Most visitors or tourists need a non-immigrant visa or a B1/B2 to enter/visit the United States if your country doesn't have a reciprocal agreement with the US. Applying for a US visa is not that easy but if your intention is legit, there is no reason why you cannot be approved. The US Embassy tends to be paranoid about approvals with good reason - millions of people overstay their visas every year.
Even if you get denied, don't despair (The US$160 application fee though is not cheap and is not refundable). If you are honest, you will eventually get it. It's also a good idea to appeal or have your relative that you are visiting in the US appeal to their legislators.
In my case, I was denied a visa many times but eventually was granted one entry for a month so I have to leave after 28 days. Then denied again, then granted again ... It's ironic that I was able to be granted a Chinese, Schengen, and Australian visa before I eventually got my visitors visa from the Land of the Free. Then, even with my visa, I nearly got return to the plane. Remember, your US visa is not a guarantee that you'll get into the US, it's up to the USCIS if you can be admitted.
The good news is, it's all automated now so you should have an easier time. The robots are more humane and don't discriminate against monkeys from developing countries, as long as you have everything in order.
The process of applying for a US Non-immigrant visa is similar to all countries. I did my last one in Manila.
Here's your guide on how to apply for a visitors visa if you are a Filipino:
The B-1/B-2 visitors visa is for people traveling to the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2)
• B-1 visa is for attending business conventions and educational conferences
• B-2 visa is for tourism, visiting friends or relatives, medical treatment
To be granted a US tourist visa, you must be able to prove that
• your visit is only temporary
• you have enough money to cover all your expenses during your stay
• you have binding ties that ensure your return to your country
TwoMonkeymes' great grandparents passed here
All application for US Visa are now done online. Here's 4 steps in applying your US Visa Online.
Step 1: Fill up DS-160 Form
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form. It’s an easy form you can finish in 45 minutes or less. You’ll be asked to enter personal information, address and telephone, passport details, US travel plans, travel companions, previous US travel, US contact, immediate family, work and education, and last but not the least, 5 pages of Security questions, which hopefully you can honestly answer NO to all of them.
The confirmation number generated after filling up the form is needed to set up an appointment. To start filling up your own form, click here –> DS-160 Form
Step 2: Pay Visa Application Fee $160
Visa Fee is the Philippine peso equivalent of US$160. It is non-refundable & non-transferable. US Visa Fee can be paid thru BPI online for BPI customers, Bancnet online for Bancnet customers, or Cash at BPI branches in the Philippines.
How to Pay US Visa Application Fee?
There are 2 ways to pay US Visa Application Fee: (1) Online via BPI website or Bancnet website (2) Directly at the BPI Bank Branches.
Online Payment via BPI or Bancnet
For online payment, generate a unique receipt number and follow instruction on how to go about setting up online payment here . You must enter this reference number when making the online payment. This number will also be serve as your receipt number in booking the appointment.
I went to BPI and paid the visa fee and waited for my interview. It's easier to pay online but I don't have a credit card at that time.
Key points to remember:
Unique Receipt Number – every time you click on that link, it generates a unique receipt number (see photo below). It means that if 2 or more people are applying visas together, you need to generate 2; one for each applicant. You cannot just print one and photocopy.
This number is important throughout your application.
This paper has expiration date (5 days) as to when you should make the payment using this deposit slip. If it expires, just generate a new one. You just don’t want to go to the bank and found your p
After making the payment, keep it in a safe place. If you lose the payment receipt, you may have to pay again.
Step 3: Book an Appointment Online
First you must create a profile on this Apply US Visa site. After filling up the DS-160 Form (step1) and making payment (step2), you can schedule your appointment on that site. The following info is needed to schedule your appointment:
Your passport number
Your MRV (Machines Readable Visa) fee payment receipt number (see photo above, highlighted in neon green is the number you needed.
The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
Step 4: Go to US Embassy
Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview. In the Philippines, there is no exception for children or senior over 80 like other countries (Japan, India). Every applicant needs to show up for the US Visa interview.
VERY IMPORTANT!!! You will need to bring the following with you
Printed copy of your appointment letter
Printed copy of DS-160 confirmation page (photo)
one recent photograph 2″x 2″ (white background, facing front)
your current passport and all available old passports
your supporting documents*
US$160 visa application fee receipt – just bring it
YOU DO NOT need to submit the application form at the time of the interview. They are so serious about this instruction so don’t even try.
DO NOT BRING – NOT ALLOWED inside the U.S. Embassy:
battery-operated or electronic devices such as mobile phones, digital diaries, digital watches (APPLE WATCH NO!), pagers, cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, floppy disks, laptops, or portable music players
large shoulder bags/purses – only bags that can be carried by hand will be permitted
bags such as travel bags, backpacks, briefcases, suitcases, leather, cloth bags, and zip folders – you can only carry plastic bags containing application related papers
food items (refreshments are available for purchase in the waiting area)
sealed envelopes or packages
cigarettes, cigars, match boxes, lighters
sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail files
weapons or explosive materials of any kind
Other items may be prohibited at the discretion of security staff.
Once you enter the embassy, you will find that there are many many staff to guide you every step of the way.
What do they ask during the interview at the U.S. Embassy?
The officer ask me what is my purpose of going to United States? Then he asked if he could borrow my passport. I opted to collect my passport back at the Embassy after 3 days as I was staying at a guesthouse in Manila at the time. I bought a return ticket via Tokyo then flew all the way to Minneapolis. At the airport, I was whisked into a room, asked the same questions, and got shouted whenever I answered thoughtfully and honestly. I was even threatened to be barred from entering the US for 10 years if I lie to him, and yet it's only one click on his computer and he'll know whether I'm telling the truth or not.
This is my fourth time visiting the United States and the worst reception I got. Therefore, I decided to apply for citizenship and after hundred of forms and interviews, I was granted citizenship and become an American citizen after only five years and my visa is valid for ten years. I'm not sure if I'm thankful of that officer at the airport.
If you do not have a criminal record, did not overstay, have family ties in the US, have enough financial resources, did not work illegally, and answered honestly and politely all the questions, there is no reason why you cannot visit the United States of America, the land of the free and the greatest democracy in the world (presumably).
Once a symbol of the American Dream is now a mere tourist attraction