi. I was just wondering if I stand a chance of getting approved. I’m planning to apply a tourist visa on May. I have a full time job for 3 years (bookkeeper in Accounting Firm), I can show them my 5 years contract of employment, I’m a Bachelor Degree holder, I have a bank account, but not much money on it. I’m planning to visit US next year around summer for just vacation leave from my company and just applying early so it will be easy to plan the trip next year. But my boyfriend is the one who’s gonna shoulder all the expenses he’s a Civil Engineer and a Reserved ARMY. He’ll be visiting here in the Philippines on August though, and he want’s to tour me in the US next year. We’re not applying for fiance visa since marriage is not on the plan yet, and I still have a contract to my company so I can’t just leave and not come back. You think I have a low chance of getting approved? I’m 25 y/o

    1. @ Shey

      What are your chances? I don’t know I have no connection to the embassy. People who tell you the “know” basically don’t know what they are talking about.

      Apparently, you read the article. What do you think? It is all about one thing … convincing the consular officer that you truly plan to etrurn to the Philippines after your”tour’.

      Having a job and a bank account makes you a lot better risk in the embassy’s eyes.

      Being young, single and particularly already have a US boyfriend makes you seem a LOT riskier though.

      The point of the article that many miss is the fact that basically, to the US consular officers you, and every other Filipino who is applying is a liar. You say you have no intention of overstaying, but 400,000 or so Filipinos already TnTin the USA _all_ promised faithfully that they would not overstay also.

      So as a single woman with a romantic connection to a US citizen already, the odds are stacked against you. Again and again, the question is, what will make you decide to return to the Philippines? That’s the question you have to focus on.

      All that being said, nothing I say makes any difference. The only way you will ever actually know for sure is to apply. It’s your right to do so, and according to the US Stae Department, almost 80% of those who apply through Manila are granted the visa.

      Godspeed.

  11. Hello Mr.Starr!

    I would like to ask if you think there is a chance that i can bring our care taker here in the US? In what form of visa? She is basically a family to us but not biologically. She took care of my siblings and me since we were young and now that she’s getting old, its our turn to take care of her as well. She is 61yo. Is there any way she can come here? If not stay, at least visit? She has no more family but us and my concern is my mom and dad started staying here in the US longer. (3-6mos) We are all US citizen so there is no issue with that. My only concerns is if there’s a way that our care taker can come with them during my parent’s visit and then come back with them in the Philippines? Thank you

    1. @ Anna

      Thanks for commenting.

      Yes for the type of visit to the US ou describe, a domestic employee of a US citizen can be issued a “B1” (Visitor, work allowed) type visa. It’s not necessarily easy, requires employment contracts and a true employer/employee relationship. but it certainly can be done.

      This is outside my area of expertise, I suggest you start reading here. Follow the links, there’s a lot of valuable information on this site:

      Godspeed, and let me know if this pushes through because there are many people in this situation, where a long-ytime family helper has to be left behind in the Philippines after she or he gets old. She deserves better.

      1. You have given me hope! Thank you so much! We will definitely look in to the B1 Visa for her. And yes, she does deserve better. She’s basically a second mom to us. I will research on this and will update once we started! Thank you again Mr.Starr!

        1. @ Anna

          Glad to have been of some assistance. Be under no illusions that it will be easy, but at least there is a legal pathway available.

          Please let us know, good or bad, what happens on your adventure.

  12. I’ve been to the Philippines a couple of times have made a couple of good friends over 2 years he’s in school and works do you think he’ll qualify for a visa to visit the USA

    1. @ Shawn
      Thanks for contributing.

      The answer to your question is in the article you are commenting on.

      The key to your friend getting a visa revolves round only one question.

      Can he convince the Consular Office that he intends to return to the Philippines, or not?

      You didn’t lett me anything about yourself (Gender, marital staus, citizenship, etc.). I’m going to take a leap here and guess you are a female US citizen and single.

      Being enrolled in school and having a job are certainly plus factors. Wanting to go to the USA to visit a US citizen eligible for marriage? Wow, a huge red flag in my opinion.

      Remember it is his right o apply, I am just a private citizen with no special knowledge, he’ll never know for sure unless he does apply.

      Godspeed.

  13. hi,
    my husband is looking to invite his virtual assistant over to the USA, as a thank you gift for all the hard work she has done for him and his business.
    we were told she should apply for a b1/b2 visa.
    she is 29 years old, single female. , and owns a piece of land in phillipines. she also has a job aside from being a virtual assistance.
    do you think she will be approved for a visa to visit us for 2 weeks?

    1. @ Jessica

      Thanks for contributing. As the article says, the governing factor is convincing the Visa Officer that she intends to return to the Philippines. Sahte “really” convinces those officers? I don’t know, aside from what I have read and written about here. The US Embassy says that 80% of the B1/B2 applicants are approved.

      The problem with most single women here is the issue of coming to visit a single man in the USA, and the officers naturally assume the couple is trying to circumvent the lengthy and expensive Fiancee’ Visa process.

      Since this is obviously not the case here, her chances (in my opinion) seem much better than most single 29yo’s and as a property owner and a regular employee of a Philippine employer, she has a much better chance than most.

      Having a business-related purpose and a strict time limit, such as the 2 weeks you mention should be a plus factor as well. Remembering that I am just another layman here, this is just me sort of thinking out loud here, what I would do if I were your husband is to write her a letter inviting her to an awards ceremony and two-weeks specialized training with his company, to commence as soon as she gets the visa.

      Then apply for a B1 business visa, since there is assuredly a true business-related reason for the trip. It can’t hurt.

      Best of luck and do me a favor, please? Write back and tell me how it goes … I’m rooting for you and her.

  14. Hey Dave, just wanted to thank you for laying all this useful information out. I want to be sure I study up on all of this before making any decisions that could lead to bad outcomes. I’m an american man with a filipina girlfriend. We met 6 months ago and I’m planning to go visit her at some point. I was searching around seeing what it would take to get her here (for a visit) but I definitely see now that the best thing to do is go see her.

    1. Hi Arron,

      Thanks for contributing and keeping this place alive. As you may have noticed I haven’t been very active here lately, but comments keep me active and alive, so I appreciate yours.

      For what it’s worth I’d say you are making the best decision possible. Let’s just explore the possible outcomes of a relationship like yours. In simple terms:

      The relationship may go sour. Hopefully, it won’t, but hey, things happen. If that were to be the case. you’re only out the airfare and living expense for a really neat vacation. (and beer and food and transportation is cheap here, 😉 )

      If the relationship blossoms, well you have already accomplished a couple of really necessary steps toward marriage and bring her to the States.

      1. You two must have met, in person and _outsu=ide_ the USA before you can bring her to the USA as a fiancee’.

      2. Before you can really feel “sure” about another person, in my view anyway, you must have met her and interacted in her native environment. And you need to meet her family, her friends, and co-workers and such. You can take the girl out of the Philippines, but you can’t take the Philippines out of the girl … even if you brought her to the USA and married her, she’s still going to be a part of a very important family and culture … just as you will always be strongly connected to your own family and friends. So much better to learn everything, good or bad in advance, rather than have any nasty surprises in the future.

      3. Many guys struggling with this issue tell me, “but it would be so much cheaper just to bring her to the USA for two weeks”. Well, probably not so. Ec[even if you could get her a tourist visa (not easy as you have researched and non-trivial costs involved as well), you would still be footing her airfare, someplace to stay, meals, transportation, sightseeing, nights out, etc., all of which costs a lot more in the USA.

      For my money, you are way better off making the trip yourself. Godspeed.

  15. Hello there.
    I have questions.
    1) doesnt a Phil citizen with a US tourist visa NEED a R/Trip ticket?

    2) isn’t it Visa fraud for a Phil to marry a US citizen on a tourist visa? Ya know to PLAN it?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. @ Miss Pearl

      Thanks for contributing and for two interesting questions. Remember when I answer it is a layman’s personal opinion, not legal advice.

      Q: 1) doesnt a Phil citizen with a US tourist visa NEED a R/Trip ticket?

      A: No, there is no leagl requitement for a round trip or onward travel ticket. BUT, remember, during the interview for the visa, a Consular Officer is almost certainly going to ask about the visa applicant returning to the Philippines and how she or he plans to do that. The intent and the ability to return to the Philippines is the most important factor in issuing or denying the tourist visa.

      Q: 2) isn’t it Visa fraud for a Phil to marry a US citizen on a tourist visa? Ya know to PLAN it?

      A: Most likely if it can be proved that the person planned to use a tourist visa to travel to the USA for marriage to a US citizen it would constitute visa fraud. Put proving intent is legally very difficult. All someone who wants to marry a US citizen in the USA needs to say is “I really had no intention of marriage but cupid’s arrow struck suddenly.”

      Legally regulating “affairs of the heart” are difficult legal territory and are seldom entered into by prosecutors.

      It is 100% legal for a foreigner legally in the USA and otherwise free to marry an American citizen who is also free to marry. The State Department really doesnt worry much about the intent to marry or not.

      Their solution is to make it very difficult, if not impossible for young, eligible Philippine women (or Philippine men as well, in today’s world of same-sex marriages) to enter the USA. If eligible singles can’t enter the USA, then they can’t marry a US citizen in the USA and the question about what their prior plans might have been becomes moot.

      An Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so to speak.

      Hope this helps.

  16. hello there is it possible american an can apply for a visit visa fir 2 weeks,,i am seperated for 13 years my freinds in Usa invite me to go there ,,is it possible that i can go to Usa,,all finaces will shoulder by him,,thank you

    1. @ marcelina

      Thanks for contributing. I think you are asking f a Filipina can apply for a visa to visit friends in the USA, if the friends pay for everything. My short answer is, n, ou, the Filipina must show that you can “stand on your own two feet” and that you have times to will ensure you retrue=nr to the Philippines at the end of your visit.

      But evryone has the right to apply, so go ahead and try it, if you feel lucky.

  17. What is the chance of getting approve of a mother of a u.s citizen minor child to get a tourist visa? The father of the child will handle all expenses , he is in military and would like him to visit his girlfriend with their child. Child is u.s citizen already. The mother owns a house and a full time mom.

    1. @ Aila

      Thanks for contributing. I wonder, though, if you actually read the article.

      Your questions is just full of reasons the mother ought to get, even deserves a visa, but there is not a single thought or indication of any insurance that she will return to the Philippines.

      Once again, the “Holy Grail” of the matter is, what will make the mother return to the Philippines? The father of the child, military or civilian, has no power to make the mother leave the USA once she is legally admitted. What will make her return?

      Godspeed.

  18. Hi Dave, I live in the US and have been going to the Philippines for 10 years as I have a BPO team located in Manila. For the last few years, I’ve had a Filipina girlfriend who is 35 (JV). I have taken her with me to New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand, and has also traveled for a job interview in Singapore. JV is from General Santos and did graduate from high school, and has 3 kids. She does do basic work for me and I send her support each month but as of now she doesn’t have any significant money (< $2000) in the bank (she's had an account there for a few years. As we have lots of pictures, proof of travel over the last few years, this is easy to document along with emails, etc which show that we are in. serious relationship. She does have some property in General Santos though thanks her father he's sold off or taken loans against it so lets assume for now that she might not be able to claim this.

    So, in your estimation, how difficult will it be get her a Visa to come to the US? I can wire more money to go in savings but it will show up as recent if I do this in the next month. Please let me know your thoughts.

    1. @ Brent

      Thanks for contributing. I’m a little confused by your question though, as to what kind of visa you are wondering about for your friend, JV, If you have a “serious relationship”and you are both single and _possibly_ want to marry, then she sounds like a prime candidate for a K-1 Fiancee Visa. Fill up and file the forms, pay the fees and in a few months she’ll be able to enter the USA, with the intention of marrying you. If you decide that marriage is not in the plan, then she has 90 days in the USA and then must leave to return to the Philippines … no harm, no foul legally to either party.

      Now, if you’re s\askig about a Tourist visa (B2 Visa) for her, your “serious relationship” is going to cause a big approval problem. No matter what she says, the consular officer is going to assume she just wants to beat the wit time for a Fiancee visa (and the extra costs involved) and get to the USA and then marry you there, hoping she’ll be allowed to stay in the USA while waiting for her change in status to be approved. In my layman’s opinion, the chances of her being disapproved are almost certain.

      The “holy grail” in the tourist visa approval process is the intention to return to the Philippines.

      So which visa are you and JV asking about getting?

  19. I have a similar situation. My friend in Tocloban wants to visit me in the United States. She is single with no banking account. She has a job and a BACHELOR degree. We have intention of marriage and very likely. Can she file for a K-1 Fiancee visa on her own to come visit me here? Secondly, if she can file and I pay the fees, how long usually for approval? Lastly, what is the likelihood she would be approved? Thank you.

    1. Hi Randall White

      Thanks for contributing. Your questions are very valif and important to many readers ut you are sort of mixing up the rules for the various c=visas available here.

      The Visitor Visa (often called a Tourist Visas) which goes by the USCIS designation “B-2” is available for any foreigner, married or single, who wants to visit the USA for a limited time. Typically visitors are granted a 90 day stay in the USA, but this may be either longer or shorter depending upon a number of fators.

      his article is particularly focused on guys who want their Filipina girlfriends to visit the USA. These situations pose particular problems since, no matter what the visa applicant says, the US State Department and the USCIS (both of whom must agree on the issuance of a visa, are going to suspect that the woman wants to go to the USA for romantic reasons and will likely marry a US citizen and thus “convert” herself to an immigrant.

      The B-2 visa is applied for by the forigner who wants to visit the USA and no US person can “sponsor” or control himor her if the visa is granted and s/he enters the USA.

      Obviously, the intention to return to the Philippines at the end of the visit period is on primary importance in the visa approval process.

      Now for couples who have the intention to pursue marriage (as you have described) the B-2 Visa is completely inappropriate. What is needed for a couple in your situation is a Fiancee’ Visa (USCIS Designation K-1).

      The K-1 is applied for (petitioned for) by the intended US citizen spouse from the USA. The intended Filipino finacee’ also files an application with the USEmbassy in Manila.

      After approval thePhilippine citizen gets a K-1 Visa placed in her passport with allows entry to the USA for up to a 90 day stay. During those 90 days if she and the USA citizen petitioner marry, they can then file of an Adjustment of Status with the USCS which will allow the woman to legally stay in the USA and obtain a “Green Card” (Legal Permanent Resident status) and eventually US citizenship if she desires.

      Should the couple decide marriage is not for them, so long as the fiancee leaves the USA before the 90 day visa period, the visa is cancelled and both parties are then free to pursue other relationships, no harm, no foul.

      Now to your specific questions:

      1. She can not apply for a K-1, that is up to you as the US citizen intended spouse.

      2. One of the reasons so many couples wish to use the B-2 Visitor Visa to “shortcut” the process is that the K-1 Fiancee Visa takes a long time to process. The first part of the process (approval of the petition for alien fiance(e), can generally take anywhere between 4-6 months (depending on the work load of USCIS). The second part of the process (NVC and Embassy processing) generally take another 45-60 days.

      3. If both of you are single (free to marry, and both have met within the 2 years preceding the Visa petition and she has no criminal record or any derogatory information on file, her chances for approval are good.

      Sorry for the long answer but I wanted to make sure I clarified things adequately. Godspeed.

      2.

  20. Anyone please enlighten me on this one. I am a Filipina and i’ve been working in Singapore for 9 years. I applied for a US Tourist Visa sometime in 2012 and got denied which i fully understand why. I was new with my job…i was not able to demonstrate my strong ties with family, work etc. Then i met my boyfriend who is a US Military officer when he was deployed in Asia and we are two years now. His deployment ended and so we decided that i have to visit him first while we are working on things until my marriage annulment is over this year. Having said that, i applied for a Tourist Visa last May and got denied. I filed another application and got interviewed earlier and again got denied. Here is my status. I would appreciate if somebody could shed light on what is happening and what i need to do to get a visa.
    1. I have a permanent job on a construction company with good salary. The catch is i joined the company August last year. So basically, i’m less than 1 year working with the company though i stayed 8 years with my previous company.
    2. I have sufficient funds to cover my trip and stay.
    3. I traveled to 14 countries it includes several times to Australia and and Canada soon since i just got my visa to Canada approved.

    Does telling the immigration officer about visiting my boyfriend would help or would do more damage? I would appreciate if somebody could advice me on this.

    1. @ Maria

      Thanks for contributing. Your story is like so many others. I really wish I knew more and could offer more help, but so much of the decision process used to approve or deny tourist visas is “locked away” inside the US Embassy.

      I can say this: If I were you I would stop submitting application after application and getting denied … losing all that money. For whatever reason, the embassy has decided you aren’t going to the USA on a tourist visa, so I am concerned you are just throwing good money after bad.

      Here’s a troubling part for me … and I have seen it with so many Filipinas with stories similar to yours.

      When the embassy denies a visa, they are supposed to furnish you a denial form which cites the section of the US INA (Immigration and Naturalization Act) which was the basis of your denial. Did you not receive such a notification? If you did, write back and tell me the section of the law which was cited as a reason for your denial.
      With regards to the second comment you made, regarding your boyfriend … for SURE you should mention him as little as possible.

      My guess as to why your applications are being denied is that the Consular Od=fficers are aware of your romantic interest and are concerned that the real reason for the proposed visit is to avoid the waiting time and expense of a Fiancee Visa (K-1). Thousands of applications every year come from couples trying to evade the rules.

      You and your boyfriend may intention pure as the driven snow, but 400,000 TnT Filipinos in the USA prior that many applicants in the past have been untruthful, and with the present administration focus on illegal immigration, one can expect that consular officers are going to be even more suspicious than in the past.

      Whish I could be more positive and hopeful, but all I can do is be honest about my thoughts. Godspeed.

      1. Hi Dave….i appreciate your comment and thank you. Our intention is pure. It’s just that for now, we cannot do anything like applying for fiance visa due to my annulment. We need to wait until December to be able to process it. Paying the K-1 Visa is not an issue to us since we both have a good salary to pay for it. We are in a very difficult circumstances.

        As for your question if i received any notification in regard to the denial, my application last May it was under the clause 214(b). As for last Friday’s denial, the officer told me she has no question as for the history of my travels because she saw i already traveled to different countries. However, she told me i failed to demonstrate my strong ties with my current company because i worked for just a year adding that the decision is not final and i can reapply should my circumstance changed. It is frustrating when you really don’t know the real reason and they won’t even bother to look at the documents like bank statement, letter from the company, etc.

        Thank you as well for your advice about staying my bf away from the picture. I believe you are right. Immigration officers are afraid applicants will go TNT once the visa is approved which in my case they were wrong. We want to go through all the legal process.

        1. @ Maria

          Thanks for contributing more on your situation. Maybe it will help some others understand the fact that we just can’t always understand ourselves the logic of the visa decision process.

          Both you earlier denial and actually this latest one seem to fall under the clause 214(b), which states the applicant was denied because s/he:

          “…Did not overcome the presumption of immigrant intent, required by law, by sufficiently demonstrating that strong ties to your home country that will compel you to leave the United States at the end of your temporary stay….”

          Many applicants don’t realize that visa officers are not required to even read and supplemental material provided. Sounds unfair, and to me personally it is unfair, but I’m just a layman who will never be an officer with the US State Department, so what do I really know?

          Secondly, a little point about bank statements. They really don’t mean much in the way of “intent to return”. Example, my Fil/Am dual citizen wife and I are currently in Florida, USA, visiting several of her sisters. We have substantial assets in several VDO bank accounts in the Philippines.

          I just finished paying a number of on-going monthly bills using the Internet and my bank’s online web application. I could send money anywhere and “use up” all our Philippine assets virtually overnight in today’s electronic world, so having money in a bank these days does not prove much intent to ever return to the money, Physically. It’s easier to bring the money out of whatever country it is in and reunite it with you where ever you are.

          Also, the issue of jobs comes up a lot. Since you are working in Singapore I’m sure you are making substantially more money than if you had the same work in the Philippines, diba? So what if you went to the USA? On a tourist visa, legally you can’t work, but we both know that obstacles can be overcome … thousands and thousands of undocumented immigrants are doing it every day … and if you happened to connect up with this boyfriend, you could marry him instantly and apply for an adjustment of Status and get work authorization without a problem. The existing Philippine marriage might or might not come up later, but for now, live for today.

          I hope this helps you to see that you are very high risk and (in just my personal opinion of course) you shouldn’t fret about it and waste good money after bad applying and applying again and again and getting denied. Some things in life just aren’t fair and can’t be changed. Focus on that annulment case, get it pushe don through the court and then you’ll be free to marry and never have to “hide” your relationship with your BF again. Gpspeed.

          1. Thank you very much Dave for untiringly replying to my messages. I understand your point of view and somehow, it made me feel better. I think you were right about the “job” issue. I am an Engineer and got more experience as an Estimator which is in demand all over the world. I remember both interviews, the officers asked me several times about my job…like they focused their questions on it. My bf and i decided to meet in Canada, Singapore and Philippines first until i get the annulment decision on or before December. Thank you again for your advice, God bless you.

          2. @ Maria

            Thanks again for contributing. I feel you are certainly on the right track. Just ignore the US tourist visa at this stage in your life, because you are just beating a dead horse … it’s not going to move. You’re already living and working in one of the world’s most advanced countries (Heck, more than one rich American has given up his US citizenship to become a Singaporean, And Canada is way, way more enlightened in how they evaluate and treat visitors and immigrants.

            It’s just the US’s loss, don’t fall into the trap of taking it personally. Godspeed.

  21. I would like to add, i traveled with my bf to several countries like Korea, Vietnam, etc that includes his visit to my family in the Philippines and his visit here in Singapore.

  22. Hello my friend wants to just visit cause she has her children to go back and take care of and also she is enrolling in school. What are the chances of aVisa being granted. Thanks

    1. @ Derrick

      Thanks for contributing.

      Remembering that this is just my personal opinion and not legal advice, her chances are good. Dependent children that she must return to are a powerful factor. School is also a powerful factor, BUT and I emphasize the BUT because I hear this so many times over the years … the intention to enroll in school is not the same thing as actually being enrolled in a school. What she is “planning to do in the future” is just that, a “plan”. The whole country of the Philippines is plagued with “plans” that never happen.

      My advice would be, put down a deposit and get a letter of admission from the school with the actual date that school starts, confirming she has a place reserved.

      Has she tried this estimator tool: B1/B2 Tourist Visa Approval Odds Score Calculator? Try it, it will give you an idea of her chances.

  23. Hi Dave,

    I have a girlfriend who is lives in the Philippines. She is 22, has a 1 year old daughter, lives with her family, and is currently unemployed because none of her family can watch her daughter while she is at work. I went to meet her and stayed with her whole family (reckless I know) in February of this year, and will go back in November. You may roll your eyes but I trust her and I know she is not a golddigger or anything like that.

    She wants to visit the US primarily to meet my parents, which for both of us has to happen in order for our relationship to progress. She will probably just stay 1-2 weeks with me here in US. She does NOT want to stay here or live here or hide here, because she has a daughter.

    Because she is poor and cannot afford a flight to the US, I am paying for her ticket as well as her food, etc., while she stays here. We have not paid for the ticket yet, because it’s pointless to buy it if she gets refused a visa (although ironically showing the officer a round way flight ticket, I would think that is pretty convincing evidence that she is not going to try to stay in the US…?)

    So I have a few questions…

    * She has an interview with for a B-2 visa soon. Can you please give some guidance on how to answer the consular officer’s question “why do you want to visit the US”?
    * Should she avoid saying “boyfriend” altogether, in spite of the fact I am paying for this whole thing?
    * Does she have a better chance than most at getting a B-2 visa if she has a baby daughter who she is not bringing with her?
    * My name and information is on the DS-160 application; does that mean she already has a less likely chance of getting approved?
    * Is it easier for us to get another type of visa/license in order for her to get into the US?

    Thank you so much for writing this article and taking the time to read my comment.

    1. @ Will Marshall

      Thanks for contributing, Will. I’m going to copy in your original comment here and make my answers and comments as quotes:

      I have a girlfriend who is lives in the Philippines. She is 22, has a 1 year old daughter, lives with her family, and is currently unemployed because none of her family can watch her daughter while she is at work. I went to meet her and stayed with her whole family (reckless I know) in February of this year, and will go back in November. You may roll your eyes but I trust her and I know she is not a golddigger or anything like that.

      I wonder why you feel going to visit her and staying with her family was “reckless”? It’s exactly what I would have recommended. Too many Americans are sp chickenshit they won’t even leave the USA and want their women “brought to them”. You needed to meet her family because you have to realize the fact that if you marry this young lady you are marrying her family too. That’s really the way it works, so congratulations on doing more than 90% of the guys who write in here with tales of woe.

      She wants to visit the US primarily to meet my parents, which for both of us has to happen in order for our relationship to progress. She will probably just stay 1-2 weeks with me here in US. She does NOT want to stay here or live here or hide here, because she has a daughter.

      Because she is poor and cannot afford a flight to the US, I am paying for her ticket as well as her food, etc., while she stays here. We have not paid for the ticket yet, because it’s pointless to buy it if she gets refused a visa (although ironically showing the officer a round way flight ticket, I would think that is pretty convincing evidence that she is not going to try to stay in the US…?)

      So I have a few questions…

      * She has an interview with for a B-2 visa soon. Can you please give some guidance on how to answer the consular officer’s question “why do you want to visit the US”?
      * Should she avoid saying “boyfriend” altogether, in spite of the fact I am paying for this whole thing?

      Well then number one reason that I have been told for denial of visas to young, marriageable women, is the belief of the Consular Officer that she is going to the USA to get married and avoid the long wait and steep fees for a Fiancee’ (K-1) visa. If you had written to me before the money was spent for the application I would have advised, “No, don’t waste the money.” But hey, it’s spent now and the embassy claims almost 80%of applicants are granted the visa, so just travel forward hopefully.

      * Does she have a better chance than most at getting a B-2 visa if she has a baby daughter who she is not bringing with her?

      Sadly, in my layman’s opinion, no, this makes no difference at all. The Philippines is burdened with many young children, left behind so their parents can earn a living in some other country. You’re looking at this from a US point of view and not a Filipino point of view. If you and yur child are hungry enough, you’ll do anything, even travel overseas to feed them.

      In the USA a major health problem is, we are mostly all too fat (Myself included). Even the poorest of people in the USA don’t go as hungry as millions of Filipino do every single day.

      * My name and information is on the DS-160 application; does that mean she already has a less likely chance of getting approved?

      It can’t possibly help, IMO, but the facts are out there, and she can’t lie … I always advic=se people to be as truthful as possible. Hope for the best.

      * Is it easier for us to get another type of visa/license in order for her to get into the US?

      Absolutely. A K-q1 (Fiancee’) visa should be easy enough, it’s the one that would suit your situation the best. It does not mean she is bound or “under contract” to marry you, but it allows her (and the infant daughter as well, an important consideration … Usea K-2 visa) to travel legally to the USA and tp take 90 days to evaluate the situation and the relationships (she would be marrying your family too).

      You two can then marry, and she can “Adjust Staus” and become a legal permanent resident, or if you don’t think marriage would work, she can return to the Philippines, no harm, no foul, no “black marks” on anyone’s record.

      The disadvantage? Takes time, and costs more. But her chances would be excellent. This article may help:

      Tourist or Fiancee’ or Spouse Visa — Which Is Better?

      Thank you so much for writing this article and taking the time to read my comment

      You are more than welcome, Will. Issues like this are why I still keep this blog alive … it’s sure not a way to make money, LoL. All the best to you both and do write back after her interview and let us know how it went. Godspeed.

  24. I am a male US citizen and have gotten engaged to a filipina woman. We are planning a marriage in the Philippines next year because I am unable to travel until next year. My Grandmother is sick and my mother will not be able to travel to the wedding in the Philippines next year. They want to meet my fiancee so we would like her to get a tourist visa to come visit for a week to spend time together and meet my family. We will have the whole week planned out with what activities we will be doing and where we will be staying and also will be able to show marriage plans for next year when I can go to her in the Philippines. She has 4 kids she needs to return to that live with her. She has a contracted rental home. She has a job which is also contracted. We just simply want her to meet my family before I go get married to her in the Philippines next year. She will pay for her plane tickets hear and back but I will be responsible for everything else when she is here. With her ties to her country showing she needs to return home and our documented plans for the week and showing we are going to be married in the Philippines next year, will this have a chance of approval? We are going to be totally honest and show and tell everything I have said here. Do we need proof we have met in person for this tourist visa or just the ties to her country and plans is enough? Any help appreciated. Thank you

    1. @ Tristan Nelson

      Thanks for sharing. You asked. so I am going to tell you my honest opinion. You will not like it, but all I can do is speak the truth as I know it. I am not a lawyer nor do I have any connection with the State Department, I’m just a guy on the internet who has been watching and doing whatever limited things he can do to help for people in your situation.

      So perhaps what I say will have no bearing on your case … but then again I have probably received hundreds of very similar messages over the years … all saying just about the same thing.

      It is almost as if you didn’t read the article, or else you read it and said, “That’s nice, but my case is different”. actually, in the view of the State Department, it is not different at all.

      To anyone on the outside, looking in, her proposed trip looks like nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the CR-1 Spousal Visa or K1 Fiancee’ visa process.

      Your word doesn’t even enter into the picture, you will not be interviewed and once a visitor is allowed entry to the USA, you or your parents have no control over her and her actions.

      Having a job in the Philippines is really not much of a tie, most Philippine jobs don’t even pay US minimum wage.

      Having dependent children in the Philippines is not much of a tie because the Philippines is full of children foisted off on relatives and friends while their mother works overseas.

      So it is her right to pay the non-refundable $160 US dollar application fee and file an application for a tourist visa. Personally I think her chances are slim to none but don’t take my word for it.

      Here’s a tool which might help with the decision process: https://rapidvisa.com/tourist-visa-odds/

      Godspeed.

  25. So i met a Filipino 4 months ago online who has been in Cyprus for 9 years on legal work visa… i flew to cyprus 2 months ago and spent 2 werks with her… We chat online everyday.. She just flew back to philipines… i want to do a k1 visa… but i would live more than 3 months with her… can i start the k1 visa process and have her apply for b2 so we can spend more time together … or do you think she has no shot at b2.. perhaps she should apply for b2 first?

    Any suggestions

    1. @ Bruce

      Thanks for contributing and helping keep this place alive.

      Regarding your friend’s B2 chances I know it sounds like I am just repeating myself, over and over, but it is all that really matters.

      The suspicion that she is going to apply for the visa with the intention of immigrating to the USA is going to be strong in the consular officer’s mind.

      You have done a great job in telling me why she wants the visa, (the Embassy really could not care less about this) but not a single word about her ties to the Philippines and what will drive her to return at the end of her Tourist visa time.

      Remember, I’m just a guy on the Internet who writes about this stuff, not an authority or anyone with “insider connections”, but personally I would think she was a bad risk to go TnT and not return to the Philippines. Just based on what you have told me I wouldn’t issue her a tourist visa on a bet.

      But there’s more to it than that. Is she still going to be working at her job in Cyprus? Are there other factors that would make her want to return to the Philippines (or to Cyprus)? Work on those factors first would be my advice.

      Also, did she try this useful little “Tourist Visa Odds Checker” tool?

      It’s her right to apply, and the embassy states that almost 80% of applicants are approved, so best of luck if you decide to go for it. Godspeed.

  26. Claiming that America right now has an “anti-immigration” culture or sentiment right now is utter bullshit. Stop believing the fake news lying media. Most Americans love proper, legal immigrants an tourists and do not care where they come from. Stop this nonsense and fix your article!!!! Fact is illegal aliens are ruining our country and breaking the law and it is a serious problem and you even admit it in this article. it has nothing to do with LEGAL immigrants that pretty much every American appreciates.

    1. Thanks for sharing. You are entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine. What you are NOT entitled to is to tell me what to think or what to publish. I’ll write what I wish. Might I suggest, since you feel so strongly, start your own site and express your own views … if you have the courage, that is, to even sign your name.

      Godspeed.

  27. My question is the same as most but with a twist. Suppose an American meets a Filipina woman online. Chitchat chitchat. They have a valid passport and say they can get a visa (B1/B2). They have no kids and do not own property. Have very little funds in the bank. They have their physical exam and all is good.
    1. You stated that 80% of visas were approved. Am I understanding that correctly? Or did you mean of everyone that has ties to the community 80% are approved?
    2. Assuming the visa is approved, the visa mailed to the residence of the applicant, are there additional requirements for the applicant? For example, Filipina immigration/regulations require verifiable money in the bank, ability to support ones self in the USA, etc. before one can leave the Philippines?
    3. If a person from the Philippines on a valid US visa arrives in the USA via air is there any other proof of supportablity required/can they be turned away, etc?
    4. Is it correct that the guidelines you have given would apply to any country?

    Thanks a lot and enjoy reading you. I appreciate your taking the time for this information.

    1. @ Mark Warren

      Thanks for contributing and helping keep this place alive. Since you did such a good job in organizing your multi-part question, I’ll try to keep my response organized as well:

      … They have a valid passport and say they can get a visa (B1/B2). They have no kids and do not own property. Have very little funds in the bank. They have their physical exam and all is good…

      If a Filipina has no strong ties to cause her to return to the Philippines, as the one you describe seems to be lacking, I have no idea how she would consider herself a good candidate for a visa. But, hey, I am just a guy who lives here in the Philippines and follows people’s lives … maybe she knows something I don’t know, so more power to her.

      I am confused by the reference to their physical exam, there is no physical exam involved in the US B1/B2 visa process so I’mwindering if she … or we … are talking about the same thing? It sounds more like someone talking about the K-1 Fiancee’ visa process, which does require a physical and does not require any evidence of strong times to cause her to return to the Philippines. You might want to clarify that.

      1. You stated that 80% of visas were approved. Am I understanding that correctly? Or did you mean of everyone that has ties to the community 80% are approved?

      That’s not really a statement from me, it’s a direct quote from many statements issued by the US Embassy, Manila, over a number of years. You can research this through US State Department sources, they publish this information for applicants from all countries in the world. Google is your friend.

      2. Assuming the visa is approved, the visa mailed to the residence of the applicant, are there additional requirements for the applicant? For example, Filipina immigration/regulations require verifiable money in the bank, ability to support one’s self in the USA, etc. before one can leave the Philippines?

      I am not an expert on this, but again I think someone here is confusing different types of visas. If a B1/B2 visa is granted, the experience of everyone I know who has been granted one is that the visa is put in their passport there at the Embassy and handed back to them. Other types of visas, like the K-1, are couriered to the successful applicant’s home after several weeks of processing time.

      So far as I know there is no processing or “hoops” to jump through with the Philippines government for those holding a valid B1/B2 visa. Again, there are many such “hoops” for other categories of visa holders.

      3. If a person from the Philippines on a valid US visa arrives in the USA via air is there any other proof of supportablity required/can they be turned away, etc?

      Yes. It is important to note that a visa is NOT a guarantee of admission to the USA at the Port of entry. Granting of admission is entirely at the discretion of the Homeland Security officer at the port. If the officer believes that any immigration fraud is involved, or that the applicant is trying to enter the USA to attempt to stay permanently in violation of the tourist status, he or she may deny entry to anyone … and this decision is not appealable in the USA … the visa holder will be held for the next available flight back to the Philippines and placed on it, at the visa-holders expense.

      Recently a family relation of mine (young woman, very “marriable” was held by immigr=taion in Los Angles for more than 12 hours while Homeland Security officers searched every message in her cell phone, spent hours in her Facebook and Instagram account, etc. before they finally allowed her to enter the USA.

      4. Is it correct that the guidelines you have given would apply to any country?

      I have no idea of visa requirements from any other country, sorry. Godspeed.

  28. Hi Dave. Many thanks for your quick response. Me thinks there may be some shenanigans going on. I will update you as the story unwinds. My strategy is changing as I reread your replies. A trip to the Philippines is in order. Being in my mid sixties, would you consider me “safe” in Manila? Not to stroll around solo but in the general vicinity of the major hotels? I am starting to believe your advice is spot on–one should travel to the Philippines before anything else happens.
    May I ask what part of the Philippines you live in? I may be visiting in January and would like to meet you if you are there at that time. Many many thanks for your site here and your frank responses to all questions.

    1. @ Mark Warren

      No need for thanks, I’m just glad to find someone commenting here who actually returns after I advise them in ways they maybe did not want to hear. It’s very surprising these days how many people only want to hear “yes man” type answers. Let me clarify something regarding my last answers to you. I don’t want them to sound totally negative.

      This woman may, in fact, be totally on the “up and up”. Not knowing all the procedures and types of US visas is not really a “black mark” against her, after all, most native-born Americans don’t really know the various types of US visas and the morass of rules surrounding them either.

      But that being said, the fourth sentence or so in your latest message says it all…

      A trip to the Philippines is in order.

      I say, emphatically, yes indeed. I’ve been living in the Philippines full-time for 17 years now and advising people on the move for several additional years and the number of excuses guys come up with to avoid making a trip here never ceases to amaze me. If you never come here you’ll never know, and if you are romantically involved with a Filipina you had BETTER know, because, as the old saying goes, “You can take the girl out of the Philippines, but you can’t take the Philippines out of the girl.”

      Besides, the average American man just sits in front of the TV for hours on end and watches news shows and travelogues and “thinks” he knows something about overseas places. Trust me, Fox News, CNN, and the History Channel are entertainment, not sources of knowledge. Get a passport, get a ticket and come over here and see for yourself.

      If you love what you find, well the trip will be well worth it. If you hate what you find, well the trip will be worth even more because you will know, rather than worrying and wondering the rest of your life.

      Being in my mid sixties, would you consider me “safe” in Manila?

      Being 74 myself, I’m not quite sure what being a “mere boy” of 60 or so would have to do with your personal safety *smile* I ay have done many dumb things in my own life but I sure don’t consider myself stupid or a daredevil, and I can guarantee you I feel a lot safer here in the Philippines than I do in the USA. What most people refer to a “Manila” is actually “Metro Manila” or the “National Capital Region” (NCR). It is made up of 16 separate cities (one of which is actually the city of Manila). Hotels are everywhere, so how “safe” you may feel depends a lot on what part of Manila you are planning on. When you figure out more specifically where you’ll be staying, let me know and I’ll give you more localized advice.

      I live in the town of Marilao, Bulacan, which is a few miles north of the NCR … it’s kind of a bedroom suburb of the big city, most of my neighbors work in different parts of Manila. I have no plans to be anywhere else in January, so we could certainly plan to meet up somewhere when you know more about your trip.

      I don’t want this to get too long, I do tend to go on and on, so I’ll close for now. Best regards

  29. I have read a couple of your articles. My situation is very much similar so we have discarded the idea of me going to the US, but we both agreed that he should just come here to visit. We have also considered the idea of doing the “Guam 7 day divorce” thing since I am still married even though we have separated for 9 yrs now. And I would like to ask a couple of questions. He would want to visit here but he is having second thoughts because of my status and this it will have an impact on him getting approved. Does that matter with the visa that he will be getting? What would you recommend that he do with regard to getting a visa to come here?
    Another is with the Guam 7 day divorce, we have considered doing this as well, so if we get this done, would be able to get the K1 visa and go from there? We really don’t plan on settling here in the Philippines and we do have plans on living in the US instead with my 3 kids. What would you recommend that we do so I can bring my kids too since this is what he wanted as well.
    I would really appreciate your reply on this. Thank you in advance!

    1. OK, Aileen, thanks for getting back to me.  I understand everything you are asking now.  Here’s your original comment and my answers to the best of my ability  See my answers marked this way ==>>
      I have read a couple of your articles. My situation is very much similar so we have discarded the idea of me going to the US, but we both agreed that he should just come here to visit. 
      ==>> OK, normally this would be no problem.  In fact, in normal times he would not even need a visa.  Ji=ust show up at the airport and get a 30-day”visa waiver” stamped in his passport, for free, and that 30 days can be extended all the way out to 36 months, usually a month or two at a time.
      But as we know, things now are NOT normal and they will not go back to the free visa on arrival any time soon.  My guess will be when sufficient people in a visitor’s home country have been vaccinated and the COVID 19 virus is also under control in the Philippines.  My guess?  Around the end of this year, 2021.  That is IF the USA and the Philippines can both get their act together on vaccinating people … and things are starting now but going very slowly.
      Youf BF can contact the:Consulate General of the Philippines, New York. This is the consulte which serves people located in VermontAddress: 556 5th Ave, New York, NY 10036Phone: +1 212-764-1330
      They should be able to advise him if they are currently processing tourist visas and what he needs to do to get one.  Just calling them on the phone is his best bet.We have also considered the idea of doing the “Guam 7 day divorce” thing since I am still married even though we have separated for 9 yrs now. And I would like to ask a couple of questions. He would want to visit here but he is having second thoughts because of my status and this it will have an impact on him getting approved. Does that matter with the visa that he will be getting? What would you recommend that he do with regard to getting a visa to come here?

      ==>> I don’t think your status has anything to do with him getting a Tourist Visa.  In fact, much better that you not e mentioned, I would think.  He just wants to visit the Philppines for tourism purposes would be my recomendation.
      Another is with the Guam 7 day divorce, we have considered doing this as well, so if we get this done, would be able to get the K1 visa and go from there? We really don’t plan on settling here in the Philippines and we do have plans on living in the US instead with my 3 kids. What would you recommend that we do so I can bring my kids too since this is what he wanted as well. 
      ==>> OK. now we are in a completely different area.  The number one requirement for a K1 (Fiancee’ Visa) is that BOTH parties be free to marry on the day the visa application is subitted.
      You haven’t mentioned his martial status so I’ll assume he is free to marry.  
      But you have the all to common problem f being married in a country which has no divorce.  The Philippines is the most discriminatory country in the world regarding married women whodesparetly want to be free.  Essentiallyyou have no rights, and I see no end in sight.
      You can file for annulment from your current husband. (the years of separation mean nothing, you are still married and will remain married for life under Philippine law), unless you can meet the stringet requirements for an annulemnt.
      The quick and easy divorces in Guam really only serve forignerers, unless you as a Filipino can get a visa to visit Guam (which is basically as hard as a visa to visit to the USA,, because Guam IS the USA.).  If you were able to visit Guam ou could get a divorce there, and while it would not be recognized by the Philippines, from what I understand it would be recognized by the US government and thus you would be free to apply for the Fiancee’ visa and then travel to the USA.
      You and your fiancee’ would apply for a K2  visa which would cover you and all your natural children under 18 years of age
      That should cover most of the questions you asked.  Hope this helps.

      Dave

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