How To Visit the USA From the Philippines

How To Visit the USA From the Philippines.

(Updated 30 October 2020)

Recently I published several articles about the difficulty of Filipinos getting approval for a US Visitors (Tourist) Visa, also known as a B1/B2 Visa.

Here are just a few:

I’m A US Citizen — Why Can’t My Filipina Wife Get a Tourist Visa To The USA?
Can My Philippine Friend Visit Me in the USA?
How Hard Is It To Get a Tourist Visa to the USA From the Philippines?

These will give you the idea of the problem, in case you weren’t already familiar.

What’s the common thread that runs through all tourist visa discussions?

The Assumption of Immigrant Intention

Translated into English, this means that every applicant is considered (by State Department and Immigration authorities) of being “guilty” of the intention to stay in the USA, once admitted on a tourist visa.

As Americans, we are quite familiar with the concept of “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”.

And US law, as well as most other Western countries follows this precept.

Even if you are arrested by police and charged with a crime, the prosecution MUST prove you are guilty … or you get released.

But Under Current Immigration Law the Precept Is Reversed

How To Visit the USA From the Philippines

Every applicant for a B1/B2 visa is assumed, automatically, to be using the visa as a “one-way ticket” into the USA.  In other words, the applicant is assumed to have Immigrant Intent … either by legal or illegal means.


A visitor can marry a US citizen or a US LPR (Legal Permanent Resident … Green Card holder).

We see this happen all the time in movies and TV shows.  It isn’t always as easy as Hollywood makes it seem, but if the visitor can marry a US citizen or LPR, s/he has an excellent chance of being able to “Adjust Their Status” and become an LPR.themselves.

This bypasses the other legal means of attaining immigrant status and frankly pisses off the USCIS, so they guard against it diligently.


The visitor can just “disappear” into the vast pool of “undocumented aliens” in the USA and hide out for years … maybe forever.  Filipinos know this concept so well they have a slang name for it … TnT .. Tago ng Tago … loosely translated to “Hiding and Hiding”.

Since there are several million undocumented aliens in the USA and probably 400,000 or so of them are Filipinos, one can hardly blame the USCIS and the State Department for making the assumption of Immigrant Intention when they review visa applications.

Given the current direction of US leadership at the highest level and the furor one often sees in demonstrations against illegals, one would not expect this policy to ease off any time soon.

The Key To Overcoming The Presumption Of Immigrant Intent

As stated many times by the US Embassy and the USCIS themselves, the “Holy Grail” used by Consular Officers when approving or disapproving applicants are “strong ties to the Philippines which will influence the applicant to return“.

Well I, myself, am not a lawyer and I am not any sort of recognized expert on the visa process.  What follows here is my personal opinion only and must not be taken as legal advice.

But I have been watching and living this process for more than 15 years now, and I have searched for more complete guidance that simpy the statement of “strong intentions to return”.

This video has some good info as well:

One Place I Found Some Help Was In Several CBP and USCIS Operations Manuals for Officers

These pieces of rare information are to be used by officers who are deciding whether or not to admit a LPR (Green Card holder) to the USA after long or frequent trips abroad.

They are guidelines (not specific requirements) for the officer to use in deciding if the LPR still has a legal residence in the USA or if s/he may be assumed to have abandoned their LPR status.

Obviously, this situation is NOT the same as a Consular Officer deciding to grant or refuse a Tourist visa applicant a US visa, but if you revise them to apply to a Filipino returning to the Philippines, they may help.

The situation for the officer involved is very much the same, even though the countries involved are reversed.

Ways That May Help An Applicant Show Strong Intenet To Return To The Philippines

Again, these are my personal suggestions NOT required in writing by any jurisdiction.

  • Philippine BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) tax returns,
  • Evidence of ownership of a Philippine vehicle
  • Ownership of a house or condo in the Philippines
  • A letter from a Philippine real estate agency establishing a client relationship with the applicant
  • Ownership interest in other major Philippine assets
  • Proof of family members residing in the Philippines
  • Proof of dependent children attending school in the Philippines
  • A residential lease agreement in the applicant’s name
  • Proof of formal Philippine employment. (Work contract or letter of proof of employment from employer)
  • Proof of Admission to a Philippine School on a date later than the applicant’s projected return to the Philippines.

Perhaps These Ideas May Help

Certainly, holding evidence of one or more of these factors certainly might help in the visa issuance decision process.  One point I’d like to mention in closing.

I often hear from unsuccessful applicants that they “intended” to go to college, or”planned” to accept employment somewhere after their US visit.

Thoughts along these lines are essentially worthless in establishing strong internet to return to the Philippines.

Factors that are accomplished and actually exist are what counts.

I hope this sheds a little light on How To Visit the USA From the Philippines.

2 thoughts on “How To Visit the USA From the Philippines”

  1. That is what is called as disputable presumption. One who applies for a nonimmigrant visa is presumably intending to “stay in the US.” Since the presumption is provided by law, the burden of proof is now with one who alleges (the applicant of the US Visa) that he intends to return to the Philippines. Usually the law or regulation also provides the evidences necessary to rebut that presumption. In the absence of those evidences, the presumption remains and the consular official can deny the tourist visa application.

    It may interest your readers to know that although those on a tourist visa who are married to US citizens may adjust their status, certain regulations provide that marriage and adjustment of status within a certain period (90 days now I think from entry on a tourist visa), raises a presumption of fraud.

    1. @ Claudette

      Thanks as always for contributing. Yes indeed, the “suddenly we fell in love and got married” crowd now often fall into the area of fraud findings. I could have gone into that more, thanks for bringing it up. Godspeed.

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